During an interview, many hiring managers tend to take the perspective that a candidate needs to sell themselves to the employer. Many don’t stop to think that it’s just as important for the employer to sell the company, position, and culture to the candidate. This is a mistake that recruiters, hiring managers, and even candidates, tend to make.
It is beneficial for employers to invest in selling the company as a whole to the candidate for numerous reasons – and not just for the candidate's benefit. When an employer takes the time to discover the answer to the question “What do candidates look for in an employer?” they’ll find they are typically rewarded because they can identify and retain a great employee.
What matters to each candidate will vary, so it’s important to try to find the right fit. Once they achieve this, they’ll successfully hire people who are enthusiastic about their jobs and are a good fit for the company culture. Furthermore, they’ll more than likely find lower employee turnover, which can be costly. If you want to learn how to sell your company to prospective employees, here are some tips.
Selling the Company to the Candidate
Knowing how to sell a job to a candidate is only a part of the process, you’ll also need to market and sell your company as well. Being that roughly 70% of candidates are passive job seekers, they aren’t going to leave their current companies if they don’t see any tangible reasons to accept a new position. You’ll need to demonstrate to candidates exactly why you’d be a great employer to work for.
- Share the current employee experience. Discuss why your current employees love working for your company. Frame the conversation from a peer’s perspective and showcase your company’s best attributes.
- Frame the candidate’s experience. Everyone wants to feel as if they can make a positive contribution. Frame the candidate experience into the current company culture, and outline to them ways they would fit well within the organization.
- Talk about growth. Most people aren’t satisfied staying stagnant in their careers. Include in the conversation any growth potential and upward mobility opportunities within your company. As you talk with your candidate through the onboarding process, outline how you see them growing and learning within the company. The end game is to sell a career, not a job.
- Highlight benefits and unique perks. Salary will be important to employees, but it’s not the only benefit they seek. What’s important to them might surprise you, so take the time to see what benefits and perks people look for in a company and identify which of those things you already offer or can feasibly implement.
It’s important for you to highlight why you value new hires and how you want to invest in helping them fit into their new roles. When recruiting a candidate, look beyond your own evaluations because rest assured, candidates are going to be assessing you as well. You want to get it right because if you don’t, the best talent will either stick with their current job or turn to a competitor. Knowing what candidates look for in an employer will help you attract the best ones to join your organization.
Selling the Position to a Candidate
Surprisingly, many companies don’t know how to sell open positions to candidates. Hiring managers get caught up in focusing on filling their own needs rather than dedicating time to learning exactly what the candidate seeks in a job. Ideally, you want to find a candidate that will enjoy their job and then work to exceed expectations because they’re passionate about what they do.
Unfortunately, some companies become so absorbed with filling the position, they neglect this important factor. When meeting with prospective employees, you not only want to share what you need, but highlight the benefits of what the position can offer the candidate in terms of personal satisfaction, professional growth, and working alongside others who feel the same way about their jobs. Start with the marketing of a position and follow the same mindset right into the interview and beyond.
- Write a dynamite job description. When creating an advertisement for open positions, be accurate and succinct. Accuracy is extremely important because you don’t want to give false impressions about what the job actually entails. Include exciting information about your organization, written in a way that will entice people to apply. Remember though, lengthy and rambling job descriptions aren’t appealing and will likely dissuade top talent.
- Discuss the benefits of the position. During the interview share with your candidates any exciting projects and opportunities for growth. Essentially, give them an overview of what their daily routine (and beyond) could look like and how this can align with their own personal and professional goals.
- Discuss the expectations of the position. Here’s where some employers initially get it right, but then they get caught up in their own needs. When discussing what the job entails and what your expectations are, step back from yourself. Instead, frame your messaging around the candidate experience to help them view themselves in the position. This will give them food for thought and help them envision how they can contribute.
- Ask questions! Get to know your candidate. Invite them to ask questions so you can better ascertain what they want and determine if you can fulfill those needs. Essentially, you want to know what the candidate wants out of the position and, once you uncover this, you can frame the position’s benefits and expectations with what the candidate is seeking. In the process, learn about any reservations they have and, if they are a highly desired candidate, work with them to find a solution that would make the job more appealing. Sometimes the answer is simpler than you might think.
To succeed, you’re going to need to know how to sell the position to get the best candidates to accept your offer. Bottom line, selling a job is much like you would market and present your product or service. Show candidates why this is a great position.
Selling the Company Culture to the Candidate
Next to salary and vacation time, company culture is the third most important thing to job seekers, according to a survey by Accountemps.
"In today's employment market, companies need to put their best foot forward when making job offers and, beyond salary, highlight benefits that could entice candidates," said Michael Steinitz, according to IndustryWeek. "Professionals want to be hired by organizations that support work-life balance and have values that align with their own. An attractive corporate culture can go a long way toward recruiting and retaining top talent."
The interview is the perfect opportunity to upsell your company’s culture!
- Highlight the importance of company culture. Demonstrating you’re interested in making the best possible experience for employees can go a long way towards attracting qualiﬁed candidates to make a decision to accept an oﬀer with your company
- Show how culture is valued. In your recruitment conversations, show candidates specific examples of benefits that current employees experience as a direct result of your organizational culture.
- Use brand ambassadors. Your employees are a strong marketing tool. Consider bringing in current employees for a portion of the job interview to share what they love about working for the company, how the culture enhances their professional lives, and to invite the candidate to ask specific questions.
- Create a strong presence on LinkedIn. LinkedIn can have a positive influence on a company’s culture – if done strategically and smart. Simply throwing up a profile won’t cut it. Use your company’s LinkedIn profile page to sell yourself as an employee of choice. Be active and share interesting industry news and engage in conversations.
You can bank on the fact candidates will be actively scouring social media and job sites to read reviews of what it’s like to work for your company. Aside from knowing what’s out on the web, you can also help to positively form your company’s reputation and strong culture before and during the recruitment process. (Discover you aren’t making the grade? Be sure to immediately start taking steps to correct cultural issues).
Put Yourself in the Shoes of the Candidate: Idealizing How You Would Want the Position and Company Sold to You
One of the best ways to sell an open position, the company, and its culture is to put yourself in the shoes of the candidate. Think about what would be important to you and then look within the company to see if it effectively meets what YOU would want as a candidate. Once you can identify the various benefits of working at your company from a candidate perspective, you can help frame conversations to highlight the very best aspects of the job and the company.
The key to success throughout the recruitment process is to be deliberate and accurate. You never want to misrepresent a position or the company to lure a candidate in. Eventually, they’ll learn the truth, either before or after accepting an offer. You don’t want to risk gaining a negative brand reputation as an employer. The goal is to retain top talent, not disappoint them because they find the job or company isn’t a good fit.
Not every person is the right fit for an organization nor is every organization the right fit for a person. Hiring the right candidate is essential for both parties. By accurately presenting the job, your company, and its culture, you significantly increase your chances of finding the right candidate – the first time. In the end, this makes for a win-win for everyone involved.