Engaging Candidates: Best Practices for Pre-Interviews and Keeping Candidates Engaged Through the Interview Process

In today’s competitive job market, ensuring candidates are engaged and committed from the first point of contact is crucial. As a staffing company, we are consistently not only dealing with this ourselves, but also trying to encourage and coach our clients to reduce the margin of no-shows.  Pre-interviews serve as the perfect opportunity to build this engagement and set the stage for a successful hiring process. Here’s how recruiters can conduct pre-interviews that not only engage candidates but also create curiosity about the position and the company, motivating them to show up for the interview and reducing no-shows.

  1. Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

First Impressions Matter: I know that everyone knows this.  But sometimes, in the business of our jobs, we can forget.  The initial interaction sets the tone for all future engagements. Begin with a friendly and warm introduction, expressing gratitude for the candidate’s interest in the position. Use a conversational tone to make the candidate feel at ease.  I find that it helps me if I stand up and smile (even though I am in my office alone).  This helps my voice to sound more excited and engaged.

Example Script: “Hi [Staffing Candidate’s Name], this is [Cory Minter] from [Trinity Emploment Specialists]. I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me today. How are you?”

  1. Provide a Compelling Company Overview

Sell Your Company: Briefly describe the company’s mission, values, and culture. Highlight unique aspects that make your company a desirable place to work. Sharing success stories and mentioning exciting projects can pique the candidate’s interest.  I also suggest that you direct them to your google reviews if they are strong so that they can read what others who have had a positive experience with you have to say.

Example Overview: “At Trinity Employment Specialists, we are dedicated to helping people find the right position for their career path. We pride ourselves on our putting others interests first and our team has recently when others read our google reviews, they can see how this has impacted so many job seekers.”

  1. Engage with Thoughtful Questions

Understand Motivations: Ask questions that help you understand the candidate’s background, interests, and career goals. Show genuine interest in their responses, which helps build a connection.

Example Questions:

    • “Can you tell me a little about your professional journey so far?”
    • “What inspired you to apply for this role at our company?”
    • “How do you see this position aligning with your career goals?”

Insightful Follow-Ups: Listen actively and follow up with questions that show you value their experiences and insights. This makes the conversation more engaging and less like a standard interview.

  1. Highlight the Role’s Value Proposition

Describe the Impact: Clearly explain how the role contributes to the company’s success and why it is crucial. Candidates are more likely to be excited about a position where they feel they can make a meaningful impact.

Example Explanation: “In this role, you will be instrumental in [specific tasks or projects], which are critical to our [department’s or company’s] growth and success.”

  1. Set Clear Expectations and Next Steps

Transparency is Key: Clearly outline the interview process, what the candidate can expect, and the timeline. This transparency builds trust and shows respect for the candidate’s time.

Example Outline: “Our interview process involves [number] stages. Today’s call is the first step, followed by [next steps]. We aim to complete the process by [timeline].”

Confirm Commitment: Ask the candidate about their availability and confirm the interview schedule. Sending a calendar invite with all the details immediately after the call can help solidify their commitment.

  1. Address Questions and Concerns

Open Dialogue: Encourage candidates to ask questions about the role, team, and company. Addressing their concerns and curiosities can help alleviate any hesitations they might have.

Example Prompt: “What questions do you have about the role or our company? I’m happy to provide any additional information.”

  1. Follow Up with a Personal Touch

Post-Call Communication: Send a follow-up email thanking them for their time and reiterating your enthusiasm about their application. Include the interview details and any additional information they might need.

Example Follow-Up: “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, [Candidate’s Name]. We are excited about the possibility of you joining our team. I have scheduled your interview for [date and time], and you should receive a calendar invite shortly.”

  1. Leverage Technology

Utilize Video Chats: Whenever possible, use video chats for pre-interviews. Video calls add a personal touch and help build a stronger connection than phone calls alone.

Technology Tools: Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet can facilitate seamless video interviews, helping you read non-verbal cues and create a more engaging experience.

 By creating a welcoming atmosphere, providing a compelling company overview, engaging with thoughtful questions, highlighting the role’s value proposition, setting clear expectations, addressing questions, following up with a personal touch, and leveraging technology, recruiters can significantly enhance candidate engagement during pre-interviews. This approach not only reduces the likelihood of no-shows but also sets a positive tone for the entire hiring process, increasing the chances of securing top talent.

Remember, the goal is to make candidates feel valued and excited about the opportunity, ensuring they are motivated to see the interview process through to the end. Happy recruiting!