In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to go out of your way to recruit new talent as your business grows or when you have holes to fill. Instead, you’d have a long list of job candidates who have already approached you, and you just need to pick the best ones without paying a fortune. However, that takes time and effort.
In the short run, when interviewing job candidates (both internal and external), try to assess their career goals. Naturally, you want someone who is qualified to do the job at hand. But you probably also want someone who will be able — and willing — to take on more responsibility down the road to keep your “talent pipeline” flowing.
Therefore, it’s often smart to emphasize early in the recruiting interview process the non-monetary “raise” the successful job candidate could receive. Elements include an increase in responsibility, assuming the candidate demonstrates that he or she can handle it, the opportunity to receive formal training and informal mentoring, and a clear path towards career growth.
An ambitious job seeker who values the intangible benefits described above may welcome the chance to focus first on a discussion of job growth before talking about compensation. If the position you’re hiring for includes greater responsibility in the future, highlight that fact. A fair question to ask him or her would be, “Are you confident you’re up to handling this higher level of responsibility, and if so, why?”
Have a Clear, Written Job Description
You may know details regarding the position inside and out, but don’t rely on an oral job description. Before opening the door to applicants, you need to put it in writing. This assures applicants that you have a clear understanding of your company’s need. It also demonstrates that you have definite expectations and you know what you’re looking for, rather than improvising. Many job seekers place a high priority on working for an organization with a high level of organization.
The job description should outline:
- Qualifications the candidate will need to possess,
- Daily duties and larger responsibilities,
- Short- and long-term expectations of the individual filling the position, and
- A description of your standards. For example, what does “excellence” look like, and where is the boundary between acceptable and unacceptable performance?
While considering the qualifications, duties and other details to include in the job description, it might be a good idea to talk to someone on your staff who has held the same position, assuming it’s not new. Also speak with people who will work closely with the new hire. They may have valuable input. For example, let’s say you’re hiring a mid-level manager to replace someone who has moved on. Previously, you insisted on a master’s degree as a qualification for the job. But those who worked with the last manager might see that the additional education was a poor substitute for prior experience as a manager. That would be helpful information.
In addition to looking for opportunities for growth and strong management practices, job candidates may look at the overall work climate. If employees love being part of your company, chances are they have told their friends — which is an excellent source of potential recruits. But, before you talk about compensation, discuss the culture and values that make your firm a desirable place to work.
For example, if you have a low turnover rate, that speaks volumes and is worthy of noting in interviews. When it comes to work-life balance and vacation policies, those too may be of greater immediate concern to a job candidate than the starting salary. Also important is the frequency and manner in which performance reviews are conducted. A job candidate may be more confident and less focused on pay in the short run if he or she knows that performance is reviewed regularly.
Don’t underestimate the power of establishing personal rapport and conveying trustworthiness during the recruiting screening process. Depending on the nature of the position, the applicant’s attitude and personality can be an important indicator of future success and a job candidate’s willingness to accept a new opportunity.
After meeting many applicants you may be suffering from interview fatigue. But your ability to convey warmth, optimism, enthusiasm and personal interest in individual candidates will be crucial to the person’s level of interest in the job. The greater the interest he or she has, the less critical the initial compensation package.
Make No Mistake
Of course, pay will always be an important part of the equation, and you must respect a job applicant’s natural ambition to achieve financial security. But, if you present a job opportunity holistically, including the possibility of a strong future, you’re more likely to hire quality candidates who won’t always have a roving eye for a little better compensation.