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Front Page - Friday, September 20, 2019

Career Corner: Want to attract top candidates? Interview them like you want them

Years ago, job interviewing was an event. During my first job post-college search, I flew to companies across the U.S.

There were phone interviews in the beginning. But companies rolled out the red carpet for in-person interviews. And that was for a college graduate with almost no real work experience.

Typically, the company would fly me in the night before and put me up in a nice hotel. Then, they would take me to dinner.

This gave me a chance to meet the team and learn more about the city. Once, a company even had flowers, a cheese plate and a book about the city waiting for me in the hotel room.

The interview day was tough, with a number of interviews in a row. But then someone would take me to lunch. And, they’d give me a tour of the campus. There would be breaks between interviews.

At the end of the day, a car would pick me up at the company and drop me at the airport for my journey home.

This kind of red carpet interview is very rare these days, from what I’ve observed. Many companies don’t want to go to the trouble to fly a candidate in. They say it’s a cost savings, but many flights are just a few hundred dollars.

The problem is, this gives a one-sided experience. The company is given an opportunity to get to know the job seeker, but the job seeker doesn’t have a chance to get a full picture of the company.

The companies that do fly candidates in forget a number of things. They don’t arrange ground transportation anymore.

They no longer take candidates to dinner the night before. There also are no bathroom breaks built into most interview schedules. Can you imagine?

Many companies will schedule six hours of interviews back to back with no food and no breaks. There’s no transportation at the end of the day. You are expected to find your way from a company office – in a city you probably don’t know – back to the airport.

There’s little a job seeker can do about this, other than to nicely ask for an on-site interview.

Or, you can politely ask them if they’re able to build a break or two into your day.

Employers, wake up! If you’re losing your best candidates and can’t figure out why, it’s time to re-evaluate your candidate experience.

Are you treating candidates the way you’d want to be treated?

This is an investment of a few hundred dollars and a little time to ensure that the next great candidate will say yes to your job offer.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.