How To Deliver A Five-Star Onsite Interview Experience

onsite interview experience

Sure, we might be navigating a digital revolution when it comes to new and innovative communication methods, but that doesn’t mean those good old-fashioned face-to-face interactions are losing their value. Nowhere is this more apparent than during the interview phase of the recruitment process.

Onsite interviews offer the best chance to observe reactions, eye contact, body language and tone of voice—some of the more subtle signals that can be easily missed or misinterpreted in virtual environments.  

Though, the benefits of inviting candidates to onsite interviews cuts both ways. Interviewers are looking to see if the company and role are a fit for the candidate, and this is also an opportunity for candidates to gain a real insight into the inner workings of an organisation and its culture.

That’s why delivering an excellent interview experience is crucial. A positive interview experience can help put candidates at ease so they can focus on bringing their best selves to the table. What’s more, candidates who have a positive experience interacting with your business at the interview stage may advance your employer brand through online reviews—even if they’ve been unsuccessful.

Here are some tips to help you create a positive onsite interview experience:

1. Prepare a logical interview structure

Interviews should be an opportunity for candidates to showcase all the “must-have” skills and experiences they have outlined on their resume, as well as their ability to apply them to the role in question. This is why it’s important to prepare a list of questions that’ll stimulate a broader discussion around the information you already have as well as fill in any gaps you’ve identified on their resume.

Ask candidates to describe scenarios that will illicit insights into relevant soft skills such as teamwork, flexibility and problem solving—all qualities required to put their hard skills into practice and drive real results in the workplace.

2. Create a relaxed environment

When we’re not the one in the hot seat being grilled, we often forget that interviews are an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. Create a calm and relaxed environment that allows your candidates to shine and comfortably express their personality and capabilities.

Putting an interviewee at ease can be done with a few simple techniques such as smiling throughout, breaking the ice with a few non-interview related questions, making reasonable attempts to rephrase questions the candidate finds difficult, and posing your questions in a conversational style.  

3. Focus on giving a great first impression

Typically, interviewees will arrive at your office a few minutes early which is why it’s important your entire organisation gives a solid first impression from the moment they walk through the door.

Ensure someone will be on hand to greet your interviewee on arrival and direct them to a comfortable waiting area. Always be ready to commence the interview on schedule to show the candidate their time is valuable. For example, to ensure all candidates who come to Netflix for interviews feel valued, the company created a staff policy that all employees greet and assist guests at the office, no matter whose guest they are.  

4. Don’t drop the ball on communication

Sometimes, the best candidate insight into working for a company doesn’t come from the interview itself, but the process around it. Regular and clear communication—from the invitation to interview to the final decision—will all help to demonstrate the efficiency of your company as well as provide an indication of what it’s like to work there.     

Some ways to build strong connections with interviewees might include providing:

  • directions to the office
  • details about the format of the interview and what to expect
  • a list of interviewers so candidates can research them
  • regular, post-interview updates about the decision-making process and timeframe.

Post interview, keep the communications flowing. Let successful candidates know about next steps and provide unsuccessful candidates with constructive feedback about where they went wrong and tips to help them move forward with their job search.

Don’t wait weeks to get in touch. All applicants who apply for a job and aren’t successful should receive a clear indication that they didn’t get the role, as soon as you know they’re no longer being considered.This helps to maintain a positive impression of your business and your employer brand.     

5. Craft interview questions with care

While interviews should be structured to help recruiters pre-screen for hiring managers and get to know candidates on a deeper level, craft your interview questions with care and well ahead of time. Once your list is complete, review each question and ask yourself: Is it related to the job? Will it be interpreted correctly? Does it apply equally to all? There are lots of articles and guidelines out there that can help you avoid veering into territory that may be considered illegal.

Lasting impressions

Whether or not a candidate is offered a role, everyone who interviews will have a lasting impression of your brand, so it’s important to be courteous and thoughtful to all interviewees, from the first point of contact to the last.

Creating a positive interview experience from beginning to end may even result in positive reviews on your Company Page. Job seekers who visit the Indeed Company Page of an organisation are 4X more likely to apply for jobs there*— so positive stories about people interacting with your company are always helpful.

Reviews aside though, politeness and empathy should be a given, you never know when you might encounter a particular candidate again—one day they could be interviewing you!

*Indeed data (worldwide)

Indeed Company Pages