Recruiting is a Two-Way Street

As the economy improves, and companies increase their hiring activity, now is a good time to review your recruiting process. Most companies focus on identifying strong candidates and then assessing them through the interview process.  While these are critical elements of the process, don't forget that the best candidates will also be evaluating the company and the opportunity and may have hard questions for you. The most desirable candidates are becoming more receptive to exploring new career opportunities.  After years of keeping their heads down and surviving the recession, many are ready for a change.  It is likely that they will have several options and will be very selective.  During the interview process, they will want to learn more about issues including: -          Opportunities for career advancement -          Incentive compensation based on their performance, or an equity stake in private-equity backed ventures -          Work-life balance and the ability to work remotely on occasion -          Culture fit and the overall work environment -          The entire benefits package, with a focus on retirement benefits (401-K), vacation, and family health care coverage In addition to addressing these issues at some point during the process, what else can you do to "sell" your opportunity to a strong candidate?   Here are a few ideas to consider: -          Make sure there is always time for the candidate to ask questions throughout the process.  Listen for issues that are truly important to the candidate. -          Take the candidate on a tour of the offices and facility, and introduce them to key employees along the way. -          Schedule an informal lunch with several members of the management team, or a group of peers.  The hiring manager could also schedule some one-on-one time off-site. -          Invite a prospective hire to attend a staff meeting, sales meeting, or other relevant company event. -          Arrange a time for the President or CEO to share the vision of the organization. -          Try to learn as much as you can about other opportunities the candidate is exploring so that you can address any obstacles or competitive threats. -          Have the hiring manager make the verbal offer, followed by a written offer. -          Have other senior executives, or the CEO, follow-up with a phone call encouraging them to accept. In addition to "selling" the opportunity, you will learn a lot more about the candidate and the potential for a long term fit.  You may also discover some issues that are important to your current management team that will help you retain your best talent.