Have you ever landed a job, and before you even began, had apprehension if it would be a true fit because you had so many unknowns that you forgot to address or didn’t feel comfortable addressing during the interview process? It didn’t feel great, did it?
Gone are the days when candidates are going to let that fly. They are shopping you the entire interview experience, and you need to be serving up transparency, and authenticity if you want to win the war on talent.
Between the Great Resignation, a more diversified workforce than ever, everyone hiring, and a demand for specialized skill sets, we haven’t seen the worst of the talent shortage. If you have plans to hire anyone other than novice to junior talent in 2022, you need to change your interviewing style. Your job offer is not doing them a favor, they are shopping you and many other organizations, including their current employers in order to land the best opportunity on the table. And you need to stand out.
Regardless of the current job market favoring candidates, the modern way of interviewing has changed altogether, and not everyone has adopted a modern style. Let’s make sure you get ahead of the curve.
Modern-day recruiting is marketing and sales.
The mindset around recruiting in your organization needs to completely shift. Adopt a marketing and sales mindset. Everything you do in marketing and sales is applicable to modern recruiting. No more can you rely solely on inbound recruiting to secure your ideal candidates, just as you can no longer solely rely on inbound marketing to secure your target accounts. Do you need both strategies, inbound and outbound in both marketing and recruiting? Absolutely.
Much as you should shift your focus on integrating outbound recruiting, you most importantly need to treat the interviewing process as you would a deal in the sales pipeline. Every interaction is a chance to sell your audience on your company, your people and your culture.
Always Be Their Front Runner: Your New Recruiting Playbook
Just like any strategic sales organization would, you need a playbook to ensure you’re covering your talking points and have the right cadence of communication in place. When you’re analyzing your current recruiting process, rethink it like you would a sales playbook. Ensure you integrate enough touch points–not just interviews–to keep the candidate engaged so that your company stays top of mind.
Here are some key best practices to integrate into your playbook in order to sell your company to your top candidates, and close the deal:
Early Interview Stages: Building Rapport
- Ensure that you adopt a conversational tone, and encourage a dynamic dialogue. Ditch the traditional interrogative, teeth-pulling Q&A session. Making people feel nervous is not the feeling you want them walking away with. It will set the stage for a comfortable conversation, giving you a real representation of the candidate.
- Make a point to state that interviewing with your organization is a two-way street. Comment to never hesitate to reach out throughout the process, as you understand it has to be a fit on both sides. This will immediately establish rapport due to your level of transparency, availability, and authenticity.
- Make it known that you support them asking questions at any time, not just when prompted.*
- If you know you want to move the candidate forward, be sure to close your conversation with next steps without the candidate having to ask.
- Let them know that you understand they may be speaking with multiple organizations, and that you’d appreciate them letting you know if they receive another offer no matter the stage they’re in with your company. Offer that you’d at least like the opportunity to speed up the process or respond in the instance you’re both each other's front runners.
*Disclaimer: If any of our tips feel obvious or over-the-top, think again. We’re breaking the programming of old, poor interviewing and recruiting habits that candidates have become accustomed to.
Mid-Stages: Building a Connection
- Make sure to integrate more information about the company, the role, the values, the people and the culture throughout your conversations. Don’t wait to be directly asked.
- Offer more intentional time for the candidates to ask questions even if it’s been a comfortable back and forth dialogue.
- Spend most of the time on the value you’ll both bring to the table. Ditch the hypotheticals, and discuss the role, and how their experience could align with your needs, and how the role will help their growth. You’ll learn more about how they can contribute by treating the interview like an active think tank or working session.
- Be sure to integrate committee interviews. See how their dynamic shifts. They also want to know how they will align with the team they’ll be working with and for, and their question sets are sure to change.
Final Stages: Don’t Let Your Top Candidates Go Dark
- Encourage your hiring committee members to connect with your top candidates on LinkedIn between these stages. It will make them feel part of the team. Regardless if they don’t end up joining the organization, you’ll want to keep them in your network to nurture them for future right-fit roles.
- Point blank, don’t be shy about moderating or canning leading questions. Or straight up ask if they have questions about the environment, expectations, benefits, professional development, growth opportunities, etc. Anything they have yet to ask in which you know the answer would differentiate your organization over your competition, ensure it’s addressed.
- If you’re conducting in-person interviews at a satellite office, offer to give tours and introduce them to others outside of the hiring committee. Help candidates feel at home, and part of the team. Always leave them wanting to come back by letting your organic culture do the selling.
- Over-communicate on next steps, and always offer feedback. You want them to know they have an advocate, and that you’re one of the rare companies that doesn’t “ghost” their candidates as so many organizations still do.
- Consider offering a “sales sheet” to your top few candidates while you both sit in the final consideration stages. Leave-behinds are a huge tactic in marketing and sales when your prospect is between stages, so why not offer the same on the people side of the house? Think of a slick or one-sheeter that covers the company’s history, the culture, bullet points of benefits, how you invest in professional development, growth statistics, accolades, a QR code to your Glassdoor page, whatever it is that showcases your company is a best place to work. Stay on their mind, and WOW them.
When You Know, You Know: Don’t Wait Until the Offer Letter
- If you’ve selected your candidate internally, do not wait until the offer letter is polished and ready to go to begin closing the deal. Send a warm outreach such as a text (at minimum) or a phone call stating intent, and ask if they have any questions. Never leave a candidate waiting when you know. You may not be their number one just yet, you may be tied with another organization or be a runner up. Your over communication may be the deciding factor, and set you apart.
- Never shy away from discussing fringe benefits, and offering information on other components of total compensation that are not variable to the role such as benefit costs. No candidate is going to sign an offer letter without that information with today’s rising healthcare costs.
- ALWAYS Include a total compensation breakdown in your offer letters when you do get to that stage. Don’t just list generic information under a base salary. Calculate what they would need to make at another organization in order to compare to your offer. For example, use a formula (and show the breakdown) of:
Salary + Employer Contribution for Premiums + Employer Sponsored HSA matching + (PTO x Cost per Hour) + (Employer Contribution to 401k based on max matching x Annual Salary) + Stipends = $ X in Total Annual Compensation
It may take an extra few minutes to calculate, but if another organization is coming in with a higher salary, the candidate may not be thinking about the increase in pay needed to justify the other costs or money left on the table if they walk away from you. Be the company that does the math for them.
Never Stop Focusing on Talent.
There are many, many ways to sell your company during the interview process. These are just some of the best practices we’ve learned from or implemented ourselves. Be sure to meet with your internal teams to gain feedback on your process, have your leadership team continually review your benefits packages, and be sure to be a continual learner when it comes to employee acquisition and retention. Your investment in talent acquisition and retention will propel your growth and should be just as important as revenue growth.
When You Can’t “Always Be Recruiting”
If you want to protect your time working on or for your business in other functions, but completely believe in the value of ‘ABR’ (Always Be Recruiting) as you do in ‘ABC’ (Always Be Closing), we can help.
HubSearch has the largest network of HubSpot-skilled digital marketing and revenue experts. Let us take the heavy lifting of the playbook off your hands, be your qualifier, and we’ll pull you in to close only finalist-caliber candidates. In the meantime, be sure to access our 2021 HubSpot Ecosystem Salary Guide to plan for your next hires.