Are Candidates Buying What You’re Selling?

October 4th, 2011 | Hiring Resources | No Comments »

Thanks to a shrinking candidate pool and a steady increase in jobs, particularly in IT, it’s definitely a jobseeker’s market out there. You might spend a month trying to find that perfect candidate, while that same candidate spends the same amount of time finding three perfect job opportunities. So which one will they take?

Now, more than ever, is the time to sell your company and the opportunity you’re offering. It’s easy to interview a candidate, asking all the right questions, to see if you’d want them. But it’s easy to forget to tell that candidate why they’d want you, and why they should choose you from a line up of other offers.

So what do you have to sell?

The trick to selling the opportunity to a candidate is in knowing what that candidate wants. The challenge here, of course, is that every candidate is different. It’s pretty pointless to try to attract a candidate with a loud, energetic work environment if he is an introverted, heads-down programmer.

While you can’t figure out everyone, you can break everyone into basic groups.

Selling to Contractors
The trend of freelancing is stronger than ever, and these temporary workers won’t just take any old job. If you have short-term projects that need the best contractors, you will have to sell the opportunity just as much as you would for a permanent position.

Your typical contractor wants a project that will expand their experience and make an impact on their career. Oftentimes, they’ll be sold if you can boast top-notch technology or the chance to learn new things. If the contract is longer than just a few short weeks or couple of months, then a great company culture and team environment could be valuable bargaining points.

Selling to Permanent Employees
A long-term employee will typically be attracted to a stable work environment and long-term benefits. Relationships are more important to a candidate who’s going to be around longer than a few months, so emphasize the culture of your workplace, and maybe introduce them to people they’ll work with. At some point in the interview phase, it will be important to mention long-term benefits such as insurance, retirement plans, and vacation.

Selling to Extraverts

When you’ve got an outgoing personality on your hands, this is the candidate who will be attracted by your enthusiastic team members, energetic environment, office parties, and open floor plan. If your office is more low-key, however, just try to hit it off and relate to this candidate. Make conversation, getting to know him on a personal level as well as a professional one.

Selling to Introverts
Just because a candidate is introverted doesn’t mean he doesn’t appreciate a dynamic work culture and team. Stress the benefits of your work environment as well as any opportunities to work independently and get their hands dirty in exciting projects.

Selling to Leaders
If your open position is in a lead or management role, there’s a variety of directions you could take. How many people will this person manage, and what’s your team environment like? Who will this person report to and how closely will they be managed? Will this person take ownership of exciting projects? Is there an opportunity to make a real impact on people or the company? Whatever your answers, appeal to the characteristics that make a person a good leader.

Selling to Juniors
If your position is a junior one or you have great candidates who have only a few years of experience, it’s a great idea to highlight the opportunity to create a career path and develop professionally. If there’s a chance to learn new things and get their hands into a variety of projects, don’t hesitate to go into more detail.

Miscellaneous Sale
Who doesn’t love free food here or random discounts there. Add up all the perks and benefits you can offer, even if it’s as simple as free coffee. You may have the best opportunity in the world to offer a top candidate, but if you’re going head-to-head with another company to hire him, it might just be your flexible hours, stocked kitchen, or gym discount that will sway him to accepting your position over the other guys.

Closing the Deal
Candidates know that an interview is basically a chance to sell themselves to you as the best person for the job. But in a candidate’s market where even big name companies are fighting over employees, it’s essential to sell your company and the position to your candidates.

The most important thing you can do is create a good relationship with a candidate from the moment you contact them. Each candidate is different, so use the interview to get insight into what attracts each one. From there, sell, sell, sell!