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Even the best of us have those days. Things just aren’t clicking, we stumble on our words, we even say the wrong things altogether. No, you don’t really like pineapple on pizza, but you said you did at lunch because everyone else was. It happens. 

It also happens in interviews, where the stakes are a little higher than a ruined pizza party. As you’re navigating the hiring process, you may find that a great candidate will have a bad interview. They say the wrong things, they stumble on their words. They might even make up an answer if their mind goes blank. As a hiring manager, what should you do when a great candidate has a bad interview? Before you make any decisions one way or another on hiring this candidate, take these steps to consider all factors of a bad interview. 

Give it Time 

After you interview a candidate, and their answers aren’t what you expected, give it time. Sit for a day without making any decisions one way or another. This way, you can process the interview and consider what made it go poorly. Did the candidate say the wrong things? Were they fidgeting and uncomfortable? Did they have a bad day? Go over the interview in your head again, and review your notes. Try to determine if it was a fluke and the candidate is still great, or if a great candidate may seem like less of a good fit than you thought initially. 

Once you go over the interview by yourself, bring your thoughts to your team. This is especially helpful if others were in the interview with you. Even if you were the only person interviewing this candidate, your team can still offer valuable insight. Talk to your colleagues and discuss the interview, asking for advice and, if possible, sharing the candidate’s resume and explaining why they were interviewed in the first place. With their feedback in mind, you can then make a plan for this candidate going forward. 

Follow Up With the Candidate

Next, follow up with the candidate. In fact, they may even follow up first. Stay positive in all your communication with them. Focus on what went well, and remember that you liked them enough to invite them for an interview in the first place. If a great candidate has a bad interview, remember they can still be a great candidate. 

Reach out to them and let them know the next steps. Navigating the hiring process can be tricky for both hiring managers and candidates. Be sure to take your time during the process and not make any rash decisions based solely on a resume, or solely on a bad interview. Keeping candidates in the loop is courteous, and will generate a relationship of mutual respect and trust. 

Finally, keep the person in mind. Remember that the candidate is more than a candidate. They likely know that the interview went poorly, too. Encourage them and, if you’re so inclined, offer them advice. Let the candidate know that they still have great qualifications and that we have bad days. Be encouraging while still being professional. 

Reinterview the Candidate

If, after speaking with your team and the candidate, you still want to consider hiring them, try reinterviewing the candidate. To make this second interview more effective, consider changing how you interview them. If they were stumbling on their answers, try asking them different questions. Take a new approach when reinterviewing a candidate, such as inviting others to join the interview. 

You can even hold the interview at a different location altogether, if it will make the candidate more comfortable. Try inviting them to a coffee shop, or a garden area located outside your office. A neutral, comfortable location can help ease a candidate’s nerves and help their interview go well. 

Reinterviewing a candidate is a great way to show them that you want to get to know them better. After all, that’s what an interview is for. If a great candidate has a bad interview, it doesn’t hurt to give them a second chance. Just remember to be transparent and let them know your expectations as you navigate the hiring process. While you want to give them another chance, you still have to make a hiring decision at the end of the day. 

Find Great Candidates With headfarmer

When you’re looking for a qualified finance, accounting, technology or HR candidate in Phoenix, trust the recruiting team at headfarmer. We can help you find the right candidate for your firm, and will deliver great candidates to your office. 

We are focused on your needs and find candidates who will fit your company’s culture. At headfarmer, we cultivate relationships and make sure that your new hires are the right hires. Contact headfarmer and get started on a better hiring process.

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