Talent Acquisition: The Interview Process

Talent Acquisition is the First Pillar within The Ultimate Retail Manual and is probably the most important pillar on which to focus upon.

Every strong and viable organization that is top of mind and dominant within their sector, universally, exhibits a fully committed upper echelon talent acquisition program that focuses on acquiring the best and brightest aspirants.

The CEO, all the way down to the entry-level manager within the company, are completely devoted to the entire recruitment process. They have been thoroughly trained to interview, assess, and conduct diverse types of interviews.

We are going to discuss the all-important interview process from the employer “point of view” and the components that make up this talent acquisition process:

Preparation for Talent Acquisition

  1. The person conducting the interview should be extremely prepared (read the applicant’s resume, LinkedIn profile, and cover letter).
  2. Schedule the time for the interview and make sure other managers/peers know, not to disturb you during the interview. This component is the most overlooked, which sends the message to your candidate that they are not important enough for your undivided attention.
  3. Be on time! Punctuality is the first impression you are sending to the interviewee. How would you feel about the applicant if he/she were 15 minutes late? We feel as employers that our time is valuable, and the aspirant’s time is not. I sense a double standard here! Remember, the applicant is interviewing you as well.

Related Article: Strategies for Retailers to Prosper

Candidate Treatment

  1. Welcome the candidate with a heartfelt greeting, a handshake, and a smile. Make the person feel welcome. Offer them a bottle of water, as they will be talking for an extended period of time.
  2. Maintain an empathetic perspective. As part of the talent acquisition process, always remember that the person is probably nervous and possibly desperate to receive an offer of employment from your company. They could have gone through a plethora of interviews elsewhere already.
  3. Please make the candidate comfortable with positive and open body language e.g., not crossing your arms, healthy eye contact (don’t stare), and palms up to relay honesty.

The Interview Process

  1. Explain the interview process: how long the interview will be, if there will be other managers stopping by, explain the position they are interviewing for, and what you are looking to accomplish from this interview.
  2. Engage in active listening (a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding) by reflecting back what the other person has said, or to clarify their true meaning.
  3. Use a structured interview guide to remain consistent and compliant with your questions (hopefully your talent acquisition guide will contain plenty of open-ended questions). These are questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no. There is a myriad of questions you are not allowed to ask e.g., nationality, age, religion, marital status, children. Focus your attention on their resume and cover letter, while engaging in a back-and-forth open dialogue.

Message to the Candidate

  1. Allow the candidate adequate time to ask questions about the company. Too many times the interviewer leaves the candidate with only a few minutes left. As a result, they wind up feeling constricted for time and abandoning their list of questions.
  2. The final piece of the interview is the closing remarks from the interviewer. This explains the next step in the talent acquisition process (unless this is the final interview), in addition to the follow-up time for a response from your company. This process is the most egregious from most employers who fail to follow up in the given time frame or do not contact the candidates at all who did NOT receive an offer of employment. First and last impressions are paramount to the integrity and character of your company. Remember, absolutely no ghosting here! Ghosting is when a hiring manager or human resources employee never communicates with the candidate again.
  3. Follow up, follow up, follow up. The retail world is very interconnected, and candidates will wind up working for numerous companies within the sector throughout their lifetime. Lack of follow up on your part will not endear your future aspirants to apply to your company again. As a result, it will ensure that your reputation is severely tainted. Remember, bad news travels extremely fast.

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