The Near Futurist

5 Surefire Ways to Turn Off Candidates Applying For a Job

I spent 7 years at Google during a massive hiring boom where I did close to 400 interviews (phone and in-person), and I'm not even a recruiter! Along the way, I picked up a few tips here and there that I try and apply when interviewing candidates for StumbleUpon. So for those of you who are trying to interview, or for those who want to commiserate with bad experiences of your own, I present the five surefire ways to turn off candidates applying for a job:

1. Make sure your job listing including roman numerals and job ID #'s to show just how much of a cog the person will be.

Nothing turns off an enthusiastic and enterprising candidate than seeing their position boiled down to something that fit neatly into a bureaucrat's forms. For example: Senior Web Developer IV Job #322032-B(2)

2. List one job, but interview the person for a completely different job.

Nothing is more disheartening to an excited candidate who comes in to apply for a position, and have the interviewer go through their questions about a different role entirely. To a candidate applying for a Product Manager position, for example, nothing will kill their enthusiasm more than asking them why they are interested in being a project manager, how long they've wanted to be a project manager, etc.

3. Regardless of whether the person is a fit or not, wait weeks to respond, or worse yet, never respond.

Every day you wait in giving back a response to a candidate is a day that they stew and wonder and start to have negative thoughts about the company, which inevitably they share to their friends and colleagues. And what company trying hard to recruit the best and brightest wants that?

4. Act like you are doing them a favor by interviewing them.

A job application is about finding a mutual fit between person and company, not just about the company finding the right person to fill the role. Falling into this trap can cause the interviewer to start to take a superior role in the interaction, leading to a poorer experience for the applicant, but also for the interviewer who won't get honest and frank answers from the applicant.

5. Low-balling offers or trying to squeeze everything out of a salary or package negotiation.

For the company, the last few dollars left on the table will mean very little. To the candidate, relatively speaking, they mean a great deal. Don't try to squeeze every last dime out of a salary or package negotiation. It turns the candidate off, and leaves them wondering what else they will have to fight tooth and nail for.

Interviewing candidates can be a tricky affair, but lots of obvious pitfalls can be avoided simply by applying some common sense and long-term thinking to your interview process!


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