It’s exciting to have a candidate move through your recruitment funnel - but not if they don’t seem quite ready for interviewing.
Though you don’t want to handhold, sometimes you just have to listen to your gut feeling. Here are a few clues that may indicate some gentle guidance is needed - and the best way to deliver it.
Warning sign 1: Silence
You’ve sent your candidate the final details and interview agenda, but you’ve heard nothing since: no conflicts with times, inquiries about the restaurant’s dress code or questions about transportation. Have they even read your itinerary?
No sense waiting for a last-minute panicked phone call; call them to recap the itinerary and ferret out questions. If they’re still not asking, go ahead and share any important nuggets of information, such as how to pronounce a cryptic last name, or the best route to take during rush hour.
Warning sign 2: Elementary questions
Your candidate has been asking questions, but they’re things they could easily figure out by reading the organization’s web site. Don’t completely panic - maybe it’s just nervous chatter, or they’re just confirming details. But it’s worth making sure they’ve given thought to deeper questioning.
First, answer their preliminary questions, regardless of how basic; better they ask you than someone who may be more judgmental.
Then, try to shift them to a deeper level of questioning. Ask them a few questions: What is it about this position that appeals to them? Where do their passions lie? How does this position bring them closer to their career goals? Point out any talking points they should bring to their interview, and refer them to materials that provide more information on areas of interest.
Warning sign 3: Absent family
The physician you’re working with has mentioned that he’s newly married, yet he’s said nothing since about his spouse. It’s always smart to confirm that the people important to your candidate are also on board rather than end up with a declined offer because the physician’s spouse doesn’t like the region.
Ask the candidate how the potential opportunity might affect those important to him. Offer contacts if you learn of a spouse or partner who will be seeking a new job. If there are children, offer to provide information about schools, daycare or any special interests.
Warning sign 4: No personal appeal
Your candidate appeared to be too good to be true - until you had an actual conversation with her. You’re hoping her aloof and disinterested attitude was just nerves, but still, you’re uneasy.
Even if it’s a top-notch candidate on paper, personality still plays a big part in getting hired. If your candidate seems shy, arrogant or uneasy, it’s in everyone’s interest to address the problem.
Mention it while shifting the blame away from the candidate: "This is such a friendly bunch of doctors, so be ready to share a few things about yourself," or "Your confident mannerisms are admirable, but some of these senior doctors may find it a bit off-putting."
Warning sign 5: Too agreeable
Being flexible is great…to a point. If your candidate is too eager to please, they’re not revealing their true self, including their drives, passions or preferences.
If this is the case, help them to focus on their priorities. Where does this job fit into their grand plan? What brings them here? Remind them to share this type of information at the interview. Also, assure them that if something isn’t a perfect fit, it’s better to discuss the issue rather than blindly agree.
Interviews are time-consuming and difficult to arrange, so it’s in your best interest to make the experience as efficient as possible. If this means making sure your candidate is primed and polished, trust your instinct and raise what needs to be said to create the best chance at success.