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A couple of years in the past, an acquaintance approached me about a possibility to co-found a advertising consulting agency. A big promoting firm was financially backing the endeavor. They have been actively recruiting two leaders to determine the brand new agency.

Over the course of 90 days, my good friend and I went by means of a number of rounds of interviews. As a part of this intensive course of, we crafted a pitch deck, created monetary fashions, began a possible shopper roster and met with potential workforce members. We have been additionally requested to discover what we’d identify this agency. 

On the finish of the method, we have been each prolonged provides. A couple of days later, my supply was abruptly rescinded. I used to be instructed the promoting firm’s board didn’t approve my candidacy. My enterprise acquaintance nonetheless went on to accept their offer and begin the agency, with out me. And with our collective concepts.

I used to be devastated to have a proposal rescinded. And I used to be much more devastated that my concepts have been taken, stolen and used. I used to be by no means provided any compensation.

My expertise serves as a reminder and a warning for all hiring managers interviewing candidates. As a result of right here’s the one factor you can not do when interviewing candidates: Ask for his or her concepts as a part of the method after which steal them. Other than missing integrity, that is additionally dangerous for enterprise.

With the great resignation now right here, energy dynamics are shifting. Many candidates have the selection of the place and the way they wish to work. Having an interview course of that makes use of candidates for his or her concepts, after which implements these concepts with out hiring them, can have devastating penalties on your employer brand. Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Twitter are all locations the place candidates can share how they have been unfairly handled and used within the course of. 

Listed here are the 3 ways to make sure you aren’t asking candidates to do the job earlier than they even have it:

1. Adhere to the identical course of for all candidates

Beginning with the job description, define the interview phases and the method the candidate can anticipate. Choose the slate of interviewers, making certain the identical people meet the ultimate slate of candidates. Align on questions prematurely and remind interviewers of the job description and the talents you’re in search of. Ask all the candidates the identical questions.

Be careful for bias if you happen to assume somebody gained’t be a cultural match. Don’t create totally different processes for various candidates, asking one candidate to satisfy with three further leaders since you aren’t positive they may slot in. If you could ask further questions or add a further stage within the course of, guarantee all candidates are handled equally to attenuate bias.

Associated: 15 Tips for Improving Your Skills Interviewing Job Candidates

2. Make the most of case interview questions from a unique business 

If you need to make use of case interview questions as a approach to assess a candidate’s potential to assume and drawback resolve, develop case interviews that characterize a unique business. If you’re advertising magnificence merchandise, you don’t must have a case that includes your present enterprise state of affairs. Right here’s an instance:

“Our skincare model has been experiencing a sluggish decline in gross sales for the final two years. Market analysis we lately carried out suggests introducing a number of new product strains as the answer. How would you establish what merchandise we must always launch and why? How do you advocate we land on pricing and product packaging?”

As a substitute of asking about your skincare model particularly, take into account substituting an adjoining business like cosmetics. Or you’ll be able to floor the case query in a unique business like cars or sneakers. You may also ask extra general questions like what number of gentle bulbs are there within the U.S. or what number of coffees are bought in NYC on a day to get an understanding of how they might resolve issues.

Associated: Ask These 3 Interview Questions to Make a Great Hire Every Time

3. Don’t ask candidates to unravel your enterprise issues

Keep in mind that the interview process shouldn’t be a possibility to ask candidates to unravel your enterprise issues earlier than they’ve even been provided the job. As a girl of shade, it was not misplaced on me that my concepts have been taken by an intensive interview course of that concerned all white leaders and a possible co-founder who was additionally white. 

The interview course of shouldn’t be a possibility to deal with candidates as unpaid consultants.  It’s nonetheless an necessary alternative to grasp how candidates assume and assess what they may contribute to your workforce. The way you deal with candidates in the course of the interview course of can have a big impression on how others view your organization within the market. Be certain that all candidates, whether or not they’re employed or not, turn out to be ambassadors of your organization, letting others understand how they have been handled equitably, and likewise handled with kindness and respect.

Associated: 4 Communication Mistakes Companies Make When Interviewing