Courting the Superstar Candidate

Relationship Building During the Interview

Once you’ve laid the proper groundwork prior to your face-to-face meeting, your next focus is to keep the momentum going with a great interview. It’s a chance for you to sell the candidate on the company, the position, and the community (if it’s a relocation). But beware – the psychology of interviewing can get very complicated. Keep it simple and remember that your most important task is to continue “courting” the candidate and sell him or her on the opportunity to work for your company.

“Sell” the Company

Candidates often make decisions based on emotions and then defend them with logic. Think back to the last time you interviewed for a position. What information was most important to you? During the meeting, be candid and offer information that will help the candidate feel good about the position. It is also vital to allow the candidate equal time to ask questions that are important to them and to address related issues that may affect their spouse and family.

Take the time to think through the questions you are most likely to be asked during the interview. Be prepared to answer these following 10 most commonly asked questions:

  1. Why is the position open, how long has it been open, and why haven’t you filled it until now?
  2. How would you describe the company’s stability; are you for sale or reorganizing?
  3. What is the hot news on the street about your company, both positive and negative?
  4. How would you describe the corporate culture and/or political landscape here?
  5. Why do you like working here and where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years?
  6. Describe your background, interests and management style.
  7. What is the greatest challenge you expect the new candidate will face in this job?
  8. What are the growth options in this job? Can you share any past promotional success stories?
  9. How do you feel about the interviewee as a candidate based on their resume and this interview?
  10. Where do we go from here and how quickly do you expect to make a decision/offer?

Be honest and straightforward when responding to any of these questions. If there has been negative press surrounding your company, address it head-on instead of sweeping it under the rug. If you are not feeling as excited about the candidate as you thought you would be, don’t string them along and make them think they are currently your top choice. You should also have a strong timeline in place for the next steps – ideally you want to move quickly or candidates may accept other opportunities while you’re still dragging your feet, but they will be more likely to be patient if they know when to expect to hear from you.

Behavioral Interviewing Techniques

After you’ve done your best to “sell” the company to the candidate, now it’s their turn to “sell” themselves to you. This is beyond the scope of this article, but be sure to check out our article on Techniques for Behavior-Based Interviewing to determine which candidate is the best fit for the job.

3. Relationship Building After the Interview

Making a job change is a complex decision, made even more complicated when it affects a spouse, in-laws, children, grandparents and close friends. After the interview phase is complete, don’t forget to leave a lasting, positive impression on each candidate. The better they feel about the job, the company, the position and you, the easier the decision will be for them. Below is a post-interview relationship-building checklist you can use to solidify your relationship with each candidate after the interview.

  1. If relocation is required, invite the spouse to visit the local area during the final interview, or immediately following, in order to get them excited about the move before asking a candidate to accept an offer. Offer two tickets to a sporting event, play or a musical so the trip has a break for fun, too.
  2. Take the candidate and spouse out for dinner with the hiring authority and spouse and another couple from the company.
  3. Are there any employees who grew up in the same area as this candidate, went to the same college, or previously worked for a same past company as this candidate? If so, try to work this employee into the interview process.
  4. Send a follow-up email or overnight express letter immediately after the interview (or after each interview, depending on the complexity of your hiring process). Thank them for their time, then outline how things went and your planned intentions and next steps. Make sure to personalize this, rather than having a stock letter into which you insert their name. (Most of the letter can be pre-drafted, so long as you make sure to include a personal touch.)
  5. If you can’t arrange to pay any interview expenses upfront, then reimburse candidates immediately! Unless, of course, you want to make your company look bad? Then make a candidate pay for his own interview expenses and make him wait for the reimbursement.

If you follow the principles of building the relationship with prospective employees before, during, and after the interview, you will be able to win over your Superstar Candidate!

What does your workplace DNA look like? Let us know in the comments, then share this article with your network of culturally savvy (or not-so-savvy) executives.