By Robert G. Epstein
It's a fact in the HR world that when you finally find a great candidate, they most likely have at least one offer on the table from another company. A candidate has done their part and convinced you that they would be a valuable member of your organization. Now it's your turn to sell, and prove to them that your company is a great place to work. There are some simple steps you can take to accomplish that goal.
Serve as an example.
Don't shy away from discussing your own career with the company. Tell your candidate about your own positive experiences with the employer, and draw similarities between your careers. Making a connection with the candidate will help them better understand the team they could be joining.
Give it to them straight.
Most job seekers have been through this process before. They know you'll brag about great benefits or the annual company picnic. Don't be afraid to be perfectly honest with some of the obstacles they might meet. If they won't be a manager in a year, tell them that. If there are some late nights and challenging projects, give them a heads up. You want to hire a professional who knows what's coming and is prepared to attack. Sidestepping important issues will only mean an unhappy employee down the road.
Get into the action.
Don't limit the interview to the four walls of your office. Give the candidate a tour of the building; let them sit in a staff meeting. Paint a realistic picture of how the team works and what everyone does on a day-to-day basis. The energy they see in your office can be a great selling point.
Consider their future.
How likely is advancement in your company? Discuss future opportunities that lay ahead. Allow the candidate to speak with other staff members who have stayed with the company a considerable length of time, advanced their careers and have grown within the company. You want them to see a possible future at your company, the potential for growth and promotions not only in terms of salary but also in terms of new responsibilities and continuing education.
Provide one-day mentors.
Find someone on staff that you think will relate well to the candidate. Maybe they went to the same school or are involved with the same community activity. Introduce them to someone who they can make a connection with on a personal as well as a professional level. It's also a good idea to arrange a meeting with a superior, someone who had similar ambitions earlier in their career. A good candidate will want mentors on staff that they can learn from.
Showcase appreciation among team members.
Everyone wants to be valued at work. Be sure that your candidate knows about your monthly employee awards program, or hears about a supervisor praising his team after a job well done. The idea of support and recognition in the workplace is a benefit that carries a lot of weight in the minds of today's workforce, and it's all too often forgotten in the rush of an interview.
These simple steps can prove to be invaluable selling points for your company. Showing a candidate real people, real places and a real future gives them something real to hold onto when making career decisions. A great candidate will have many offers, but they'll know a real opportunity when they see one. It's your job to show it to them.
Robert G. Epstein, CPA, is the President and CEO and one of the original founders of CareerBank.com. He is a certified public accountant with more than 15 years of experience in the accounting profession and accounting/finance career placement industry. Robert writes articles covering the accounting industry, career development and staffing. He has been interviewed by CNN.com, Reuters, Accounting Today, Business Finance Magazine, Practical Accountant and many other leading business publications and news services.