I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent a well-qualified, enthusiastic candidate in for an interview only to have them come back and report that they had a horrible experience and would never want to work at that company. If this is happening to you, you need to pay more attention to training your hiring managers on how to sell the position to candidates.
Does it sound like I’ve got it vice-versa? Shouldn’t the candidate be the one worried about impressing the hiring manager? In today’s employment environment, candidates have top choice for where they choose to work. This means you have to sell them on your company and on the person they will work for if they’re hired. Your hiring managers are a linchpin in this process.
I coach hiring managers as well as candidates on how to prepare for a strong interview. Here is the advice I provide clients to help their hiring managers create a positive impression:
1) Teach them how to interview:
Just because someone is a manager doesn’t mean they are great or experienced at interviewing. In fact, many hiring managers are just as nervous as candidates in an interview. Equip your hiring managers with solid training on interviewing techniques and the legal do’s and don’ts, i.e., what you can and cannot ask a candidate. It’s a good idea to have role-playing practice included in the training.
- Put a marketer’s hat on them.
Hiring managers need to be trained (ask your marketing, talent acquisition or peers to help) on what the key differentiators are for your company and how to position those key selling points to the candidate. It is important to share what makes your company a great place to work at compared to your competitors. Provide them with training and make sure they know how the role the candidate is applying for impacts the overall success of the organization. Give them the current “big picture.”
- Drill it in them that the candidate’s experience is king. Everyone expects a candidate to show up on time, right? But hiring managers also need to be on time. Not only that, they need to be taught that it is their job to provide a positive experience for the candidate. This means they need to have positive energy, be invested and present as they meet and talk with the candidate. Candidates will be evaluating the management style of the manager and be looking for a manager that is involved, positive and passionate about the work their department is doing—and the opportunities the company is pursuing.
- Have them highlight training and development. Millennials, especially, want to know that the company they invest their time in is fully invested in advancing their potential. But this is true of all talent. Hiring managers need to clearly outline career paths, orientation/onboarding support, and what kind of career development and coaching they are going to provide the candidate if hired. Be specific about how often performance reviews are conducted, what type of goals will be set and how they will be measured. All opportunities for professional
development need to be discussed because candidates want to know how much you value their future at your company.
- Caution them not to oversell, however. As important as it is that hiring managers sell a candidate on the company, department and position, it’s equally important not to oversell. Hiring managers need to be upbeat, but realistic. They should not promise an experience that is not going to happen. I have seen candidates leave after being hired because what was promised and glorified during the hiring process never came to pass. Be sure hiring managers understand that it’s important to accurately portray the culture and to be transparent about any challenges they are working to overcome.
The more you prepare hiring managers to be strong interviewers and company representatives, the better your hiring results will be. Follow these tips and equip your managers for success.
Author: Katie Calhoun is a Strategic Director for Seven Step RPO. She has more than 11 years experience within the recruiting industry and is responsible for delivering Seven Step RPO’s solutions to global clients. Her areas of expertise include: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, client relationship development, partnership programs, team building, and operational delivery. Before joining Seven Step, Katie held various leadership positions at Kelly HRfirst and Pinstripe. She is a graduate of Duke University and lives in Columbus, OH.