Is Your Interview Style Turning Candidates Off?

By: Sarah Johnson

What candidates experience in an interview can make or break a candidates experience with your firm. While firms are hiring, not all candidates are looking to move. And when it comes to public accounting, over ¼ want to exit all together (according to the CPACA Driving New Possibilities white paper).  Your interview is an important impression and first cultural experience with the candidate. How you ask questions, what you discuss and how you approach the candidate all create a perception. Is yours positive or negative? Here are a few things you should be considering.

Share your story

You are trying to recruit your candidate after all. Just like we make an emotional decision when we buy a product, candidates make an emotional decision when they choose to accept a job opportunity. They need to see themselves in your firm. To do this, you must tell your story and you must on the things that matter most to them. Tell stories about how people have learned new skills or progressed from staff or associate to partner.

 Court your candidate

Most people hate interviews and for certain senior level positions, its just not appropriate. Like dating, you need to court your candidates and get to know them. This happens through conversations. Whether it is in your office or outside of it, conversations allow candidates to open up and share more with you. Courting takes time, especially when you are after a passive candidate.

 Evaluating technical skills

Most firms can’t ignore technical skills, but how you broach the questions can make or break your evaluation. When asking questions, focus on ones that will ask for the candidate to apply understanding of a technical questions rather than a response. I have seen too many firms’ rely on one-word responses or looking for textbook answers to gauge technical skills. If the candidate doesn’t give the exact one or two word answer, the interviewer assumes they don’t know the answer. Unfortunately, if there aren’t enough contexts or the person doesn’t understand the meaning they might think you are looking for a different response.

Most professional service firms are in a tough market for talent. Make sure you don’t make recruiting these candidates any harder than it needs to be.

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