The One Question Top Talent Wants Your Company to Answer

February 4, 2015

It’s become pretty clear at this point that we will never run out of new interview questions. Seldom does a visit to LinkedIn, Inc, Forbes, etc. go by without finding “The NEW must-ask questions to hire top talent” or the “5 tricks you have to know NOW to hire a rockstar.” Of course, there’s a reason these articles exist — they are filling an insatiable demand. As recruiters and hiring managers, we each have our own standard, traditional, go-to questions, but we’re always on the look out for new ones, including maybe a few curve balls to throw candidates to see how they can adapt (though there are productive and unproductive ways to do that — don’t even get me started on the “how many windows are in New York City” kinds of questions).

The point is, we spend quite a bit of time prepping for interviews when it comes to the questions we’ll ask candidates. And we expect thoughtful, near perfect answers for every single one, because we assume candidates going through the interview process should be doing their homework. Why, then, are we not holding ourselves up to that same standard?

Pitching Top Candidates: The One Interview Question You Have to Ask Answer

Back in October, Glassdoor ran a survey aimed at figuring out what candidates are really looking for during their interview process. An overwhelming 89 percent of people surveyed responded that they found employee perspective valuable during the process, particularly “details on what makes the company an attractive place to work.”

I think a lot of companies have interpreted stats like this as a call to ramp-up their career pages and plaster smiling employee faces all over their site. But that type of reaction is missing something key. Remember, when you bring a candidate in for an onsite interview, it’s not just you interviewing the candidate. Good candidates will be interviewing you to make sure the role and your company is a fit on their end, too. Yes, they’ll ask you what the typical day looks like in the role. They’ll touch on culture just like every candidate does now. Hopefully, they’ll even ask you some questions you haven’t thought of before. But in addition to these questions, they are also going to be wondering, from a current employee’s perspective, what makes your company a great place to work — and what, specifically, makes it a better place than the competition.

Now that we’ve brought things into perspective, I give you the one question you need to make sure you answer in interviews, even if candidates don’t openly ask it:

“What about this company makes you continue to work here?”

I know — it seems like an easy question. But stop to think about it. What about your current job or your company makes you get up and go to work every day? What about it is different from other jobs you’ve had in the past? When attempting to hire the very best candidates, you should be able to come up with something better than, “Well, we’re a fun startup and our stocked kitchen is awesome,” or, “The culture is really great.” Your answer to this question can have a huge influence on the right candidates.

If you’re skeptical, I have a great example for you — my own interview process here at OpenView. When I interviewed with my now colleagues I asked four different people this very question. Every one of them came up with a different answer, but there was a common thread in their responses that I had been hoping for, and it ended up being what made me walk out my interview knowing that this was the best possible decision for my career. The answers didn’t just make me think this could be a great job, they made me sure of it.

There is no such thing as a perfect interview system. Every candidate and every hiring manager is different, and because of that every interview is going to be different (and that’s a good thing!). The goal of proactively answering this question for every candidate is to volunteer information that we know candidates want to hear but might not always be able to ask. It’s your time to sell, so go ahead and shed some light on why your company is the one that the perfect candidate should be working for.

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Photo by: kris krüg

Recruiter, Sales & Marketing

<strong>Katelyn Lagarde</strong> is a recruiter at <a href="">CloudHealth</a>. She was previously a Talent Specialist at OpenView.