Interviewing for a job is a daunting and often demoralizing process. Applicants are constantly putting themselves forward and facing continual rejection. The way an organization conducts themselves while conducting a job search matters and reflects on their reputation as a whole. Here are three principles to being a gracious interviewer:
Have an organized process. Have a defined procedure internally before you advertise the position. Understand who will perform each function and what the timeline is for each aspect of the search. Make these expectations clear with your team internally and communicate them with applicants.
Give prompt responses. The cardinal virtue of a gracious interviewer is timely communication. You signal your respect for the applicants by being responsive to their inquiries, applications, and interviews. Respond within 48 hours to all applicants—ideally 24 hours. Avoid building a reputation of being unresponsive. Set yourself up for success by creating response templates for each stage of the process that you can personalize.
Provide clear feedback. One common area for lapses in communication is when there is no news or a negative outcome. If the process has been delayed, send a brief update with the new timeline and thank them for their patience. Once an offer has been extended and accepted, notify the other candidates so they can proceed with their job search. Professional, positive communication is always appropriate, even when the news is less than ideal.