After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sell, Baby, Sell

Category: Tips for Hiring Managers

In today’s job marketplace, some employers tend to think of the hiring process as the equivalent of picking their favorite donut from the box on Sunday morning.  (Do I want the chocolate with sprinkles, or the iced cinnamon roll?)  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  The donuts have choices too.

In today’s challenging employment market, there are many job-seekers available.  But when it comes to jobs requiring specific skills and experience, particularly higher level jobs, qualified candidates are not a dime a baker’s dozen.  Believe me, as one who finds the donuts for a living, it often takes weeks of research, recruiting, screening, and the accompanying hand-wringing to come up with five or six top-tier candidates to present to my clients.

So when a qualified candidate enters the interview setting, it is absolutely essential that a hiring manager understands the necessity of selling the position he/she represents.  Although I often focus on the candidate’s pitch, selling is not solely an obligation of the candidate.  All candidates have options.  Employed candidates have the option of remaining where they are; unemployed candidates may be willing to take their chances on attaining something better if a hiring manager has not managed to sell a position effectively.

A few recommendations on selling your position to a candidate:

·       Choose the most presentable space available as the interview setting.
·       Be sure all interviewers dress professionally.  Business casual is okay; jeans and sports jerseys do not indicate respect for the candidate who has taken the time to come to an interview.
·       Allow enough time for the interview.  Watch-checking or cutting off a candidate before adequate time has been spent is bad form.
·       Act as a host or hostess would act to an honored guest.  Offer coffee or water.  Offer a break if the interview is long.
·       Prepare an informative presentation on your company and the position being filled.  Allow time for questions.  Answer those questions as honestly and thoroughly as possible.
·       Do NOT act as a trained interrogator.  Remember that you and the candidate are exchanging information.
·       Allow the candidate a tour of the working environment, if possible. 
·       Throughout the interview, be friendly, polite, and receptive to questions. 

Common courtesy, an attitude of respect, and preparation will go a long way to acquiring the donut of your dreams.

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