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How Does a Candidate Interpret Your Office Décor? (And Why It Matters)

A vacancy in your organisation has recently opened up, you’ve had the first round of screenings, and you’re excited about the potential of a couple of the candidates.  

You know what you’re looking for in your new employee, what skills and personality traits you desire – you are hoping that one of the candidates is going to be the perfect match and will willingly accept your offer. 

Umm, maybe not. 

Many employers consider that the recruiting process is a one-way street, but sadly this is not the case. 

There are a variety of reasons that a candidate decides against going in your ‘direction’. In the current skills-short market, candidates hold the power, and the most trivial of reasons can help them make up their mind. 

Your office décor can be a significant factor in the candidate deciding that this is going to be their next workplace – and they usually decide in the first few moments. 

What does your office space say about your company? The way the office space is laid out, the artwork on display, and even the colour of the walls can turn a candidate off In this article, I want to share with you the secrets of what your office décor is relaying to candidates and how to turn it around if it’s sending out the wrong message. 

 

Housekeeping 

 

 

First and foremost, your office should be in a respectably tidy condition, not just when you are expecting candidates, but all of the time. 

It is not a fallacy that people live by the mantra ‘tidy space, tidy mind’. Tidying guru Marie Kondo states in her book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ that when you live and work in a tidy space, your life starts to change for the better.   

There is nothing more off-putting to a great candidate than walking into an office for the interview they have been excited about to find that their prospective new workmates have not made the effort to make the place presentable – if they lack the drive to keep the shared space tidy; what does this say about their work ethic? 

 

The Manager’s Office  

After encountering the communal area, the candidate next gets to experience where the interview usually takes place – the manager’s office. Whether this is your personal office, or is being used by the hiring manager for the purposes of the interview; this is where the candidate will spend most of their time, and is the room that will impact upon them the most. 

 

How is your office set out?  

 

 

Is the desk at the very far end the room, a long walk from the door and with one small solitary chair in front of it? You should hopefully be able to see in the way that I have described this that set-up can be intimidating for candidates, or indeed anyone who enters your office. If your wish is to be intimidating and assert your dominance, then this set-up is fine, but if the kind of candidate you want to attract is dynamic, forward-thinking and with whom you want to share a mutual respect, this will be an instant turn-off; it creates a distinct feeling of a ‘them and us’ relationship between management and employees.  

Arrange the chairs and, where applicable, the furniture in your office to create a more open interview space. Use chairs that are the same height and use a smaller, round table for interviews if possible. 

 

All About You? 

It’s fine to have personal touches in your office space, but how much is too much? I had a candidate tell me that the manager was highlighting the importance of teamwork and collaboration in his company, while his room was full of pictures of his family and items celebrating his own achievements – what kind of message do you think this sends out? 

An office that looks like a shrine to the manager can highlight to candidates that if they were to become an employee, they would have to fight for their place to be noticed and respected in this organisation. 

 

Candidate-Attracting Décor  

 

 

So, now I’ve discussed the things to avoid in your office set-up and decoration, what are the most dynamic, forward-thinking and valuable candidates looking for from their first impressions of your workplace? 

  • A light and bright office space – somewhere that feels like the needs of the employees have been considered. Yes to white and light colours, no too dark or brightly coloured overbearing walls – these can create a feeling of claustrophobia and can even lead to headaches and visual disturbances. 
  • No clutter – an untidy office space gives the impression that the people who work there lack diligence and a good work ethic. 
  • Up-to-date technology – this is specifically important to candidates looking for employers who can provide them with cutting-edge devices. 
  • Keep personal items tasteful – the new team member doesn’t want to feel intimated by a ‘clan’ mentality that they aren’t a part of. 

 

Finally 

We match the right candidates to roles in which they will excel and grow with your company – 98% of our candidates stay in their role for at least two years. 

If you need help recruiting top FinTech talent into your organisation, get in touch with us today to discover how we can help.  

 

Thanks,  

Amrutha Murali 

How to Prepare for a Skype Interview

A job interview for an exciting new role can be one of the most nerve-wracking and memorable experiences in your life – as a recruiter, I see candidates receive life-changing job offers on a regular basis – it never fails to excite me! 

Working with companies and candidates across the board, I have seen a spike in the number of initial interviews being conducted via Skype or other video programs.  

I am asked time and again by candidates on how to prepare for and conduct a Skype interview, so here are my top tips. 

 

Check Your Speed 

Increasingly, Skype interviews are happening in public places such as local libraries, in your car or even quiet coffee spots – basically anywhere you can get a quiet place and, more importantly, away from your current workplace. This is understandable as our working lives are increasingly busy, and you might only have a specific timeframe to be able to conduct your interview. 

If you have no alternative than to conduct your interview where you are relying on someone else’s internet speed, it is important to check the speed of the internet before you decide on this as a suitable interview place. Internet speeds in public places can be highly unreliable, so where possible, we suggest using your own home, that of a friend or relative, or an office space where you can guarantee that you will have enough bandwidth. 

Remember to make sure you have Skype (or the interview software that you will be using) downloaded on your device and that your username and password are correct, and sign in a few minutes early. 

 

A Quiet Place 

Alongside internet speeds, if you must conduct your interview somewhere other than your home or office, make sure that your place of choice is as quiet as possible, with no distractions.  

If you must use a coffee shop, avoid the lunchtime rush hour. If you are interviewing from your car park away from busy roads and in a quiet spot, turn noisy engines and air-con off. 

 

Make Notes – But Don’t Rely on Them 

You might be nervous, and this is understandable if the role is one you’ve wanted for a while, or for a company you admire. I always suggest to candidates to make notes to help them remember certain topics they might want to cover or specific stories they want to talk about – but not to rely too heavily on these notes. 

What I don’t suggest is trying to memorise your notes word for word or consulting them every time you go to answer a question. Always looking down at your notes will make you appear nervous (even if you aren’t) and the breaking of eye contact will not put the interviewer at ease. 

The key is to familiarise yourself with your notes – this can be done in the days leading up to your Skype interview (don’t leave it until the last minute) and use them as a frame of reference for the interview, not a hard and fast guide. You want your conversation to flow freely, and this is hard to achieve when you refuse to stray from a determined set of answers.  

Sometimes candidates tell me that they made a long list of notes, only for them to completely forget about them once the interview has started! Each interview is different, remember to gauge the tone and pace of the interview – your notes are there to help you if you get stuck, it’s not a script. 

 

Work the Camera 

It is tempting in Skype interviews to look at yourself on the screen, rather than into the camera of your device, but remember to resist the urge to do this – it is off-putting and can make you come across as vain, self-centred or simply confused by the whole process. 

Dress in smart attire that you would wear if you were attending a face-to-face interview, and yes, I suggest from the waist down also. If you must get up suddenly in the middle of the interview, you don’t want the interviewer seeing that you’re wearing gym shorts. 

Smile and don’t be afraid to use hand gestures, even if you aren’t sure if the interviewer can see them. I feel that in Skype interviews, it can be harder to let your personality come across than in a face-to-face interview, so you might need to try a little harder to let your true self come across. 

It can be strange conducting a Skype or video interview, especially if you aren’t used to them, so it is useful to remember that they are not as formal as a face-to-face interview and that once you have cleared this stage, you can wow the interviewer in real-life. 

If you are still looking for your next role to progress your career, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help. 

Thanks,  

Amrutha Murali