We've talked about employer branding in general and in the context of interviews before. But today, I want to talk about the difference between just demonstrating it and blowing the doors off. When you really want to impress a candidate with your employer branding, you need to aim for WOW.
So, we are talking going above and beyond a little bit. Maybe this is a super high profile executive or just a role you need to fill with the exact right candidate.
No matter what it is, if you want prospective employees to be wowed, you'll need to take it up a notch.
How To WOW In Interviews
Start At The Beginning
When you think about winning someone over or making a favorable impression, start from your very first interaction. Write a compelling job ad that makes candidates feel like they have to apply. Make your application process a breeze to complete. Automate as much as you can so candidates know what is going on and don't feel they are in the dark.
Make sure you communicate often and appropriately. When you want to schedule interviews, the personal touch of a phone call makes a favorable impression, but a well crafted and tailored to each candidate email still conveys interest.
Treat candidates as individuals – don't send out a mass email to everyone. Use their name and make sure your enthusiasm comes shining through.
Be considerate of a candidate's time, their confidentiality and their needs. If you can focus as much on what they want and need as your company's desires, you'll have hit the jackpot.
Try to be accommodating with interview schedules. Remember the best candidates are employed, so don't make them have to commit to an hours-long interview in the middle of their workday if possible. I always start with a quick phone interview – just to make sure we are on the same page and to find out if they can do the job.
Later you can schedule the follow-up meetings. Consider scheduling after hours if necessary.
If a candidate needs to travel for an interview, try to handle the arrangements. Rather than a flurry of back and forth e-mails or calls about what they should book or how much to spend, just take care of it. You won't have to worry about reimbursing the candidate and you'll look professional.
Try to book candidates with plenty of time to relax and refresh. If possible, let them come in the night before so they can get to their hotel and have some down time. Book them into nice accommodations that are quiet and restful.
Offer to schedule a car or have a key employee pick them up instead of a rental if they'd rather.
The Soft Touches
Nothing makes someone feel more welcome than when another person thinks of their needs. I would have a fruit or snack basket available at their arrival. Put together a packet of information on your town, sights, great places to eat and information about your company. If they have a family that would be relocating, consider bringing them as well.
Arrange an informal get-together, meal or coffee with some key employees. You don't want this to be another interview, it should be about showing off your culture and allow the candidate to get a feel for your employees.
If you've found out some of their interests, you could arrange something along those lines. It could be a tour of a local landmark, a sporting or entertainment event or anything that demonstrates how excited you are to have them around.
The Actual Interview
Be on time! This is my number one suggestion. You set a bad tone if you make them wait. Next, be prepared. Have refreshments available, give the candidate a quiet place to prepare before you meet. You could even break the ice with a tour of your facilities and a brief introduction to key employees.
Make sure you are familiar with their resume and background. Have questions prepared that demonstrate you have paid attention. Try to anticipate anything they will have questions on (relocation, salary and overall compensation, employee benefits, etc.) and have documentation available for them to take with to review.
Demonstrate your enthusiasm. You should truly be excited about getting to know them. Go beyond the standard interview questions and be inquisitive.
Make sure you can answer any questions they have.
Ending And Follow Up
Thank the candidate for their time and reiterate how much you have enjoyed getting to know more about them. Ask if there is anything else they need. Make sure you lay out the next steps and when they should hear from you.
Walk the candidate to the door or their car.
I'd recommend a quick email expressing again how much you enjoyed your conversation and call out some unique, key details they shared. If you needed to follow up on anything, this is the time to provide the information.
Stick to what you promise. If you say they will hear from you in a week, hit that timeline.
If you work on WOWing your prospective candidates with your employer branding, your interviews are sure to be more successful.