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Oftentimes, a prospective employer looks at an interview as an opportunity to screen applicants, assess their skill sets, determine how they could benefit the company and decide whether or not a cultural fit exists. While all these are important outcomes of an interview, it is often overlooked that interviews provide the opportunity for prospective employees to interview employers, too.In a job climate where, despite high unemployment rates, voluntary turnover rates in Canada are on the rise at 7.3 percent. It makes sense why companies would want to use the interview as a valuable screening tool for both employer and employee to keep job satisfaction high and turnover low. Keep reading to find out more.Conducting the two-way interview
We all know that the average worker spends more time at work than they do with their family. Although we can’t interview our family members, we can certainly provide job candidates with a forum that’s open, honest and helpful in determining a fit for both parties. And we can do it in a way that will wow potential employees. Here’s how:

  • Roll out the red carpet: You wouldn’t show up late, unprepared and inattentive to pitch a potential client. You’d likely roll out the red carpet in an effort to provide a warm welcome. You should treat your interviewees just as you would sought-after clients. Be on time, make sure your office is tidy and be hospitable. Provide an office tour and offer refreshments, and even a light meal or snack, depending on the length of the interview. A welcome kit adds a nice touch as well. A logo’d messenger bag containing a travel mug, scratch pad and pen, to lends a great first impression.
  • Conduct team interviews: Team interviews are a great way for prospective employees to assess an organization’s culture, determine a fit and even ease some of the interview jitters. This format of interview is best conducted less formally and with the actual team the interviewee will be working with—not a panel of head honchos creating the illusion of a shark tank. Let your candidate know the format ahead of time so there are no surprises, and encourage him or her to come prepared with questions for the team. You may find this practice not only garners some great discussion, but it can also help to build relationships right off the bat.
  • Encourage open Q&A: Candidates should be encouraged and even required, to ask questions—and not just your standard what’s a “day in the life” type questions. Urge interviewees to get down to the nitty-gritty and be sure your staff knows it’s okay to provide open and honest answers. You never want to misrepresent the job or the responsibilities that come with it. Team Q&A can create unparalleled dialogue that both potential employee and employer can use to determine an authentic fit. It also generates more feedback and provides clearer expectations on what’s really required.
  • Provide timely follow-up: When the interview is said and done, it is important to provide timely feedback and follow-up. If a second interview is the next step, get it in the books as soon as you can. After all, your prospect may be interviewing with other companies as well, and a lagging response puts you at risk for losing a coveted candidate. If you are still conducting more interviews, it is important to communicate that as well. And if the candidate is no longer under consideration, a prompt response alerting him or her of the outcome is a best practice. In other words, don’t keep your candidate hanging. Regardless of the outcome, a personalized notecard thanking the interviewee goes a long way. You may also consider sending a small token of thanks, such as a gourmet cookie assortment or box of chocolate covered almonds for those prospects you want to dazzle and wow.

Remember, the interview isn’t just for the employer—it’s a valuable screening tool for both organizations and prospective employees alike. Try any of these simple tips before conducting your next interview to find the perfect fit.

Q&A: HR and Compensation.The Conference Board of Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 24 May 2014.

Hall, Alan. “‘I’m Outta Here!’ Why 2 Million Americans Quit Every Month (And 5 Steps to Turn the Epidemic Around).” Forbes. Forbes Magazine. N.p., 11 Mar. 2013. Web. Retrieved 13 May 2014.

Devers, Andrea. “You Know Candidates Are Interviewing You Too… Right?” Blogging4Jobs. N.p., 18 Feb. 2014. Web. Retrieved 13 May 2014.

Green, Allison. “What Do You Owe Job Candidates?” The Fast Track. N.p., 14 Mar. 2012. Web. Retrieved 13 May 2014.

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