In Student Affairs and Higher Education we strive each day to get our work done. Students go to class, then attend their organizational meetings, they eat, and they call it a successful day. Behind the scenes of a Student Affairs professional, staff are completing wellness checks, holding students accountable for their actions, supervising staff, reading reports, typing emails, completing a strategic plan, taking “wellness time”, completing evaluations, planning for next semester, purchasing food for a program, and the list goes on but is never really completed. There is always another thing on the list, another task to complete and yet, I believe as employers we need to pause. We need to pause during interviews and be present with the candidate.
Why? Because creating a positive candidate experience is important to recruiting top talent and our presence and attention in the interview process contributes to that. It’s important to remember that candidates are evaluating us just as much as we’re evaluating them. While we are assessing them – not only for their qualifications, experience, and skillset – but for their characteristics, personality and personal qualities, and their professionalism. They are assessing us. When we are distracted, unprepared, and inattentive during the interview process we disrespect a candidate’s time and effort, and it makes for an uncomfortable interview environment.
So, while it can be difficult at times, here are some suggestions that have helped me along the way.
1. Don’t take electronics into the interview room. This will help limit distractions. If someone needs you, they will find you.
2. Make time for the candidate, no matter what position. It is a great way to prove the worth of a position and how much they are valued within a department when the top leadership find time to meet with each candidate.
3. Give feedback. The candidates may not see this one during the interview. But no matter your position within an organization, your feedback matters when making a final decision. Make sure to submit it in a timely manner to help the interview process and hiring of a new candidate.
This is not rocket science but sometimes interviewing seems to take more effort than launching a spaceship. When staffing is down, recruitment seems to take even more out of the current staff. But we cannot think of it that way. Don’t be afraid of it. If we put time and effort into the process, we can recruit great candidates. The interview process is so important to both the candidate and employer. We need to make the best no matter our situation and in the end we hope to gain more presence in our staff.