Interviews are meant to be a two-way exchange of information. But in order to create an effective exchange, both the individuals need to be involved—and prepared. On the surface, it looks like the organization doing the hiring has the advantage. They know their company, its culture, and all the written and unwritten details about their jobs. They also know the qualities they value in their high performers they’re looking for in the ideal candidate.


That said, there’s no rule that says a company can’t help the candidate get ready for the interview. We’re not talking about giving candidates an unfair advantage or doing anything that’s illegal, immoral, or unethical. Rather, the goal is to make sure candidates have all the information they need to show up prepared, which ultimately creates a better candidate experience and interview.


4 things every candidate should know

Better interviews allow organizations to make more informed choices about the best candidates. A good interview also allows candidates to opt out if there’s something that doesn’t meet their needs. That doesn’t have to mean that something is bad or wrong with the organization. Let’s face it—sometimes the fit just isn’t there, and it’s better to learn that before an employee starts.


Here are a few things that organizations should consider sharing with candidates before, during, and after the interview.


Before the interview, make sure candidates have some insights about company culture, employee benefits, and the core competencies that every employee should possess. This information can be shared on the company’s career portal, LinkedIn company page, or on social media. If your company has a blog, consider sharing a few posts about what it’s like to work for the organization. In CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience from End-to-End report, nearly four in five candidates say their candidate experience is an indicator of how the company values its people.


When scheduling the interview with the candidate, let them know the interview format. Will it be one-on-one, video, or a panel? For video interviews, consider putting together a one-sheet with helpful tips and what to do should the technology platform fail. When scheduling a panel, tell the candidate the names and job titles of who will be present. And always let the candidate know who to contact in case of an emergency or how to reschedule (if you’re a Clara customer, Clara can handle all of those steps for you!).


During the interview, share the responsibilities of the position with the candidate. And make sure to be honest! Candidates want to know the good, bad, and ugly. That doesn’t mean they will turn down the job; after all, every job has its pros and cons. It does mean that there won’t be any surprises. If possible, give candidates a tour of the facility, so they can see the office environment and how people work. Also, don’t hesitate to talk about career development and future opportunities. Candidates will be thinking about their decision to join a company in terms of their wants and needs both today and in the future.


At the end of interview, outline the hiring process for the candidate, even if they don’t ask. Let them know where the company is in the process right now and how long it is expected to take. This helps manage expectations about when the candidate can expect to hear back from the organization. Most importantly, tell the candidate who they should direct any follow-up questions to and whether phone, email, or an alternative is the preferred method of communication. Not only does this help the candidate, but it helps the company from receiving a bunch of “what’s the status of my application?” messages. It also helps with offer acceptance rates. In IBM’s report on The Far-Reaching Impact of the Candidate Experience, people are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer when they’re satisfied with the candidate experience.


Preparing the candidate isn’t about giving away secrets. After all, candidates still have to demonstrate they have the skills and experience. It’s about sharing the information candidates need to know at the point they need to know it.


Create a better candidate experience

Taking the time to prepare candidates allows them to come to the interview ready. For candidates, it can reduce some of the jitters associated with the interview, which allows them to open up more and ask better questions during the interview conversation.


Preparing the candidate can also bring consistency to the overall hiring process, making it both efficient and effective. The company provides consistent information to candidates, which creates a better candidate experience. The interview is the longest part of the recruiting process. It only makes sense to give candidates the information they need to make it the best it can be.