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We’ve all been there. It goes like this. You are interviewing for an important hire. You’ve met enough candidates that you are comfortable you know what the market has to offer. And then you meet “The One,” the candidate you want. The one you know is right for the role in addition to being someone you like and will enjoy working with. The one who shares the values of your team and will make a positive impact on the company.
And then you realize you have to make this candidate want the job as much as you want this candidate. To complicate matters, this realization usually arrives during the interview. You need to be prepared. Here are 8 tips on what to do and what not to do if you want to land the candidate.
We expect great candidates to have done their homework on the role, the company, the industry and even on us. Show candidates the same level of interest. Read their resume completely, more than once. Learn a little about the places they have worked before. Check their online profiles.
It’s fine to be honest about challenges and obstacles, but emphasize what is great about the role, the team, and your company.
When the candidate provides a great answer, tell the candidate it was a great answer. This creates certainty in the candidate’s mind that they understand the role and can be successful. It also demonstrates your ability to provide recognition and praise.
You are likely not the only person interviewing candidates. Be consistent about the role’s requirements, challenges, and opportunities. Hearing different messages from different people on your team creates dissonance and uncertainty in the candidate’s mind. Top talent will not be interested in role that is undefined.
Create the impression that success in this role is achievable. Also create the impression that the company will succeed. Winners want to join winning teams.
We expect great candidates to have near, mid, and long term goals for their careers. Share the goals your company has. Great candidates want to be part of the big picture and to see their place within it.
It is disrespectful. It also creates the impression that you are disorganized and struggle with time management. These are not desirable attributes in a future boss.
Be yourself, but be professional, polished and polite. Dress well, avoid profanity, and conduct yourself like a senior leader.
Don’t fall prey to the temptation of a “conversational” interview. The candidate will be assessing your merits as a boss on the relevance and insight of your questions. If you are struggling to think of your next question you create the impression that this role is of minimal importance.
Avoid criticizing the person previously or currently in the role. Instead talk about their achievements in the role and identify the needs of the role that were not met. Describe the role as too big for the incumbent instead of describing the incumbent as too small for the role.
Do not dwell on your company’s or your industry’s failures, obstacles, or past. Focus instead on the future and the opportunities ahead.
A+ candidates have options. They are hard to come by and even harder to land. So when you find one, use these 8 tips to represent yourself and your company well. Make them say, “I have to work here!”
Mark leads Canada’s largest Marketing Communications & Media recruitment practice. Leveraging close to two decades of industry experience in the Marketing Services and Agency businesses, he has been responsible for hiring, developing, and retaining top talent as Vice-President with companies such as Young & Rubicam, Wunderman, and J. Walter Thompson.