Hiring managers need to understand they are not just representing their company when they interview job candidates; those same candidates will make judgment calls on them and their firm during the interview process too.
A survey by recruitment firm Robert Walters found almost 84 per cent of job hunters would turn down a job offer where the interview was not handled to their expectations.
Questioning 250 job hunters and 600 hiring managers, it found 93 per cent of respondents would assess a potential employer during the interview and 90 per cent of those would let other people know if the employer behaved unprofessionally.
Robert Walters' Wellington director Sean Brunner says: "It's important to appreciate an interview is as much an opportunity for a job seeker to gather information about a company as it is for an employer to find out more about a candidate. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to hiring."
The survey also revealed more than 70 per cent of respondents said the interview process was "very important" in shaping their opinion of a future employer.
While all the job seekers surveyed said they would appreciate feedback following a job interview, even if unsuccessful, only 46 per cent got sufficient feedback after their last job interview - with 35 per cent saying they got no feedback at all.
Sarah (not her real name) didn't take part in the survey, but has first-hand experience of not being told she had been unsuccessful after a job interview with one of the country's largest firms in June.
"I was interviewed by two people, it lasted the best part of an hour and I thought it went really well," she says. "I left the building certain I'd get a second interview or even be offered the job."
But a week later she'd heard nothing so sent an email asking for an update.
"During the course of a month I left two phone messages, and sent about three emails to each of them but I never got a response. In the end I thought 'stuff them', I wouldn't take the job even if they offered it to me on bended knees. And I won't be applying to that firm again.
"I wouldn't care if they emailed that I was the worst candidate they'd ever met, at least it'd be something."
Sarah says thanks to Twitter she can see that at least one of the people who interviewed her is now working for a different firm.
"I won't be applying to work with him," she says. "It has left a very bad taste in my mouth."
Unfortunately, Sarah's experience is not uncommon. According to the Robert Walters survey, 35 per cent of job applicants never hear another word about jobs they apply for.
And on the other side of the fence, 14 per cent of hiring managers responded to the survey saying they never provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates.
The survey found 5 per cent of job seekers who reach the final interview stage expect to hear within a day if they have got the job, 41 per cent expect to hear within two business days, and 46 per cent expect to hear the result within five business days. Only 1 per cent would wait more than 10 business days to be told the outcome.
The survey's authors say as organisations become more rigorous in their selection process, candidates applying for jobs are often expected to do more research, meet more people and perform more tasks.
"Not only do job seekers appreciate constructive feedback that will help in their future job search should they be unsuccessful, they will think more highly of an organisation for providing it," says the report.
It also notes most professionals surveyed said they would turn down a job offer if they had a bad interview experience, 90 per cent saying they would tell friends and associates about their bad experience.
"The key to preventing a negative interview experience is having guidelines in place for the employees who are conducting interviews," the report recommends. "Interview guidelines should be designed for consistency, to facilitate appropriate questions, and make sure employees conduct themselves in a manner that reflects company values."
The survey also says companies need to act fast to get the people they need on board. More than half of employers surveyed reported losing a preferred candidate due to delays in their hiring process.
• Steve Hart is a freelance writer at SteveHart.co.nz.