By Dan Simmons
Adequately selling the job or opportunity to a candidate. There are some common hiring rules that should never be broken, regardless of the situation or circumstances. Unfortunately, this is all too often the case. Even during good economic times, companies often fail to sell their opportunity to those who have already shown interest. Then, during a downturn, fewer companies actually go to the trouble of effectively engaging top talent during the interview process.
For those reasons alone, this is worthy of “Common Hiring Mistake” status.
Reasons to sell
Because of the economy, some company officials might believe they’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to hiring. In other words, they don’t have to sell anything because candidates will trip over themselves in their rush to work for them. Nothing could be further from the truth, and here’s why:
- We operate within a truly global economy – Competition is as fierce as ever, which means that more and more companies are in the market, actively selling themselves to the best candidates in their field.
- Top talent always needs to be sold – The vast majority of the time, the best candidates know that they’re the best. As such, they expect to be sold on both the job and opportunity. Failure to do so could result in the loss of star talent.
- Selling is a habit – if you begin the practice of selling the opportunity it will become an integral part of your recruiting process. Eventually, you’ll forget that there was a time when you didn’t sell.
An important distinction
Whereas selling the job and the opportunity are viewed as one in the same, there’s an important distinction that must be made. The job is what the candidate will be doing once they’re hired (i.e., their job description), while the opportunity encompasses everything else. This includes the company culture, its values, and the chances that the employee will have for advancement, as well as prospects for continuation of training and education.
With that in mind, below are some ways in which to sell both the job and the opportunity to candidates.
Selling the job:
- Discuss the importance of the position within the company.
- Explain your vision for the future of the position.
- Make a connection between what the candidate is passionate about in their current position with what your position offers to them.
- Point out any unusual or above-and-beyond benefits of working for the company such as onsite daycare, discounts from major retailers, great relo packages, etc.
Selling the opportunity:
- If possible, take them on a tour of your facility.
- Make certain your potential employee meets those he would be working for and with.
- Discuss your company’s standing in the marketplace and its vision for the future so that they can better envision themselves as part of that future.
- Emphasize your company’s positive attributes. This could include awards won, low turnover rate, in-house training activities, formal mentoring programs, etc.
- For top-notch candidates, take them to lunch for further informal discussions and the opportunity for the candidate to ask questions.
Creating a ‘reason why’
When you don’t sell the job or the opportunity, you don’t create a “reason why” the candidate should work for you. Motivation studies have shown that people are not spurred to action without a good “reason why.” When you take candidates through the interview process, they’re not going to bring that reason with them, no matter the prestige, size, or success of your company. All they’re bringing with them is a “reason why” they should show up for a face-to-face interview.
By pro-actively selling the job and the opportunity it represents, you’re creating a “reason why” your company, above all others, is the choice for star candidates and top talent.
Daniel C. Simmons is a Certified Personnel Consultant who has been recruiting since 1991. Dan has won over twenty awards in the last decade with the Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network including Placer of the Year in 2009 & 2010.
Frequently Dan also is a recruiter trainer and has been featured at various Top Echelon Conventions and online as a speaker for various webinars. He has also been published in The Fordyce Letter the recruiting industry’s #1 magazine.
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