Reverse Engineering Recruitment for a Candidate Driven Market

Posted on July 19, 2018 by PaulHickey | Recruitment

A candidate driven market is one whereby the candidates are in the driving seat and they call the shots. It means that they can window shop to their hearts content. In the retail world for example, consumers now undertake what is commonly known as showrooming. They wander around various retailers checking products, getting tactile with them and price matching. Then they go off and buy the same product for less money online. Guess what? Job seekers are doing it too. Ultimately it will cost you time and money, it will ensure you miss recruiting deadlines, maybe fail to deliver strategic goals or projects. Simply because showrooming job seekers will interview, they will even go all the way to offer stage and then decline. Simply because the market dynamic means they can.

Exceptional talent, the kind of talent that you want in your organisation has options. They know who they want to work for and why; generally, they tend to meet with those organisations first. The chances are if you are privileged enough to get some face time with them, then they already like you as a business, the word on the street is positive. As a company you must tick some of their hot boxes and get them excited in some way. It is therefore critical that you maximise the opportunity to impress them, this requires you to consider a different tactic; adapt the way your interview process works.

Changing the way you interview

You and/or your recruiter (hopefully that’s me) have worked immensely hard to identify and secure the interest of a handful of excellent candidates to interview. Before you meet a single candidate, my recommendation is to role play the interview. This will help you understand the balance that is required. Please consider dispensing with the often seen as mandatory 45+ minutes of qualification questions, drop the banal stuff such as “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” In a candidate driven market your interviews should be a dialogue, it should be a 2-way street. If anything, you should be trying to sell your organisation, the culture and the challenges and reward potential of the actual opportunity as much as if not more than the candidate is trying to sell themselves. You should basically be treating the candidate like a customer is one way to view this process.

Reverse interviewing

Once all the formalities have been done in the first 5 minutes of the interview, do something different and let them speak. Throw the rule book out of the window and all the usual qualification questions with it. Open the formal part of interview by giving the candidate the stage. Open with questions such as:

“Let’s do things a little differently today Stuart. Let’s start with the questions you have for me?”

“So, tell me Sarah, why are you here today, why did you choose us?”

“Peter, hypothetically for a moment let’s time-shift to the future and pretend that we are at the end of the interview process. Imagine that I am about to put an offer in front of you. Forget about the salary and benefits for a moment and tell me if you would accept and why?”

“Based upon the research you’ve done prior to this meeting, James, and what you know about our firm and the role itself, is there any reason why you would not accept this job if I offered it to you today?”

Forget everything you have ever been told about interviewing. Opening your discussion like this gives the candidate every opportunity to wax lyrical about your organisation, it provides a platform for them to voice any reservations up front and it gives you the chance to respond and address any misunderstandings or issues or reinforce the positives. This revised approach should naturally take you on a journey together, one that will instinctively lead you to all the places you would normally go with the usual skills questioning technique but in a more fluid manner. The only difference is that it will feel better, it will reveal more and ultimately the whole experience for both parties will be more rewarding.

The real key here however is reinforcement at the end. Instead of waiting for the candidate to close you in terms of suitability, you close them. Say to them something like:

“Peter, it has been great to meet someone who is such an admirer of our company. I hope your experience today has reinforced your positive impressions. At this stage do you have any more questions? If not, is there anything that would prevent you from accepting an offer from us, were we to make one?”

Your sales people sell your company products and services in this way, so why shouldn’t you do the same to a prospective candidate?

Let them fall in love with you

Ideally what you may have done by using this approach is open the door a little wider to some very engaged candidates. If after an hour of meaningful, virtually unstructured; relaxed dialogue you are sitting there thinking how well that person would fit into your team, culture and organisation the chances are they are thinking the same thing. You can cover the skills elements in the next interview. All your short-listed candidates can do the fundamentals of the job description, otherwise you wouldn't have short-listed them. So, give them a chance to shine upfront, take the pressure out of the situation and the tension out of the room; give them the chance to love you.

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