Selling Job Candidates on Your Company
by Dan Regovich
AJ Augur Group LLC
I often tell candidates who are interviewing with my clients that they need to sell themselves to the company. Dont assume the company knows everything about you or the person interviewing you has even looked at your resume before they sat down with you. I tell candidates not to walk into an interview thinking this company is just dying to make a hire and would do anything to have you join the team. I tell the candidate they need to let the company know all the reasons it should hire them and not to hold back on giving the interviewers all the information they need to come to that conclusion. The candidate also should be thoroughly prepared for the interview.
I believe that same advice applies to the companies that are doing the hiring, especially with unemployment as low as it is and the reality that technical and skilled employees are in very short supply and in very high demand. Unless you are one of the extremely popular Silicon Valley companies for which everyone seems to want to work, there are several things a company a needs to be aware of when hiring new employees. Here are just a few:
1. Your company is probably not the only company the candidate is interviewing with. You are in a battle with every other company out there to hire the best talent. Candidates have more options these days, especially highly technical positions, such as engineers. Just because a candidate is interviewing with your company, it doesnt mean they actually want to work for you, at least not yet.
2. Because candidates have many options these days, you need to sell them on all the great things about your company and what makes it a great place to work. Dont hold back. You need to be a salesperson that is promoting the great things about your company. Things you could talk about are numerous, such as:
- Whats the morale like?
- What kind of medical benefits, vacation, 401(k) etc?
- Free parking?
- Onsite daycare or gym?
- Any company-sponsored parties?
- Can you telecommute at all?
- How have your bonuses paid out over the last several years?
- What kind of growth have you had?
- What new technologies have been developed recently?
- Who are some of your biggest clients?
- What awards has the company won?
- Whats a normal work day or work week like?
- What is the average longevity within the company?
- What is it like to live in your local area?
- What are the local schools systems like?
- Is your manufacturing plant state-of-the-art?
- What role will this person play in the company?
- What are the possibilities for advancement?
Make sure everyone interviewing is on board and knows how to sell your company.
3. Job descriptions should be written in the same manner as above. Dont make it just a list of boring job details or vague things like someone who is a self-starter. A job description should state all the wonderful things about your company, community and why its a great place to work. That will help you get better candidates to apply. You also can have all of these things on the employment page of your companys website. Make everyone who sees the webpage want to work for you. (If you cant find anything good about your company to tell candidates about – you might want to consider finding a new job!)
4. Make sure everyone involved in the interviewing process knows the persons background before they interview the candidate and knows how to conduct an interview. I have heard many candidates come back after an interview and tell me a few of the people they interviewed with didnt even look at his or her resume until they sat down. Some interviewers have even flat out told candidates that they dont know how to interview and were just winging it. Each person in the interviewing process is a reflection of your company. Make sure everyone who is a part the of interviewing process knows how to actually conduct an interview and is given some guidelines on how to conduct an interview. Perhaps even give them the questions they should be asking.
5. Dont delay! Good candidates will not stay on the market for very long. The longer the hiring process, the chance is higher that you’ll lose the candidate you really want. I once had a client take four months to get a candidate through their hiring process. This was a highly skilled and rare person. Before this client could even make her an offer, another company that interviewed her for the first time just a week before, made her an offer and she accepted it. Dragging out a hiring process not only puts you at risk of losing candidates because they find other offers, but it also can have the potential to make you look incompetent. The perception of incompetence also will scare candidates away.
Dont hold back! Let potential candidates know about all the great things about your company. You dont have to necessarily worry if you actually want to hire them yet. Get everyone that you interview interested in your company and then worry about who you will hire. What you dont want is the person you really want pulling themselves out of the running because they didnt feel your company met their needs. Dont let them get away without knowing all the facts about your company and why its so great to work there. You want everyone you talk to want to work for your company. You want to attract everyone so you can pick the best of the best and not just pick the best of whos still interested after an unimpressive interview process.