When you interview a prospective employee, be prepared to make the most of your first personal meeting. This is a key dialogue about your possible future together. It’s also your prime opportunity to sell your company and the position to your most important customer at the moment: the candidate.

As you assess a candidate, they’re also assessing you. Design and develop your interview process to not only attract but ultimately hire the industry’s top talent.

The Candidate Experience

Think about what sells you on a fine restaurant or a five-star hotel. The products and services are at the core, but they’re enveloped in a positive customer experience that starts the moment you call to make a reservation. The people who serve you, the atmosphere and features that make the establishment stand out from its competition all indicate that your visit was an inarguable success.

That’s how it should be for your candidates. Be sure they’re members of your “preferred customer club.”

  • Prepare your team in advance. Ensure that it consists of true ambassadors who will champion your company, its vision and the position. Hand pick managers, peers and those who will work for the candidate when hired. Coach them to deliver a consistent message and ask a preplanned set of questions. Hold a pre-interview team meeting and debrief immediately after the interview.
  • Make the experience candidate-centric. This starts even before you meet your hiring prospect, when you communicate via phone or email. Have message points prepared and ensure that they are delivered and then reiterated during the interview itself.
  • Provide a concierge. Have someone from the hiring or HR department meet the candidate upon arrival. Orient them to your site including such practicalities as restroom locations and where to put their coat. Offer them water, show them the way to the conference room, and cover their agenda if the day consists of more than one meeting. Give them a tour so they relax and feel at home.

The positive candidate experience is all-encompassing. Just as it began with that first contact, it should extend right through to your offer and post-acceptance activities.

Focus on Your Employment Brand

Not to be confused with your corporate brand, your employment brand is the total image you present to candidates to optimize the perceived value of working for your company.

  • Branding message points could include awards your company has won, your corporate commitment to social responsibility, office location, favorable turnover rates, dress code and unique benefits and perks.

Sell One on One

Understand what makes your candidate tick both personally and professionally. What are they seeking as they drive their career forward? How can you help them realize these aspirations?

  • Promote your corporate vision. Tie the position into your strategic plan. Illustrate what the job will look like in future years and highlight promotion opportunities.
  • Determine the candidate’s view on compensation. This is more than just asking for a preferred salary range. Find out what benefits are most important to them. For instance, some may need a robust family health plan, while others are more concerned with commissions, bonuses, flexible scheduling and vacation time. Prepare to customize a package that has the individual’s name and preferences attached to it.
  • Analyze your competitive position. Where else is the candidate interviewing? What is it that they like about the other company? How far along are they in the process? In order to close this deal in a manner that works for both the individual and your organization, you have to know what you’re up against.

With a solid plan and the right approach to candidate – aka customer – service, you can make your hiring strategy soar in 2014. To learn more, contact the executive search consultants at BrainWorks today.

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