How to invite targeted candidates to an interview session

How to invite targeted candidates to an interview session

Murphy’s Law on Recruiting Blog: How to invite targeted candidates to an interview session

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” As a candidate for a job that you find interesting and attractive, you know that this axiom holds true. But what about employers, hiring managers and HR professionals? In the new War for Talent the first impression you create in the mind of a targeted, prized candidate is crucial to your success in landing him or her on your team. The first connection is typically a telephone call where you have the opportunity to build rapport as well as qualify the prospect. If you use that call as a “phone screen” the candidate will not come away from that interaction with a favorable feeling about the opportunity, so we need to make sure that the call includes both a give and take of information.

Candidates rarely decline to pursue an opportunity after an initial phone call, even if poorly conducted by the interviewer. The first, live impression is more important and is typically an interview date the candidate has at your company or off-site location. As an employer and interviewer, what tools and tips exist to help maximize that first impression (other than your own personal charm and dazzling intellect, of course)?

You can start with a unique and differentiating Interview Schedule / Welcome Document inviting the candidate to the interview. Most employers email a candidate an interview schedule a few days before the meeting date, and it includes a table of information showing location, times, and interviewer names and titles. But you can use this email as an opportunity to make a great impression, providing the candidate with information about what to expect and making them feel welcome. A small, rapidly growing Biotech client of mine invited a candidate I’m representing to a full day of interviews recently. The candidate is a highly rated employee (we call them “A Players”) who is open to making a job change but not desperate to do so.

The company sent the following document to her one week before the scheduled interview (I’ve recreated it here, with the names changed, but it was sent as an attractive PDF attachment on company letterhead, along with directions to their location).
XYZ, Inc.
Interview session for Jane Q. Candidate
Position: Marketing Manager

Dear Jane,
Welcome to XYZ! Our hope is that your brief visit with us is a mutually rewarding one. We would like to give you enough information to help you become acquainted with us and in return get to know you. Our goal is to ensure that our time together will be a collaborative process. We will be assessing for “can do, will do, will fit, and will bring” as it relates to the position and company, and expect that you will do the same. We encourage you to ask questions, make comments or express any concerns you may have so you can determine if this opportunity is right for you and your career.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to show you our company!

9:00 – 10:00 am John Q. Employer Director of Marketing Washington
10:00 – 11:00 am Mary Smith VP of Marketing Lincoln

If there is no attendant at the entrance to the building, please sign the visitor’s sheet and create a badge upon entering the lobby. Call extension XXX from the front desk phone and a representative from HR will escort you to your first appointment. We look forward to seeing you.


Jane Q. Candidate was duly impressed by the initiative XYZ took to welcome her, and because of that she prepared extremely well for the interviews, received a job offer, and gladly accepted it. She resigned from her company, which works in the same space as XYZ, and made the change primarily due to cultural fit and personal chemistry with the team – which are the most common reasons cited by employees who make job changes. The interview day included lunch where she met with several would-be peers who not only “interviewed” her but were also able to give her a better understanding of what it’s like to work for the organization.
There is a reason why we call it “recruiting,” and organizations who go the extra mile like this are the ones who are winning the War for Talent. I’m always eager to hear any comments or questions.

Dave Murphy
The Alpine Group

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