[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” content_placement=”top” v_position=”top” css=”.vc_custom_1482444708270{background-color: #ffffff !important;background-position: 0 0 !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;}” font_color=”#163c4a”][vc_column animation=”none” bg_color=”” bg_image=”” column_padding=”no-padding” column_custompadding=”0px 0px 0px 0px” column_center=”” text_color=”dark” custom_text_color=”” text_align=”left” delay=””]While every part of the candidate experience is important–from the initial hello to the final offer–the most sensitive component of the entire process is the interview. Whether you’re connecting with job seekers for an informational interview on the phone, or candidates are visiting your office space to meet your hiring team for an in-person interview, you need to get everything right.

Candidates invest time and effort into interview preparation, and when they arrive to discuss why they’re the best person for a job opportunity, the stakes are high. If your interview process is broken, you not only risk losing talented candidates–you risk diminishing the quality of your recruitment brand. Here’s a list of what could be going wrong with your interviews and the fixes you need to get back on course.

1. Your interview process needs evaluation criteria

Make sure everyone on the hiring team agrees about the requirements for the role and how the candidate will be evaluated. Make sure the hiring manager and other interviewers have access to the job description, each candidate’s resume, and an interview scorecard to ensure candidates are assessed using standard benchmarks.

With pre-set evaluation criteria, it’s as easy as saying, “To make it to the interview stage, a candidate must have 2 years of experience, a demonstrated track record of work examples, and have the ability to travel. Once we meet them face to face, we need to assess their decision-making skills, mathematical ability and leadership skills.”

2. Your interviewers need more training

Nothing will squander a candidate’s enthusiasm for your company like a bad interview experience , so put as much effort into preparing your interview team as you do your candidates. Make sure each interviewer is armed with a set of common interview questions, and (perhaps more importantly) know what not to ask.

Don’t let a careless comment, question or gesture sour a candidate’s perception of your organization. Train your interviewers to be sensitive to the candidate’s position and teach them how to ask interview questions focused on your evaluation criteria.

3. Your candidates need more information

Before you welcome job candidates to your office for in-person interviews, make sure they have all of the information they need to succeed. Don’t just send the day and time of the event—provide directions on how to find your location and give guidance on the appropriate attire for the occasion. (For example, “We have a casual dress code, and most team members wear jeans. Please don’t feel like you have to dress up on our account — we want to know more about you, not your wardrobe.”)

Make sure candidates know the name and contact information of their hiring manager as well. A list of names, job titles and LinkedIn profiles can go a long way.

4. You forgot to follow up

At the end of the interview, provide job seekers with information about the next steps in the process and the anticipated timeline. Whenever possible, give feedback to the candidate at each stage so they know how to improve before the next step.

Make yourself available for follow-up questions after the interview, and stay in touch to let job seekers know where in the decision-making process you are.

Lastly, while every candidate knows there’s a chance they won’t be a good fit for a given position, you should never ghost a candidate after the interview. Although you’re trying to source top talent for your role, you should also strive to treat every candidate with the respect they deserve. Besides, the candidate who isn’t right for the role you’re looking for now might be a perfect fit for a position that opens down the road.

You owe candidates a phone call if you’ve decided they’re not the right fit after interviewing them. You should also follow-up with a compassionate let-down letter thanking them for their effort and encouraging them to keep in touch. Post-interview engagement enables you to keep potentially great candidates in your talent pipeline to tap for a future role.