Talent Acquisition Professionals, Are Your Interview Questions Making Candidates Feel Strange and Alienated in 2021?

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A picture that shows how candidates feel alienated by talent acquisition teams during the interview process

Most people will unanimously agree that interviews can be a terrifying and nerve-wracking experience for candidates. We all know that talent acquisition professionals strive to make the candidate experience exemplary. As the goal is to leave candidates with a great impression and paint a positive picture of the company.

But when recruiters throw in some uncomfortable, razor-sharp, and tough interview questions, many candidates will start to feel alienated. Leaving them with the temptation to withdraw themselves from the hiring process altogether. And let’s admit it, nobody wants that. All it takes are a couple of bad interview questions to steer the interview process towards an irreversible disaster.

So, talent acquisition professionals, are your interview questions alienating candidates? And how can you stop this issue from spiraling out of hand?

We break it down for you in this article!

Prepare purposeful interview questions in advance

Many busy talent acquisition professionals fly into interviews with little to no preparation. They may be stressed, overloaded, or drowning in work. When talent acquisition teams don’t have time to prepare for a bank of relevant and powerful interview questions, they resort to using stock questions such as “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” which don’t really help them get the information and insights they need.

What’s more, straightforward and common interview questions will only give you scripted and pre-prepared answers which will make your hiring decisions inaccurate.

Bear in mind, that stale interview questions are not bad. But pairing them with challenging and insightful questions will make all the difference. Make sure the questions you ask candidates can help you dig deeper. Ask follow-up questions, keep the conversation flowing smoothly, and don’t forget to listen. If you’re just firing one question after another without creating a smooth transition, you will risk turning off candidates and alienating them.

Neglect inflicting any extra stress on the candidate

Sometimes talent acquisition professionals get so carried away thinking of the next interview question, they might go off on a tangent and ask a string of questions that solely focus on the candidate’s negative experiences and failures. By default, this will place candidates in a bubble of stress, trying to scramble up answers that will reflect a positive image of them. Not only will they feel uncomfortable, but they will feel under pressure to devise a satisfying answer.

Alternatively, talent acquisition teams should give candidates the chance to shine in the interview, even when they’re working remotely. This can be simply done by shifting their focus to a more constructive approach. Meaning, they should focus more on asking questions related to conflict resolution and how candidates overcome certain challenges. This way, candidates won’t undergo any extra stress and panic throughout the interview and remote recruitment process.

Make the interview questions less confrontational

You might be well aware of the famous interview question “You have one minute to sell me this pen!”

And then candidates begin fidgeting in their seats trying to come up with a jaw-dropping clever answer. Although these interview questions can really test the candidate’s creative skills, they can also put them on spot struggling to respond, and therefore making them feel alienated.

Such challenging questions can have candidates questioning whether the interviewer is trying to figure out how clever they are, or if they are truly suitable for the job. Instead, make sure your interview questions are relevant and fair. If you sense candidates jitter and fidget in their seats, since the beginning of the interview, then chances are, they feel quite nervous. So avert trying to inflict any extra stress on them by asking confrontational questions.

Strive to make the interview process a positive experience

The goal of interviewing candidates is to simply find the right talent for the company. This is why talent acquisition teams should always strive to make the interview process a memorable experience. This will help candidates crack out of their shells and unleash their full potential.

First and foremost, talent acquisition professionals should ask candidates questions that unravel how they will meet the role’s objectives. The point is to ask purposeful questions, and not the cliché ones that aren’t very insightful.

To make the interview process a positive experience, make sure you ask the right questions by researching the candidates well before the interview, taking their questions seriously, understanding the objectives of the role, and allowing them to make the final statement.

Let’s wrap up

Great interview questions create an awesome interview process, which brings talent acquisition teams the best candidates. By asking meaningful and purposeful interview questions, you make candidates feel like you foster a supportive, safe, and fun working environment. Candidates don’t want to feel alienated, or that they stick out like a sore thumb. Therefore, make sure your interview questions give them the chance to stand out, show off their skills, and give the interview their all.

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