Interviews Gone Bad: Are You Scaring off Great Job Applicants?



There are lots of different interview styles and techniques, but not all of them are created equal. At Rubicor we interview job applicants daily both for specific roles and as general applicants, and we have found that sometimes when an applicant reaches the client interview stage, the recruitment process falls over due to poor client side interview processes.

The last thing any company wants to do is scare off great candidates, because the success of a business hinges on the quality of the people working there. In order to help you avoid any pitfalls in your interview processes, here are our top six red flags to avoid:


  • Exposing all the flaws in your business. Transparency and honesty are great, I certainly do not advocate ever being dishonest, but make sure you clearly express to the applicant that you are looking to improve the parts of your business that are not doing so well. The applicant can then see room for them to add value to your business as opposed to seeing the business as a sinking ship.


  • Following on from the red flag above, if your work culture is tough and follows the ‘work hard, play hard’ mantra, that is absolutely fine, just make sure you articulate this to the applicant in a positive way, ensuring you highlight the rewards and benefits.


  • Being too aggressive and demanding in your interview style. Interviews are a two-way street, both the applicant and the company that is hiring need to convince the other that they should work together. If the interview process is comfortable for the applicant then they will be more receptive to working for your company.


  • Taking too long with the interview process. If you have multiple interviews stretched over a prolonged period of time you risk losing the applicant’s interest, you could also make them feel like you are stringing them along until you find someone better, resulting in a withdrawn application. Be upfront at the start about your interview process, the applicant will be more likely to stick around if you do. Communication is key!


  • Referencing an applicant before interviewing them. This might seem like too obvious a mistake to make, but believe me it does happen. You risk the applicant withdrawing their application, because you did not give them the opportunity to meet you in person first and decide for themselves if they want to proceed with the recruitment process. It is also a breach of the applicant’s confidentiality if they have not given you express permission to conduct references.


  • Changing salary expectations at the offer stage. You will lose the applicant’s trust if you try to renegotiate the salary this far down the recruitment piece and they will probably decide to withdraw their application, because they think you are trying to short-change them. If the remuneration package you are offering needs to be amended, do it as close to the start of the recruitment process as possible.


Ultimately, poor interview processes and techniques will not only cost you the ability to secure great employees for your company, but they will also hurt your broader reputation as word will inevitably get out that you have bad customer / job applicant service and are therefore not a desirable company to work with. With a little tweaking of your interview processes you can improve your success rate of hiring great applicants.  


Written by Alisa Moore, Research & Community Manager at Gaulter Russell Numero, a Rubicor Company.