Hiring the right people pt 2

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The importance of selling the benefits of your company

Interviewing is a two way process, where the dynamic changes over time. You may have asked a headhunter to approach individuals with a very specific skill set and therefore you may be selling to interviewees from the outset. Alternatively, at first it may be that the applicant is more interested in the job than you are in them. However, once you get towards the end of your recruitment process and have decided they are the right person to hire, it may well be that you face competition from your competitors for a candidate’s services. Therefore, it is essential to always be thinking about selling the benefits of working for your firm. This needs to be done in a measured and balanced manner.

The employment market now

Though the market has been difficult for job seekers over the last 12 months, we are now seeing a marked increase in hiring. Confidence is returning fast, but firms consequently also face increased competition for candidates. Although regardless of market conditions, it’s fair to say that the best candidates will always have a number of job offers by the time they come to make a decision. If so, why should they choose your firm? That is a question that needs to be addressed throughout the process, and you may need to consider adapting your hiring strategy to the market changes.

Managing expectations

If it quickly becomes apparent that an interviewee is not a good fit, then there is no point selling the benefits of working for your firm. Leave them with a good impression by all means, but don’t build excitement for the role and your company, only to let them down later.

What appeals to a prospective employee?

What appeals to a prospective employee are the things that probably appeal to you. This could be:

  • A supportive team environment
    Think about what this really means. Is it that everyone shares success and failure? Is the staff turnover rate low?
  • Vacancies advertised internally
    Does this happen every time? Is the firm growing and there are opportunities for promotion?
  • The opportunity to work abroad
    This may well appeal to people. What support does the firm provide to make this possible? Is it encouraged?
  • Training and development
    Are courses paid for? Is study leave provided? Are these industry recognised qualifications, or internal courses?
  • A transparent bonus scheme
    Is there a clear link between revenue and pay? Is the firm committed to this structure over the long term?
  • The opportunity to occasionally work from home
    Is this a possibility? This can be really appealing to those who commute.

It’s important to listen to the interviewee to really highlight the areas that will appeal to them.

Selling the benefits

It is important to consider the candidate’s particular circumstances when emphasising your company’s strengths. What are the candidate’s long-term aims and goals, and how can you help him/her achieve them? Which of your company’s key strengths might particularly appeal to the candidate? Be prepared to explain these in detail:

Interviewer: “Vacancies are advertised internally”

Interviewee : is thinking “so what?”

When selling your firm, you need to discuss and explain the benefits. In the above example the benefits would be that employees have a better chance of being promoted, that promotion of existing staff is encouraged, the chance of being part of the Senior Management Team is increased. It is always good to give real examples to illustrate your answers.

A word of warning

Most companies want employees who actively wish to work for them. Some neglect to explain why they should want to, however, often operating under the mistaken belief that there is a surplus of quality candidates in the market. That has never been the case, and many are particularly wary of changing employers in the current climate.

We have seen a number of companies lose out on top candidates recently because they have neglected to sell themselves during the interview process. In one case, a candidate chose one firm over another on the basis of a particular benefit, entirely unaware that this was also offered by the competing employer. However, it is often too late for the competitor to alter the candidate’s perception at this stage in the process.

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