Interview Techniques for Landing Top Talent
In today’s market, recruiters say time and time again that it’s a candidate’s market. Trust them – it’s true! Talent tell them every day about all of the options these potential new hires are weighing. Attracting and retaining top talent go hand in hand. In most situations, offering flexibility to work remotely a day or two is a great selling point for the talent. Health benefits and 401k are equally as important, and some companies are even adding unlimited PTO and sabbatical programs to attract candidates to their organizations. Relaxed attire? Dog-friendly environment? Including magnets like these in job posts could well boost the position’s appeal.
Below are a few interview tips to help transition the conversation from the grill to the thrill of why a candidate should want to work for you.
Know Your Company’s Selling Points
During an interview, the natural first step is to assess the candidate’s technical skills and ability to perform required tasks. But also keep the company’s values and mission top of mind. At some point in the conversation, an interviewer will have to start selling. It’s a talent market. And the very next day a top candidate may well be sitting in front of the next big corporation courting their candidacy. So paint a company culture that makes it worthwhile for the talent to quit their current job—or pass up another organization!
Interviewing is an Art
Make it a human one. Constantly maintaining a poker face and adopting a serious tone doesn't always make an interviewer look experienced. And showing all of their cards doesn’t make hiring managers look weak; it makes them look approachable. Don’t play the role of a Nancy Drew or a Sherlock Holmes, solving a slew of mysteries and looking for reasons to count someone out. Start with being relatable—make candidates feel comfortable. Create an environment where candidates feel they can act like themselves. It’s the best way to get the truest picture of someone’s real character.
It’s Not All About the Interviewer
As in courtship, candidates like to feel special. Interviewing them is a little similar to dating in this way. Start with asking them about their background. Generally speaking, everyone wants to be heard. Ask them questions about their successes, key deliverables they are most proud of, team sizes and how they interacted with other members throughout their last organization. Too often, candidates complain, “The hiring manager only spoke about themselves or their team or how they will be measuring success; they never asked me about my experiences—I had to jump in to explain my attributes.” This leaves applicants feeling as if their candidacy is not special, and it leaves the door open to competition from other employers.
Clock Out for the Hour
Be sure to schedule candidate interviews during a time and date that won’t conflict with other priorities. Also, keeping cell phones out and email open can set a negative tone for the discussion. One-on-ones should be about the candidate’s needs, not about diverting attention to other things. Effective interviewers and hiring managers will manage operational responsibilities by planning ahead. The same goes for keeping candidates waiting in the lobby. If something unavoidable suddenly pops up, send someone out to meet and greet your candidate. Respect goes a long way in helping to build a comfortable, trusting environment for truly getting to know someone.
Don’t Play Hard to Get with Candidates
Be reasonable with the hiring timeline. It takes an average of 42 working days to acquire a new hire. As Forbes advises, “Let that sink in for a moment: It takes five times longer to fill an open position in 2019 than it took to travel to the moon and back in 1969.” 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 obtaining the right candidate.
Know Your Audience
If hiring for a mid-level marketing professional, two or three interviews should be plenty. Considering the position, 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. They’re used to it by that point in their career!
While most would argue that titles mean little, some would strongly disagree. Titling positions appropriately will attract the right candidate to the right job. The recruiting experts at The BOSS Group can help define the position's level, list the day-to-day tasks and craft the ideal job title—to attract that ideal talent.
A few final thoughts. According to Gallup, “When every stage in the employee life cycle works together, employees are more engaged, better performers and more likely to stay with your company longer.” Never forget that the very first phase of that 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. Make it a great experience.
Contact Lindsay on LinkedIn.