Companies Have to 'Sell' Their Job Opportunity

Susan Hall
Slide Show

Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers

10 tips to help you engage job candidates and make the right hire.

I've written before that behavioral interviewing is basically storytelling. It's a skill you need to refine, and this webinar at careerealism.com goes into detail about that.


Basically behavioral interview questions begin, "Tell me about a time ..." and you go from there. You tell about a time when you led a squabbling team or ditched some poorly-thought-out plan or whatever. You tell about what you learned and why you're so much smarter today because of it.


After I wrote the post, "What Do You Bring to the Table?" a representative of Silicon Valley HR outsourcing firm TriNet sent me an email suggesting an interview on what the employer brings to the table. Wrote PR rep Kelly Kramer:

TriNet ... is finding that top performers in tech are looking for more than perks. They want a long-lasting fit - a culture where they can grow professionally and contribute directly to overall business goals. ... In order to attract top performers, companies do not need to offer a boardroom that doubles as a basketball court, but rather complete transparency in the skills and knowledge they are looking for, what the company culture is like, and why the company is hiring.

I accepted that interview pitch and probably will publish it next week. But her pitch illustrates that the employer has to tell its story, too - and make the sale.


A post on the blog of Atlanta tech recruiters Agile offers a fine example of this. It seems an IT job candidate went to an interview, but then received a counter-offer from his own employer and decided to stay put. The hiring manager at the client company was disappointed, thinking this candidate was a perfect fit for the position, and decided to send the candidate a letter. The names have been changed, but in essence, this is it:



I can't say that I am not disappointed, but I do understand that everyone has their own circumstances and must do what's in their own best interest. I will say this, my circumstances were very similar to yours when I made the decision to leave my last company to be a part of Acme Enterprises. I was working for a very successful company, I was well respected, making a huge business impact, big salary plus bonuses, office with a view, great people, etc. But there were several things that, regardless of my compensation and my environment, were not going to change. I was the biggest fish in the pond. I had no peers, and no potential to really learn from others. I found myself implementing the same technologiestechniquespatterns-occasionally introducing something new, but no peer validation that these were great decisions and implementations.


I can honestly say that I have learned more in the last 12-18 months through the process of designing this platform from the ground up than I have in the last 5-10 years working on legacy technology and enhancing existing platforms. Another factor for me was the "Acme Enterprise" opportunity itself. At my previous company, I could begin to see the end of the runway from a technology roadmap perspective. I spent several years getting them on the right path and putting the right pieces in place which in my opinion covered about 75% of the "runway". The remaining 25% would be spent making minor tweaks, maybe integrating a few new technologies here and there. I could see that final 25% dragging out for quite a while and I could see myself getting complacent-which can be very dangerous from a technology career standpoint.


Acme Enterprise, on the other hand, was a blank slate, with easily 6-10 years of runway. We have been working on the core platform and client for about a year and a half and have only begun to scratch the surface. As we present this to future customers, we learn more about the business potential and the opportunities, and the runway keeps increasing-which is very exciting!


The last factor for me was the core competency and the attitude of the team itself. Every member of this team is a winner. Each one of us has been successful in the past and this company will be no exception.


Sounds like you have made your final decision, but if there is anything else you would like to discuss before completely closing the door, let me know. If this is the end of the road, I wish you the best.

That's storytelling at its best. Spell out what your company offers. Try to get inside the candidate's head. Sell the opportunity.


You'll have to read the blog post to find out whether it worked, though.

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