As an interviewer, it is your call as to where you want to conduct an interview, but rather than choosing your favorite coffee shop or restaurant, it is important that you take a strategic approach. Interviewing over 20 candidates can get tiresome but with large companies, this is usually the case when recruiting favorable vacancies. Although you may want a change of scenery, taking the interviewee on an ‘interview-dinner date’ could potentially be your worst move, and here’s why….
It is Costly
Interviewing a candidate in your own office or interview room costs nothing, but taking them to a nice restaurant will leave you with a bill that may not go down so well on your company expenses form! First impressions are important and so the restaurant you choose must be of a good standard, which unfortunately, usually involves being expensive too!
Risk of Favoritism
You cannot take some candidates on an interview-dinner date while others you interview from your office; this will lead people to believe you have exuded favoritism towards certain candidates and could results in discrimination claims and disgruntled interviewees.
Not only is a restaurant relatively informal and unprofessional environment for a job interview, you are also leaving yourself open to risk of accusations or claims of discrimination or harassment. Some candidates may not feel comfortable ‘dinning’ with their interviewer and if you are particularly unlucky, you may have disgruntled, rejected candidates placing false and damaging claims against you.
Dining etiquette may overrule candidate’s qualities
We all have our preferences and mannerisms, and we tend to expect others to have them also, but in reality, interviewees may not be educated on proper dining etiquette, and in some cases their nerves may cause them to act differently in a dining environment. You cannot allow yourself to judge a candidate based on their dining mannerisms; let their skills, qualities and experience take centre stage.
In an office or boardroom style interview, there are no distractions or surrounding noises to overcome. If you decide to interview in a busy restaurant, you can expect to be interrupted and distracted regularly. You will also find the general noise level to be high and this may cause you to mishear or misunderstand some of the candidate’s responses.
Essentially, interview-dinner dates can be very effective when interviewing candidates for client facing jobs that require them to be socially interactive, or when conducting a second or third stage interview. For the most part however, a traditional interview room or office is more appropriate for an interview.