Friday, August 25, 2006

How (not) to end an interview

Most companies, when they interview, fly the candidate to their office, put him up at a fancy hotel, feed him dinner at a fancy restaurant, but they manage the end -- the closure -- extremely poorly. The majority of interviews end abruptly and they just send the majority of candidates a form letter saying "No". Well, what a waste of money and effort! Doesn't the typical firm lose out on an incredible amount of goodwill, not to mention free publicity, at the end of interviews, by ignoring Kahneman's Peak-End Rule:
... we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak(pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended. Virtually all other information appears to be discarded, including net pleasantness or unpleasantness and how long the experience lasted.
Here are some sane thoughts on interviewing from a guy who runs a technology start-up. One point that stood out:
I always, always leave about 5 minutes a the end of the interview to sell (my firm). This is very important even if you are not going to hire them. If you've been lucky enough to find a really good candidate, you want to do everything you can at this point to make sure that they want to come to (our firm). Even if they are a bad candidate, you want to get them excited about (our firm) so that they go away with a positive impression of the company. Think of it this way: these people are not just potential hires; they are also customers. They are also salesmen for our recruiting effort: if they think that (our firm) is a great place to work, they will encourage their friends to apply.

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