On the face of it, conducting interviews is relatively straightforward, yet there are so many different approaches. In our experience, one aspect of the recruitment process that is often overlooked is the opportunity it provides to demonstrate to candidates that your business is a fantastic place to work. Positively conveying this is a brilliant way of building brand awareness and of enabling you to secure the best people for your organisation.

When you’re preparing for a round of interviews, make sure that the recruitment process from start to finish showcases your business as a great place to work. These days, candidates are likely to be well prepared, so it’s going to take more than a fruit bowl, a cold drink and/or a skinny latte to persuade them that your team is the one they simply have to join. Focus on conveying professionalism, organisation, empathy, curiosity, genuine interest and a degree of humour, and the candidate is likely to feel at home and to take a way a positive impression of your brand.

After all, if Covid-19 has highlighted anything, it’s definitely that people are now reflecting on what’s really important to them – not just right now in their day-to-day job, but also how that fits around their lifestyle and how they want their future to look. And they want to work with people they can get to know, like and trust.

We speak to candidates all the time, and what we’re hearing is that their decision-making is based on a short list of key criteria. If your business doesn’t tick most of those, then it doesn’t matter what you say as they are unlikely to accept the role. Top of the list are job satisfaction, worklife balance and how considerate the potential employers appear to be.

When it comes to recruitment, the impression your brand conveys starts right from the beginning with the efficiency with which the interview is arranged. Other significant factors include the questions the candidate is being asked, whether they think they are being listened to and whether they feel that a level of trust and rapport is being built within a short space of time. At first it may not appear obvious, but the more professional and considerate you appear as an employer, the better the perception of your branding and the higher the chances of the candidate choosing to take the position.

The idea of a ‘build rapport interview’ can divide opinion, but the feedback we receive from career seekers is that many of them rate their experience at interview stage and the ‘feeling’ they get at interview as two of the most important factors on which they base their decision. It’s really important to ask good open questions to ascertain whether someone is right for you, but it’s equally important not to leave the candidate feeling so disconnected that they have feelings of doubt in their mind about you and your business.

As Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, confirms, recruitment is now more of a two-way street than it has ever been. ‘In our experience, gone are the days when it was only the candidate who needed to sell themselves during an interview,’ says Rosa. ‘Increasingly, businesses are under pressure to stand out from the crowd and accentuate the positives. Ultimately, if the candidate is right for you then you want them to accept your offer, but if they aren’t quite right you still want them to be talking about your organisation in a positive way. With background information at their fingertips 24/7, candidates are able to research the opportunity and their potential employer, so they’re coming in to the process armed with more knowledge than in the past. It’s therefore up to the recruiter to live up to the hype and sell themselves to the candidate.

‘If you’re engaging a recruitment agency, make sure that they know your business – the best aspects of your organisation, the benefits of working with you and why people stay. Recruitment agencies give you the opportunity to develop external partners who are speaking to professionals who are looking to change their role each and every day, so they can really be a valuable source of great talent for your business. They can also act as excellent brand ambassadors to widen your reach in the business community.’

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking to attract the best candidate for your new vacancy or to engage an experienced recruiter team, please contact us for an initial conversation.