Recruiting Rule #1: Never Bash the Competition
Note: This rule can apply to both recruiters and hiring managers alike.
If a candidate is talented, it’s likely he or she may be contacted frequently for job opportunities. If that is the case, once he or she begins interviewing with you, it’s also probable they will inquire about what differentiates your company from the competition.
This is a smart question from candidates. After all, they have both their current and long-term career opportunities to think about, and they want to be sure the company they are potentially joining is set up for success.
But recruiters, keep in mind — just as it is a red flag when a candidate speaks negatively about their current or past employers, the same is true of you bashing your company’s competition in an interview with a candidate.
It is never a good idea to base your value proposition around what your competition does poorly, especially if it’s hearsay.
For example, I would not recommend a response like:
- “Oh, how are we different from our competition, XYZ? Well, they work their employees 12-hour days regularly, their management team is weak, and the room for career growth is very limited.”
I would recommend emphasizing your company’s strengths instead:
- “Not only do we provide customers with a unique personalized solution, we pride ourselves on company culture. We emphasize balance between work and home life by providing laptops for employees to use from home and flexible PTO.”
When you speak poorly about your competition it gives the impression that you are possibly threatened by them. Don’t waste your time portraying other companies in a negative light. Instead, focus on the amazing positives and value that your company has to offer talented individuals who join your organization.