6 Ways to Make a Positive First Impression When Interviewing Candidates

There’s always a lot of talk about how job seekers can make the best first impression on their prospective employers, but what about the importance of making an equally good impression on them? After all, interviews are a two-way street. Candidates are assessing their would-be employers just as much as they are being assessed themselves. That’s why it’s so important to showcase both the role as well as your clinic in the best light possible. That said, here’s how to really wow your applicants from the moment the hiring process begins.

Plan ahead.

Just as your candidates should show up ready to impress, you should also be well-prepared before the start of the interview. Provide your applicants with all the information they need in advance, such as confirming exactly who will be conducting the interview, the time and location where the meeting will take place, directions and any other pertinent information that will make the hiring process go as smoothly as possible. Taking the time to ensure that the experience is positive, from start to finish, will make your clinic stand out.

Be punctual.

What kind of impression would you get of a job candidate who shows up late for an interview? Probably not a very good one. The same can be said for an interviewer or hiring manager. Keeping your candidates waiting is poor form and doesn’t paint your practice in a great light. Likewise, dragging the interview on for far longer than originally promised can give the impression that your candidate’s time isn’t valued or important to you, neither of which say much about the kind of employer you’d be.

Be prepared.

Even if you’ve already read through the candidate’s cover letter and resume, take a few moments to scan them again just prior to the interview. Jot down a few key questions you’d like to ask during the meeting. Decide in advance how you plan on structuring and carrying out the interview. Winging it isn’t good for anyone. Lastly, bring a copy of the job description and any other pertinent information with you to the interview. Being well-prepared right off the bat will help optimize the time for everyone.

Be careful about body language.

As the interviewer, your body language sets the tone for the entire interaction. Your applicants will take their cues from you to get a feel for how things are going. As such, be mindful of your body language throughout. Avoid fidgeting, crossing your arms or slouching, as these can send negative signals to the other party. Instead, make it a point to make and maintain eye contact. Smile. Be warm and engaging. Even if you get a sense that a particular candidate won’t be a great fit for hiring, respect his or her time by keeping your body language in check.

Don’t get distracted.

Imagine how much of a turnoff it would be if your interviewee kept glancing at his or her phone, gazing off into space or checking the clock. Yet, so many hiring managers do similar things to the candidates they’re meeting with. Give your applicants the respect they deserve by devoting your focus and attention solely to them. It’s fine to take notes, but other than that, you should consciously demonstrate attentiveness to every candidate you are interviewing.

End on a positive note.

Regardless of the outcome of the interview, every candidate deserves to be treated with respect and courtesy. That means closing the meeting on a positive note. Invite applicants to ask questions and answer them thoughtfully and with enthusiasm. Thank your candidates for their time and lay out the next steps to set expectations. Smile and shake hands as you part ways. And remember to follow up, whether you plan on hiring them or not.

The end goal of every interview you conduct should be to leave your candidates feeling excited about the opportunity to work at your clinic. By being prepared and conducting yourself with professional courtesy and authenticity, you’ll make a great impression on potential employees right from the start, which will set the stage for a long, positive working relationship with those whom you ultimately hire.