lucy dunnLucy Dunn (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) | 19 August 2015

We live in a very different world compared to 20 or even 10 years ago. Look around us, smart phones are the norm, as well as people changing jobs with increasing speed and often working globally rather than locally.

It used to be that companies and markets moved at a much slower pace, and there was an understanding that if you just did your job, you were safe; and if you were at all good, there would be promotions along the way. Because there was no internet and 24 hour business news channels, employees didn’t know what was coming or what they were worth, and they were surprised and honored when someone reached out to them to talk about a job change. Now companies change, layoff, and hire with very little notice and with social media and email blast marketing, every day or at least weekly, someone want to temp your employees. What this means is that “the thrill is gone” doing the same thing at the same place for the whole career and expectations are very different.

Because much of the first phase recruitment churn happens out of the view of the hiring manager, and well, most senior managers are more of a different generation, when it comes to interviewing candidates, it seems that only a few managers have shifted their mindset about needing to treat candidates as well as customers, in order to achieve better results in today’s talent acquisition process.

It isn’t about bending over backwards for dilatant candidates, it is remembering that a company actually wants a better relationships with employees than it has with customers. Think about it for a moment, who has the biggest potential to bring in the most benefit, cause the worse harm, or even bring down the whole business?

To be successful and to hire and keep talented people, companies need to reconsider the whole employment life cycle: from interviewing a candidate, to managing their training, to constantly finding more and challenging and satisfying opportunities. How many employees leave a company when they have productive reviews and feel comfortable that their manager is developing their professional worth and looking out for their best interest? We think very few, so what can you do to make sure when your stars or even budding stars employees receive a call from a competitor/headhunter, to make sure they don’t listen with too much interest?

It all begins with an interview. Before you walk into your next meeting with a candidate, perhaps taking a quick look at the items below might help:

  • What would be the cost to act as though the candidate was a consultant, not someone “begging” for a job? The candidate who sits in front of you, has most likely been screened by several parties, ie the recruiter, the HR manager, and at least on paper by yourself, so it is only reasonable that you assume they are at least competent. What if like you approached each interview as if you were paying this person to meet with you? What might you learn about the markets they serve or, or how the overall demand for your type of business is effecting your peers, or even what kind salaries are competitive. As they talk you will also get a clear understanding about their communication style, their experience level, their drive... and in a more relevant and honest conversation both parties can really determine the best outcome
  • Both parties need to know their selling points. It cannot be truer when interviewing currently employed passive candidates. These candidates will be evaluating your company much in the same way a customer does. Is it really worth leaving a good situation? It is in your best interest to offer important insights in the opportunity so that the candidate is able to make an educated decision based just as a customer does when choosing your company for a product or service
  • How can you turn this into an opportunity to showcase your company’s culture? Instead of telling the candidate about what the company is looking for, why not try to tell them what the company culture has to offer them. You, as the interviewer, are perhaps the first and most important example of the culture in action. Are you: formal, informal, are you a good listener allowing both parties to be fully engaged in dialogue, or do you still follow a Q&A one-way “interrogation” script for interviews?
  • You are also building or eroding your company brand with each interview. Candidates talk and all people share bad news faster than good news. A candidate’s bad experience simply trumps the good ones. Candidates are one of the most effectively channel to position your company amongst your competitors
  • Candidates-turned-employees are the lifeline of the company. They have direct impact of your team performance and the bonus you receive at year-end. Having this thought might switch your way of thinking when next interviewing candidates?

The reality is – Candidates, both passive and active, should receive the same level of courtesy as customers. You want them to walk out of the interview, feeling that they have been assessed fairly and professionally. Think about it. They make time to meet you. They share and exchange business ideas with you. They potentially can bring in the big bucks for your company. We all treat customers with respect. Isn’t it only fair the same should be offered to candidates?


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