In today's market, recruiters say time and time again that candidates are firmly in the driver’s seat. Job seekers tell them every day about all of the options they are weighing. As a result, companies are increasingly offering better pay and more perks and benefits in order to boost the appeal of their open creative, marketing, digital and proposal positions.
But beyond sweetening the proverbial pot, employers need to view the interview as an opportunity to sell the candidate on the open position as well as the overall company. Following are a few interview techniques to help transition the conversation from the grill to the thrill of why a candidate should want to work for you.
Highlight Your Company's Top Selling Points
During any interview, the goal is largely to assess the candidate's skills and ability to perform required tasks. But also keep your company's mission and vision top of mind. At some point in the conversation, an interviewer will have to start selling. Again, it's a candidate market and there is fierce competition for highly skilled creative, marketing and digital talent. So paint a picture of your organization as an employer of choice. Explain in detail why it would be worthwhile to join your team over other companies vying for their services. In addition to salary and perks, spotlight professional development opportunities and the promising career path prospects you offer.
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Keep it Real
Interviewing is an art. Make it a human one. Constantly maintaining a poker face and adopting a serious tone doesn't necessarily make an interviewer look experienced. And showing some of your cards doesn't make hiring managers look weak; it often makes them look approachable. Don't play the role of a detective digging for clues about why to count someone out. Be authentic and relatable so that you make candidates feel comfortable. Simply put, create an environment where interviewees feel that they can be themselves. It's the best way to get the truest picture of someone's real character.
Remember It's Not All About the Company’s Needs
Candidates like to feel special. Start by asking them about their background and focus on being an active listener. Generally speaking, everyone wants to be heard. Pose questions about their successes, key deliverables they are most proud of, and how they collaborated with colleagues in their previous roles.
Too often, job candidates will offer after-interview assessments along these lines: "The hiring manager only spoke about themselves or their team or how they will be measuring success. They listened less to what unique skills I have to offer and spoke more about their requirements.” This leaves applicants feeling as if their candidacy is not special, and it leaves the door wide open to competition from other employers.
Give Interviewees Your Undivided Attention
Etiquette matters. Be sure to schedule candidate interviews during a time that won't conflict with any other priorities. Also, keeping you phone out and email open can set a negative tone for the discussion. One-on-ones should be about the candidate, not multitasking. Effective interviewers and hiring managers will manage operational responsibilities by planning ahead. The same goes for keeping candidates waiting. Respect goes a long way in helping to build a comfortable, trusting environment for truly getting to know someone.
Streamline the Overall Hiring Process
Time is of the essence. If, for instance, you’re hiring for a mid-level marketing role, two interviews (tops) should be plenty. Spending six-plus weeks in the interview process, plus a working half-day devoted to personality assessments and requesting a 90-day business plan are overkill. Save the CIA interviewing for the C-Level professionals.
Also, be reasonable with the hiring timeline and stay in close contact. Keeping top talent on hold too long removes the thrill and "newness" of it all. While no one wants to make a bad hire, taking too long to decide decreases the chances of securing the right candidate.
Never forget that the very first phase of the employee life cycle begins with the candidate interview. What people experience during that discussion can ultimately determine whether your organization will have lower turnover and better business results. Use the interview techniques highlighted in this post to make it a great experience!