Tuesday, 16 January 2018 15:03

The Customer Service of Interviewing

Written by Carole Stizza, SHRM-SCP, ACC

I listened as a fellow professional described how he links customer experience success to his employee’s experience success; that unless his employee experience is thriving at work, his customers’ experience cannot be expected to thrive either. We’ve heard plenty about employee engagement, but this was a direct link as to why it matters in everyday work-life and I loved it!

I’ve realized the same customer service concept applies to interviewing. As an HR professional, my time as an interviewer outweighs that of a job seeking candidate. However, as a military spouse, working at each new assignment, I have been a candidate more than most and this concept of customer service on both sides of the interview equation makes complete sense to me. The Interviewer’s experience and the candidates experience are equally linked. This has led me to coach interviewing candidates in a completely new way.

In the hiring process, both the candidate and the interviewer are in new customer roles, both seeking service and information to make a big decision. This presents a paradox that weighs heavy on the interview process because neither truly understands what the other ‘customer’ expects. Generally, when we don’t understand what our customer wants, we tend to get anxious, flounder, guess, and hope.  The unknowns involved within the interview process, indeed, drive a lack of enthusiasm from both HR and job seeking candidates.

HR is the pinnacle hiring arm to any organization and we tend to think hard on how we attract and treat talent. We know that hiring and/or keeping the wrong people, is not fair to the right people. So, keeping the customer experience in mind, how we treat a candidate through our process IS our customer service, which lays the foundation of what the new hire will be carrying into our organization when hired.

On the other hand, the interviewing candidate, must take the time to understand what is needed to be heard, felt, and experienced by the interviewer. Although most candidates become well versed in presenting their accomplishments with all the ‘bells and whistles’ of the skills they’ve used in the past, few realize this is only one side of the customer service equation. Great customer service also involves providing information about what may be experienced in the future. Ironically, few candidates know how to provide information from this perspective.

The solution is for each candidate’s answer to include information about “what did that experience teach me?” or “how does that experience affect the way I solve problems today?” If done, it is amazing how much information is gleaned by the interviewer. By being the candidate that offers this type of information, the interviewer now has more information to make a more informed decision. Just like a company stands apart due to their customer service, providing this type of information in the job interview positively sets the candidate apart from the crowd too.

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Carole Stizza, SHRM-SCP, ACC, is a speaker, trainer and coach for professionals who want to create the Career Roles that give perspective and energy back into their life (what she lovingly considers the ‘Career Hungry’). She can be reached at Carole@relevant-insight.com.

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