November 13, 2012

3 Key Steps to Sell Your Company During an Interview

Business man making a sale pointing to a satisfaction guaranteed badgeIn this increasingly competitive talent market, employers are now having to dedicate as much time to employer branding as they do to the branding and marketing of the products and services. Yes, if businesses want to build and sell great products they first need to sell their business to the candidate marketplace to hire and retain a team of great implementers and strategists.

Employers need to not only build a great employee offering?a great job, team, culture and conditions?but they have to promote and actively sell it. This is because the best candidates will undoubtedly have choices and will be looking for companies/roles that best suit their immediate needs and long term career aspirations.

One of the most important opportunities that an employer has to sell the business is during the interview process, but many employers miss this opportunity due to a less than optimized employee branding process.

This seems like a good time to outline some of the most effective strategies that employers can adopt to sell their company during the interview.

1. Assess the candidate experience and improve as necessary

Speak to employees who have recently joined the company and also survey rejected applicants to find out how they feel about the candidate experience. Ask them things like:

  • How did you feel about the communication and responsiveness during the interview process?
  • Did you feel the interview process was too long or too short?
  • Was the interviewing style appropriate to the role?
  • Did you receive an office tour?
  • Did you meet everyone that you felt you needed to meet?
  • Were you informed about company perks and benefits?
  • Were you told about the company culture?
  • Rate this interviewing experience.
  • Will this interviewing experience deter you from applying again or referring us to a friend?
  • Was this interview experience as you would expect based on the image portrayed of us in the marketplace?

This is not a comprehensive list, but an idea of a set of questions you can ask interviewees to find out how good your current candidate experience is. This will give you an all-around view of how effective your interview process is in selling your company and will help you to spot weaknesses in your process that need to be addressed.

2. Gather intelligence and build a tailored branding message for each candidate

Gather as much information as you can about the interviewee’s individual needs and motivators; that is what are the things that really matter to him/her in a job and company? You can use this information to tailor your brand message to make sure you emphasize the parts of your employee offering which suit the person’s individual needs.

Also, ask them if they are interviewing anywhere else as this will give you an understanding of who you are competing against. For example, if they are interviewing at a company which you know offers better benefits, you might need to emphasize that you have good starting salaries and a valuable bonus.

3. Know your employer brand strengths and weaknesses

You should assess the marketplace and know how your brand compares against the competition, meaning its weaknesses and strengths and you need to develop and deliver a brand message during interview which emphasizes those strengths and counters those weaknesses.

For example, are you a small employer in an out-of-town location competing against larger companies with an attractive metro location? If so, you’d need to build a brand message that counters this in some way by offering the positive flip side which might be: ample parking, less pollution, easier commute, easier location to cycle to and get fit, etc. You need to make sure that your brand messages and counter messages are communicated during the interview process when you talk about the perks and benefits of working.

So, while all these steps are important, one of the key steps is to understand the individual reasons why a candidate may want to join you, and to build a dynamic, individually tailored brand message that sells the role, team and company in the most effective way.

Read more in Interview Process

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.