It should go without saying that it’s important to have a well-qualified staff. Therefore, both parties of the job interview must sell themselves. The candidate needs to convince the employer why he deserves the job, and the employer must convince the candidate why the company and open position are a great fit.
The most qualified, most desirable candidates typically have multiple employers competing for them. Offering above average compensation and a handsome benefits package are a good start to winning the best candidates, but there is more that needs to be done to come out on top. Here are some tips to finding candidates and selling your company during the interview.
Start With a Strong Job Description
First things first. A bad job posting can ruin your chance of attracting solid applicants. A job posting that too short, too long, too vague, too convoluted, etc. is a great way to get not-so-great applicants (or no applicants at all). You need to go beyond the job functions and the skills and experience required.
Make the job description action-oriented so the job seeker can visualize himself doing it and can get excited about it. Next, put together a short but strong section about the company. Include a brief overview of what it does, what the culture is like, what it growth trajectory is, the included perks and benefits, and anything else that a job seeker is likely to find enticing. Think about what motivates top performers (room for growth, recognition, job security, a degree of autonomy, etc), and promote the heck out of those things.
Identify What Your Candidates Want
Once you identify your top applicants, you need to find out what their hopes and expectations are. This can be done during phone and/or in-person interviews. Ask probing, open-ended questions such as:
- Why are you thinking about leaving your current job? (Or “Why did you leave your last job?”)
- What’s most important to you in a workplace?
- How would you describe your work style?
- What are you salary expectations?
One you understand what motivates a candidate and why she is looking for a new job, you can appeal to her more strategically. For instance, if a candidate is leaving a job because he feels undervalued, then you can emphasize the rewards and recognition structures in place in your organization. If he feels that he doesn’t fit in a corporate environment, then you can talk about how your workplace and culture are more suited to his personality.
Find Out How to Be Better Than the Competition
Are other companies in your industry more successful than yours? The strength of your company will help you determine where you stand in the attractiveness category against other hiring companies. And it’s perfectly acceptable to ask candidates which other companies they are considering, so do it. If your company is not as strong as these other companies, then find other ways to sell your position. It might be that you offer a higher salary, more benefits, the ability to work from home, extra vacation, and so on. Alternatively, it might be as simple as framing this as an opportunity for the person to come in and be an immediate game-changer.
Finally, ask your top candidates what their reservations are about the position you’re offering. An honest answer will provide you with tremendous insight into this candidate (you might not even want her anymore) and will also afford you the opportunity to dispel any doubts she has. When done correctly, even the underdog has a great shot at winning over the best candidates.
What are your tips for selling your company to the most sought-after job seekers?