Q

Elaine, the owner of a well-known dining establishment, received an email that her restaurant was being portrayed in a negative light on social media. A woman who had applied for work as a manager posted a complaint about how she was treated when she went in for an interview. “I was treated poorly from the time I arrived,” she wrote. “No one greeted me. I was shown to a back office and kept waiting with no explanation. I then went through interviews with four staffers who asked me very few questions about myself. I was there almost four hours while they talked to me about the job. No one gave me an opportunity to ask questions. And then the restaurant never contacted me after the interview to thank me for my time or let me know I was not hired.” Elaine was shocked. She had no idea that her management team lacked hiring etiquette. She’d like to learn best practices and train her staff as well. What are the basics to conducting a good job interview?

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PAT MATHEWS, PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT, WORKPLACE EXPERTS, REPLIES.

A

EMPLOYERS NEED TO understand that job seekers today will turn to social media if they receive poor treatment. It’s important for everyone involved in the hiring process, from the receptionist to staff members to the person conducting the interview, to be friendly and professional and to paint the company in a positive light.

The first step occurs before the applicant arrives for the interview. Evaluate how well you present the job opening, and if you advertise the position on your company website make sure it’s easy to find. If you do post [the opening] on your site, ask a staff member not involved with human resources or web to ‘apply’ for the position online and make changes to its accessibility or format from there. Don’t just rehash the job description; make the posting fun. Make it sound like this is a company people want to work for.

Be clear about how the process will go: Provide an outline so the applicant knows what to expect and how much time he or she should budget. Prepare for the interview by reviewing the job posting and the applicant’s resume before their arrival.

Ensure that anyone who conducts interviews for your company has had interview training; otherwise the interviewer will just talk at the candidate. Have open-ended, case sample type questions prepared. For example, if you were hiring someone to work in a restaurant you could ask questions like ‘What would you do if a customer wasn’t happy with the food they received?’ or a more general question such as ‘What  are good reasons for being absent from work?’ Also leave space for the interviewee to ask questions.

At the close of the interview explain what will happen next, whether it’s a second or third interview, follow-up testing, or the need to interview more applicants, and let them know when and how they can expect an answer regarding the position. Once you’ve made a final hiring decision, notify everyone who interviewed. It sounds like a lot of work, but that’s what attracts quality applicants: People talk about how they were treated during the hiring process.

These days you’ll probably have two job openings for every candidate, [making it] hard to attract quality applicants. Still, the ‘do not’s’ of the hiring process include ‘don’t hire out of desperation,’ ‘don’t always trust your gut’ and ‘don’t get stuck running old-fashioned ads.’

If you only look to fill a position without taking the time to find a quality, well-suited candidate, it’s probable that you won’t pick the best fit. Many employers may not ask interviewees to complete an application and they should, since it’s the first step in learning whether the person might fit with your business. It’s not advisable to hire someone solely because you liked them.

As for advertising, social media outlets like LinkedIn and Facebook are resources for locating job applicants. Make an appealing ad. The hiring process is [essentially] a practice in sales or marketing, so sell the candidate on the organization. The ‘Now Hiring’ sign in the window is outdated and won’t attract the quality people you want working for your company.

If you think you need more guidance, try online resources like BizLibrary and HireVue, or local resources such as CareerSource Suncoast and the Sarasota Manatee Human Resource Association that can help train employees on hiring etiquette skills. I can also provide a checklist for conducting successful interviews. ■ Interview by Chelsey Lucas

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