Hey, Hiring Managers: Sell Your Company!
Usually the first question I ask a candidate during an interview, “What do you know about this company?” This lets me gauge the level of their preparedness. When I schedule an interview, whether it is for one of OpenView’s portfolio companies or for our firm, I always end with “Make sure you do your homework and read up on the company!” I feel this is a friendly reminder, and therefore there should be no surprise when I ask the candidate what they know about where they are interviewing. Recently, I had a candidate turn this question around on me. She simply asked, “Tell me what you know about OpenView.” Like any passionate recruiter I proceeded to fill her in on the firm’s successes as well as why the open requisition was exciting, but then she cut me off: “I’m sorry,” she said, “I meant why do people want to work there?” Touché. Good question.
This is entirely different question than the one I was prepared to answer, and one every interviewer should have up their sleeve. What differentiates your company from all the others out there? In my case, answering the interviewee was very simple: I came to OpenView to work at a firm that was invested in the well-being of their portfolio companies as well as their employees. I came to be part of something bigger than just recruiting to make a placement, and I came here because every person I met during the interview process was passionate about what they did.
Working with hiring managers however, it becomes clear that not everyone has this answer prepared. When kicking off a search I always probe further into this, “Help me sell your company and this position to candidates, what makes you unique?” Here are some ideas to get your brain storming so you are better prepared when conducting an interview:
Why do you work there? Seems simple right? Wrong. You spend the majority of your week working – so really, what keeps you there? Is your work a challenge? Do you enjoy collaborating with your team? Is there upward mobility? Dig deep; you may surprise yourself as to why you are in your present position.
What is unique about your company’s corporate culture? This doesn’t mean you have a company softball team and a Christmas party. This means day to day, what makes the company stand out? It could be that all team members are asked to write a blog about their area of expertise, or that the CEO sits on the sales floor in the midst of everything. There must be something there to attract the talent you want- find out what it is.
Is your vision for me long term? Every candidate is thinking this, so go ahead and address it. This is a huge selling point to a prospective. People interviewing at your company want to know there is room for growth or career development. This is important because if the candidate is thinking big picture (which they should be), they will want to know that your company values their professional growth.
Take a second before your next interview and really brainstorm what you are doing in your seat. Think of the reasons you are passionate about your organization and try to leave that impression on your candidates. If nothing else, it is excellent PR and affirmation of why you love what you do.