Hiring the Candidate You Want


I often tell candidates that are interviewing with my clients that they need to sell themselves to the company. Don’t assume that the company knows everything about you or that the person interviewing you has even looked at your resume before they sat down with you.  I tell them not to walk into an interview thinking that this company is just dying to hire you and would do anything to have you join their team.  I tell the candidate that they need to let the company know all the reasons that they should hire you and not to hold back on giving them all the information they need to come to that conclusion.  The candidate should also want to be thoroughly prepared for the interview.

I believe that same advice would apply to the companies who are doing the hiring, especially with unemployment is as low at is and the reality that technical & skilled employees are in very short supply and in very high demand.  Unless you are one of the extremely popular Silicon Valley companies that everyone seems to want to work for, there are several things a company a needs to be aware of when hiring new employees. Here are just a few:

  • Your company is probably not the only company that 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 doesn’t mean that they actually want to work for you, at least not yet.
  • 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. Don’t hold back. You need to be a Sales person that is promoting the great things about your company.  Things that you could talk about are numerous, such as:  What’s the morale like? What kind of medical benefits, vacation, 401k etc?  Free parking? Onsite daycare or gym? Any company sponsor 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? What’s 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.
  • Job descriptions should be written in the same manner as above. Don’t 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 it’s a great place to work.  That will help you get better candidates to apply.  You can also have all of these things on the Employment page of your company’s website.  Make everyone who sees your webpage want to work for you. (If you can’t find anything good about your company to tell candidates about – you might want to consider find a new job!)
  • Make sure everyone involved in the interviewing process knows the person’s 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 that a few of the people the interviewed with didn’t even look at his or her resume until they sat down. Some interviewers have even flat out told candidates that they don’t 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 of the interviewing process knows how actually conduct an interview and given some guidelines on how to conduct an interview.  Perhaps even give them the questions they should be asking.
  • Don’t delay! Good candidates will not stay on the market for very long.   The longer the hiring process is, the higher your chances of losing the candidates you really want increases. I once had a client take 4 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 a hiring process out no only puts you at risk of losing candidates because they find other offers, but also has the potential to make you look incompetent.  The perception of incompetence will also scare candidates away.

Don’t hold back!  Let potential candidates know about all the great things about your company.  You don’t 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 don’t want is the person you really want pulling themselves out of the running because they didn’t feel your company met their needs.  Don’t let them get away without knowing all the facts about your company and why it’s so great to work there.  You want everyone you talk to want to work for your company.  You want to attract everyone so that you can pick the best of the best and not just pick the best of who’s still interested after an unimpressive interview process.