HIRING

Make Job Candidates Want to Work for You: 5 Tips

It's just as important that you sell yourself to the candidate as it is for the candidate to sell himself to you.
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Sometimes you're in a situation where the right people are lining up around the block for the chance to work for your company. But, most of the time, it's the wrong people lining up, and you're faced with a limited supply of right people--people with the right skills, experience, drive, expectations, personality and salary requirements. Unfortunately, the people that are right for your business are often right for your competitors' businesses as well. So, what can you do to make sure that your recruiting process encourages these people to want to work for you?

Scratch that. You don't want to convince candidates that your company is the best place for them to work. You want to find and recruit people who believe your company is the best fit for them because it is the best fit for them. Anything false, or that misrepresents how the company operates, is doomed to attract people who won't be happy at your company. (For instance, don't have HR talk about how flexible and family-friendly your company is if not all managers run flexible and family-friendly departments. Be honest: "The hours stink, but bonuses are at 20% if you meet targets. 75 percent of employees will receive a full bonus and it's rare for someone to get less than 80 percent of target.")

Here are some ideas for making the recruiting process effective in matching up people who will thrive in your company.

Structure the interview with a scorecard system: Some companies just have managers (and other interviewers) ask whatever questions come to mind. This may not be a bad thing, but then how do you then compare across candidates? Furthermore, if you don't have a planned interview structure, you may forget to speak about a critical area that could make or break it for a candidate.  

Redstar Ventures is a Boston-based venture foundry that sees some of the best and brightest job candidates from big startups and colleges like MIT and Harvard. This means all candidates are bright and capable. Redstar uses a scorecard system to evaluate candidates on 7 axes that matter to them. This includes startup and industry experience, team building and analytical ability. They may not hire the person who scored the highest, but they know exactly why they are hiring the person they do make a job offer to. And candidates have been asked the critical questions that allow them to evaluate if this is a good place for them.

Give candidates a chance to solve interesting problems: Instead of just asking "what would you do?" or "what have you done?" questions, HubSpot has hired several employees from hackathons that are dedicated to solving certain problems. Not only does this allow HubSpot to see how the candidate works, it allows the candidate to see what life is like in this particular office. Having a clear understanding makes a better fit more likely.

Be as transparent as possible during the process: No matter how nice you are on a day-to-day basis, many people turn into jerks when interviewing candidates for jobs.  One company, Mimecastmakes sure that doesn't happen through effective and timely communication. They strive to keep candidates up to date on the process and time frames and all of those things that so many companies say are just too difficult.  Mimecast explains: "If these steps are followed candidates are not left wondering. Even if they are not chosen for a job, they are left feeling the experience was positive and they will either apply again in the future or refer others to our Chicago location." Remember, just because a candidate wasn't right for this job doesn't mean they won't be right for the next job. If you were rude and didn't follow up, you have lost them forever.

Let the candidate put your company to the test: Many new employees feel like they are the victims of a "bait and switch" scam when they show up at work and it's nothing like what the interviewers said it would be like. It's rarely an actual scam--it's just bad interviewing. Bigcommerce avoids this problem by giving candidates the "the full company experience." That is, they actually give the candidates an assignment to use the software the company sells. This isn't an attempt to get free work out of people. Rather, it shows the candidate exactly what they are getting themselves into and demonstrates that the product is a good one. (Good people, of course, want to work with good products.)

Be prepared and personalize the experience: Sometimes job candidates show up for interviews and have no idea with whom they will be meeting. Furthermore, interviewers haven't taken the time to even glance at a candidate's resume before the job seeker walks into the room. Angel makes sure that doesn't happen. They make sure candidates AND interviewers are prepped properly. The process is personalized to each candidate and, as a result, the candidate feels like managers are actually invested in this process as well. They also take candidates on a tour of the facilities so the person doesn't feel lost and even more nervous than they need to be.

What things does your company do to ensure a good candidate experience?

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 13, 2013

SUZANNE LUCAS | Columnist

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers, and double-checked with the lawyers.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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