When most of us think of job interviews, we tend to think of them from the perspective of the employer. You’re looking over pools of applicants, making phone calls, checking references, and trying to figure out which candidate is going to be the best fit for the position, and for your company overall when the ink is finally dry on the contract. It’s often an intense experience, and it can be an involved discussion through several levels of the company before an offer gets made.
What often gets overlooked is the experience from the other side of the table.
Because applicants are analyzing the behavior and performance of a potential employer at every step of the process as well.
They’re looking at communication styles, the fringe benefits that come with the position, and crunching the numbers on how long it will take to get insurance, paid leave, sick days, and so on, and so forth.
As a recruiter it’s important to remember that you’re not just selling an employer on a potential prospect… you’re also selling that prospect on the employer.
And you don’t want to promise something said employer can’t or won’t deliver on, because all that’s going to do is lead to frustrations all around.
Focus on Your Task
The inherent dual nature of an interview (evaluating a potential recruit for the job in question, while also getting them excited by the potential of working for a particular employer) is particularly difficult for recruiters to manage.
Because you need to be able to perform two related but completely separate functions at the same time, and that often creates stress on the mind that can impact performance. Sort of how it’s really hard to pay your head and rub your stomach at the same time.
And according to Viasto, this can become a serious risk for recruiters who are trying to manage both tasks at once.
What research presented in the Journal of Management found is that as soon as an interviewer or recruiter switched tasks from trying to evaluate a candidate for their potential fit for a job or company to trying to get that person excited about working for that company, their ability to accurately evaluate the person for the job started dropping.
To go back to the metaphor, an interviewer who can quickly and accurately pat their head (evaluating a potential candidate one whether they’re a good fit for the job), immediately takes a hit to their performance if they have to rub their stomach (sell the prospect on working for the potential employer).
You can do both, but you cannot do both of them at the same time as well as you could handle either task separately. And attempting to do both at once just results in mistakes, and dips in performance.
A Potential Two-Step Process
The important thing to remember is that, while you need to adequately evaluate candidates for a position while also enthusing those candidates about potential job offers, you don’t have to juggle both of those things at once.
And you shouldn’t.
Instead, you should break this process up and handle it in stages whenever possible.
One suggestion the researchers put forth is that you should have two, separate interviews so you can focus on the different sides of the coin, so to speak.
Another suggestion was to work in a pair, and have one individual focused on seeing things from the employer’s perspective, and the other focused on selling the potential position to the candidate as a good work opportunity.
In either case, the key is to make sure that there is some separation of these two aspects to help make sure that you aren’t working across purposes when it comes to finding the right job for the right people, and vice versa.
Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver
The most important thing to remember throughout this process is that you’re striving for exciting accuracy.
You don’t necessarily want to become a commercial touting values and experiences, but you do want to get your applicants excited about what they could be looking forward to.
Which is why you need to evaluate the employer, as well as what would excite your applicant about them.
Since everyone is different, it’s important to get a sense of what will excite a particular applicant about a given employer.
What are they looking for in a job or position, and what do they need from it?
Do they need a certain salary, for instance, or are they looking to continue their education?
Do they want a particular benefits package, or are they looking for a position where they can be allowed autonomy to achieve their goals rather than having to fall in line with the rest of a department?
In order to build someone up for the prospect ahead of them, you need to know what it is they’re looking for, and what would actually stimulate them.
And once you know that, only make promises you’re sure you can keep.
The key here is promises, versus potential.
For example, we all know that you should never tell an applicant they could receive that $50k salary as soon as they start if a company very clearly posts that the job offers a flat $35k.
However, if they have a generous evaluation and promotion policy, as well as always promoting from within, that can help soften the blow while maintaining enthusiasm that an applicant will remain upwardly mobile.
And if the company offers vigorous benefits packages, or paid sick days starting from day one, then that is something else you can bring up.
The key is that you need to know what a company offers, and what an applicant wants to hear.
Once you’ve got those two pools of information, all you need to do is figure out how to match them.
For more on how you can keep your prospective applicants excited, while also managing expectations from employers, all you have to do is contact us today!