Interviewing job candidates can be detailed, time-consuming, and tedious work. Taking the process seriously and preparing adequately, however, is essential for reasons beyond the individuals currently under consideration for a role. How you approach interviews of today’s candidates can have a lasting impact on your brand in a way that affects future hiring initiatives.

A company’s reputation is on the line every time its hiring managers interact with job candidates. A recent LinkedIn survey revealed that 83% of job candidates would change their perception of a company from positive to negative based on an interview experience, and 87% would swing their opinion from negative to positive based on the experience.

Between social media and employee experience websites such as Indeed and Glassdoor, opinions about employers spread fast and can have tangible, lasting effects. So what can employers do to create a positive interview experience?

Preparation Is Key

Reading a candidate’s materials—including online profiles and cover letters—shows candidates that the interview is being taken seriously and not just a formality accompanying a resume and work history. It also shows that a prospective employer has put more thought into the hiring process than simply asking a series of scripted questions.

Just as companies would prefer to spend time interviewing candidates who are serious about the position, candidates don’t want to waste time with interviewers who aren’t serious about the interview.

If a candidate believes their time and energy were wasted on a bad interview, they may feel compelled to draft a social post warning others about their experience. This, in turn, can be found by prospects researching the company, and can deter future job applications.

Allow Candidates to Prepare, Too

Giving candidates advance notice of the names and titles of those who will conduct the interview, which technical skills they will be asked about, and notifying them if any additional screening measures will be performed – such as an onsite pre-employment test – impart a sense of fairness and help create a productive interview process and a positive experience for candidates.

Consider relaying this information either during the phone pre-screening or via email prior to the interview.

Set Expectations & Give Closure

Clear expectations (like what?) will create a sense of comfort for both parties involved in an interview, allowing the focus to remain on determining whether there is a job fit between candidate and company.

Providing closure, whether in the form of a job offer or a rejection letter, also gives candidates a positive impression of their hiring experience. They will feel respected, and they will appreciate being given a decision one way or the other.

We recommend evaluating your hiring process to ensure the following measures are taken with each candidate:

  • Send both offer and rejection emails promptly. Candidates like knowing where they stand, and companies build goodwill among candidate pools by being forthright and timely in their communications. A good rule of thumb is within 7-10 business days. State up-front to your candidate prior to the interview that they can expect a decision within that timeframe.
  • Send a survey 15-30 days after the interview to rejected candidates to gather feedback on the interview process. The response rate might be low, but the feedback received can be valuable to improving your interview protocols.

Modernize Your Interview Process

Modernization for its own sake could be an unwise investment, but when it comes to the interview process, it can offer benefits to both employer and prospect while creating a positive impact on your brand perception. We recommend employers:

  • Rework job listings/advertisements to include items that speak to the priorities of job prospects, such as rewards and benefits offered, the character of the organization, and opportunities for growth.
  • Be active on social media. Build a strong perception of the company from the angle of its employees by highlighting developmental opportunities, outings, awards/rewards, and group project successes.
  • Use video. Job postings with a video clip that shows employees in action in the company’s work setting or other engaging material result in a 34 percent increase in applicants.
  • Make the application process mobile-friendly, as 94 percent of jobseekers prefer to use their phone as part of their employment search.

Preparation, Candidate Courtesy & Modern Tools Matter

Some important elements of a company’s search for quality employees, such as preparation, are simply common sense and hard work. The time and effort they take on the front end will pay off in delivering in-depth and relevant information, while providing a reputation boost for the company.

Other elements blend a sensitivity for contemporary candidates’ values and expectations with the use of up-to-date communications tools and practices.

All of these elements can impact a company’s reputation and ability to attract top talent.