The interview process has never been more of a two-way street than it is today. Companies searching to fill a new or vacant position put considerable time and often resources into identifying and distilling the talent, skills and attributes they are looking for in a candidate. Today’s candidates are doing the same when it comes to finding the best next step in their career. In the past few years, at Med Talent we have seen a not-so-subtle shift in what matters most to candidates. Knowing the deal makers and deal breakers for candidates is a vital piece of the search process that we bring to our clients to help them understand what it takes to not simply attract top talent but retain them.
Strong company culture and authentic communication of what it is. Company culture is not about foosball tables and yoga classes, those are perks. Company culture is the drum you beat, the elevator pitch that you give, the way management treats its people. Often, woven into a job description we see phrases like “must be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment.” Okay. Does that mean being able to complete a high level of work in a short amount of time? The ability to make decisions on the fly and then change quickly? As the hiring manager, you’re interviewing a candidate based primarily on the alignment of job description to resume and experience. Now, it’s time for you and the candidate to determine whether he or she is a good cultural fit. The ability to articulate and demonstrate company culture benefits both of you. For 65 percent of millennials, culture is more important than anything else, including salary and benefits. This group is looking for a meaningful workplace; one with a culture that aligns with their core values; and studies show that employees who embrace a company’s culture stay longer and are more loyal.
Option to work hybrid schedule. Among the many changes brought about by the global pandemic was the change in how and where we work. We have found that the majority of companies are going to a hybrid schedule. For those managers apprehensive about having employees working hybrid, setting parameters and expectations can go a long way. If an employee is not meeting those standards, then maybe they don’t have the right person in the job. When you have the right person in the job, a hybrid schedule can and does work. Certainly, it is something that needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. For an entry level person, being in the office could be the most beneficial for them and the company. With a more experienced person whose work does not need require them to be in the office on a daily basis, giving them the option can open up the candidate pool.
Opportunities for growth and upward mobility. This is not new, what is new is how companies should be interpreting it. The old way of thinking in an employers’ mind was growth and upward mobility had to be tied to a promotion or an increase in salary. The is not necessarily the case. One of primary reasons many candidates cite for looking for a new position is more growth. Giving an employee extra responsibility and training that helps them to develop a new skill set, these are the things that keep employees engaged and interested, and generally leads to lower turnover.
Organized and transparent interview process. Nothing turns a candidate off faster than not knowing what is going to be involved in the interview process, except laying it out only to have it change. Most candidates are employed and their time is valuable. Companies who continually change the schedule and add on interviews are doing themselves and the candidate a disservice. If additional interviews are because the candidate is being laddered up to more and more senior executives that can send a positive message, however lateral interviews or interviews with people from unrelated divisions, can send the opposite message leaving candidates wondering if there are doubts and questioning if they should continue the process. We have seen candidates remove themselves from a search either because they were turned off by the constant changes, or they were simultaneously interviewing and accepted a position with a company whose interview process was more streamlined and decisive.
Operationalized onboarding and training experience. Often, a candidate signs an offer and the hiring company goes dark. That 2-3 weeks from the time a candidate accepts the job to his or her first day is critical in keeping that new employee engaged and enthusiastic. This is not a grand gesture moment. Nothing more is needed than a check-in phone call, text or email that lets know you are excited and eager to have them join. Highly sought-after candidates are the ones employers don’t want to lose. We have seen many times during this transition period a former employer working up a counter offer to get them to stay. If a newly hired candidate has not heard from their new employer, this can raise doubts and he or she may have a change of mind.
Once the new employee starts, coming into a company and position that has an organized training experience ready to go is a welcome relief. The first three months for any candidate is tough, even if it’s a position similar to what they have done in the past. Everything is new and unfamiliar and coming into a company that recognizes that and has processes in place goes a long way in setting someone up for success.
Whether the company is large and established or smaller and a start-up, everything here applies. Being organized and thoughtful all the way through the interview process and beyond goes a long way.