You probably don’t think too much about it, but take a step back and consider what your job applicants are saying about your organization when they finish up an interview. Do they walk out the door, jump on their mobile and update their Facebook status: “Crossing my fingers I just landed this excellent job at a cool company”? Or maybe they are tweeting about how they “Just wasted an hour at an unorganized and dismal company”. Working hard to build your employment brand? Consider all that sweat and money shelled out to build a great career page — or have a top shelf campus recruiting program. Unfortunately, negativity is viral… and damage can be done in 140 characters or less!

Obviously, the ideal interview ends with positives all around. A stellar candidate will get a great job at an outstanding company. And the hiring manager doesn’t have to deal with hours, weeks, even months of interviewing. Rarely does it go that easy, but there are ways to ensure the positivity of an Interview Experience from all sides.

Much is written about the do’s and don’ts pertaining to a candidate, but what about the To Do List for a hiring manager? The reality is — for an interview process to be successful — both hiring managers and candidates must be at their best. When both parties step it up for an interview, the interaction is maximized.

First impressions are huge. That goes for both the hiring organization and the candidate. What you expect from a candidate is what your company should expect from hiring managers. As a representative of your company, arriving on time for the interview is just as important as the candidate being prompt. Top performers want to work with other top performers. A negative first impression could be ultimately a deal breaker for a desirable candidate.

Appearance is also key. Those involved in the interview process should be appropriately dressed. Of course, they can (and should) reflect the corporate culture style, but everyone should be neat and professional.

Communication is also crucial. Make candidates feel welcome. Set their expectations. It is quite common to not want to commit to who they will be meeting in case you do not want to move forward with a candidate and have them meet others. That’s fine – just leave the door open. It’s OK to say “I may have you meet with our Director of Marketing – will need to check on her schedule and see about timing.”

Finally, it is not uncommon — as a matter of fact, it’s human nature — to feel like you are being “interrupted” by having to conduct an interview. Some may not be good at hiding this, but you must keep it in check. It may be apparent you’re rushing through an interview. If you are a part of the process, commit. You can effectively interview in a limited amount of time. Be organized, have an agenda of what you are going to cover and spend a couple minutes before the meeting preparing. Review the job requirements and the resume. Jot down some questions. If the candidate is rambling on and throwing you off schedule, it is OK to politely ask them to wrap up that answer so you can move on to keep to the time you have allotted. Let them know you just want to be sure you get through all your questions. On the flip side, make sure you give them the floor. It is easy to get carried away talking about your company and yourself – great to show passion for what you do, but remember why you are there.

Organizations often fail to realize that threats are not just coming from competitors and the other usual suspects, but can be internal mistakes that are easily averted. In short, take the hiring process seriously. Ensuring you find, hire, and can retain and protect the best people is a great foundation for sustaining a great company regardless of size.