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LeadingEdition: E-Newsletter for Purdue University Supervisors

Who’s interviewing whom?

Providing a good candidate experience at Purdue.

For a few moments, put yourself -- the hiring supervisor -- in the shoes of a candidate who is interviewing for your position. In addition to the stress of hoping you're a good match for the position, you're wondering if this is the right place for you. Correct?

Believe it or not, in their own way, candidates are interviewing you, their potential employer. During an interview, candidates are on sensory overload, trying to absorb and digest every moment and interaction they have with you. They're asking questions about the University, the position and the culture. They're observing the work environment, your actions and body language, and any other little nuggets of information they can gather to help them decide if they want to work at Purdue.

The impression you make on the candidate during the selection process is an important factor in the candidate's decision to accept or decline your offer of employment. In the talent acquisition world, this impression is usually referred to as the candidate experience.

Providing a good candidate experience reaches beyond positively influencing a candidate’s decision to accept your offer of employment. A good experience can ensure that the person will remain positive about the University. Even if you don't choose the candidate for your opportunity, the person won't be discouraged from pursuing other positions at Purdue. After all, this candidate may not have been your top choice, but he or she may be an excellent candidate for another Purdue opportunity. Plus, we all know that people talk. When candidates have a good experience with Purdue, they'll likely tell their family and friends, bolstering the University’s image as an employer of choice.

So, when does the candidate experience begin, and where do you come in? The candidate experience begins as early as the first time a candidate contemplates a career with Purdue. Don’t worry, we in Talent Acquisition have that part covered. The point where you need to partner with us is when you realize you have a position to fill.

You can create a positive candidate experience by incorporating the following tips:

1. Treat all candidates equally and fairly.

2. Ensure your position description is an accurate reflection of the job.

3. Network and advertise to get the word out about your opportunity.  

  • If contacted by a potential candidate, be sure to respond promptly, thank the person for his or her interest, answer questions and provide instructions about how to apply through the Careers website.

4. Develop a well thought out selection process and timeline for filling your position.    

  • Communicate personally and in a timely manner with candidates of interest. Share your timeline with them. 
  • If you are inviting candidates for campus visits and parking is a concern, provide the candidate with a campus map and information on where to park and/or provide a temporary parking permit -- before the interview.
  • Develop interview questions that are directly related to the position and design enough time for all questions to be asked and answered.

5. Be sure to put the candidate at ease during the interview. You'll get better information if the candidate is comfortable with you and the environment.  

  • Give an overview of the interview format during the introduction.
  • If using a panel interview, introduce all members of the panel and share business cards.
  • Ask easier questions first to get the candidate comfortable and talking. For example, ask about educational background.
  • Be welcoming and friendly.
  • Be prepared. Read the candidate’s resume before the candidate arrives.
  • Prepare your search committee or interview panel. Give them copies of the resume and go over the interview format and evaluation criteria prior to the candidate’s arrival. Cover who will ask which questions and what you are evaluating with the questions.
  • Consider the environment for the interview. Is it an accurate reflection of the work environment? Eliminate noise and other distractions. Put your phone on forward, and face the candidate away from the door where people may be walking past.
  • Offer frequent breaks and refreshments if the interview is longer than an hour.
  • Provide the candidate with information about the position, the benefits and the University. If the person would be relocating to accept your position, offer information about the community.
  • Follow up in a timely manner with all candidates, even if they are not successful.

As a hiring manager, you become the face of Purdue to the people you're considering for your employment opportunity. This is a great time to show your Purdue pride and your enthusiasm for your career. Represent the University with class! Your talent acquisition specialist and your HR specialist are excellent resources for anything you need to create a great experience for your candidates. 

-Melissa Martin, PHR
 Talent Acquisition Team

 Return to the August 2012 issue

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LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors.  It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us.  Thank you.