Consider this all-too-common common scenario: you’ve identified the ideal candidate for a role you desperately need to fill. They’ve aced the interview, they have all the right skills, and you’re able to match their salary expectations. You make the offer . . . and they turn you down. What happened? There are many reasons outside your control why a potential hire might say no to a job offer — a higher offer from another company, an unexpected development in their personal life — but a lot of the time, it’s because you didn’t try to convince them why they should work for your company. You didn’t make the sale.
Convincing a potential recruit to come work for your company takes more than a salary and a job description. If they’re worth hiring, they have their pick of places to work, so it’s up to you to show them that your company is the best one for them. The tricky part is knowing what to do. How do you sell your company? And what is it that you’re really selling?
Embrace your inner salesperson
People usually frown at the word “sales.” It brings to mind snake oil, sleazy people, or hustlers that pull one over on you. However, use the word “advisor” or “consultant,” and your mindset tends to change. Your financial advisor sells you portfolio advice, but you don’t think of them as a salesperson. You trust them, because they’re an expert, and you believe they know what they’re talking about.
You should think of yourself as similarly offering helpful advice. If a candidate is interviewing for a job, it typically means they’re looking for something they’re not getting where they currently work. Obviously, they want a higher salary or more responsibility. You can take it as a given. But they also want to work at a place that feels right for them. If you can provide that, you’re giving them something they need. You both win.
All job interviews are two-way conversations. They’re trying to learn more about you just as much as you’re trying to learn about them. The candidate is depending on you for that information because you’re the expert. Advise them.
Sell your conviction
Go back to when you were hired. During your own interview you had to sell yourself. You needed to convince the hiring manager that you were worth hiring and to take a chance on someone like you. You had conviction when someone asked, “Why should I hire you?” You believed in yourself and you were able to convey what set you apart from everyone else. And it worked.
Now that you’re the hiring interviewer, the shoe is on the other foot, but the situation hasn’t really changed. This time the question is, “Why should I work here?” (Even if the candidate doesn’t come out and say it in those exact words, that’s what they really want to know.) The right answer is still the one that’s delivered with conviction. You yourself need to believe your company’s a great place to work.
Close the deal
You want people to work for you and work for your company. Start at the beginning: why do you actually work there? Why did you take the job in the first place? If I asked you these questions, you would answer with some conviction and start “selling” me all the great offerings your company has. If you love where you work, then persuading hires why your company is the right fit should come naturally.
Keep these two points in mind the next time you’re discussing your company during and interview, and the answers will come naturally:
- Know what makes your company and job DIFFERENT. Different is attractive. No one is the “best.” There are no set rules that govern this decision, but you can be different. So what makes your company stand out? Is it the tech, the community, the collaboration, or the free Uber rides? Have this answer ready to go when you’re asked.
- Think of yourself as advising someone in their career decision. Understand what they need and talk to them about how your company can fill those needs and help them grow. Remember: you’re guiding, not selling.
Assuming a candidate already wants to work at your company is a mistake you can’t afford to make. Use the interview to sell them on your company. Enthusiasm is contagious, so win them over, and you’ll have someone as excited to work there as you are.