How to sell your company at interview

If your business wants to hire the best people, it needs to convince those people that it is the best business that they could possibly work for.

As an employer, you therefore need to understand how you can sell your job, the team and the company itself to prospective employees at interview. This means focusing as much on the branding of the organisation itself as you would on its products and services.

When you sell a job to prospective employees, you are effectively selling the company’s brand promise. This includes the functional aspects of the brand (“We pay well”) as well as the intangible aspects (We’re passionate about our work”).

The best candidates are vetting their potential employers as much as the employers are vetting them.

Know your brand

In an increasingly brand-conscious world, the strongest candidates are more likely than ever to base a job acceptance or rejection on the kudos of a company’s brand or reputation.

The way that a company positions itself, and manages that positioning, is therefore critical to recruitment success.

Brands act as psychological triggers to candidates of every level.Graduates, in particular, target strong employer brands. They believe that a company with a great reputation is more likely to provide good training and career development.

If your company’s brand identity lags behind the competition, you will have to be more imaginative in the way that you sell your company. So when you speak to candidates, pay more attention to the nature of the role, the dynamism of the team, or the clearly defined career path that you can offer.

There are practical steps that you can take to enhance the reputation of your company.For example, submitting your company for industry awards can help to strengthen your brand presence – particularly if it wins one!

Know your customer

When you are hiring, it is essential that you gain a clear understanding of the needs of your‘customer’ – whether that is the candidate, your internal client or an external recruitment consultancy. You also need to have a good picture of what your competition is offering. Without this information, it is extremely difficult to know how to position your company and its unique attributes.

Make sure that you ask candidates where else they are interviewing – and what stage they are at. This will enable you to identify your competition and understand what timescales you are working to. It will also give you a good idea of how the candidate regards themselves in terms of their status as well as how other organisations perceive them.

Once you know this, you will get a better understanding of the elements of your own vacancy and organisation that you need to sell. For example, if you’re up against a blue-chip company, you may need to increase the starting salary that you are offering.

Talking to the candidate may also help you to ascertain whether a candidate’s job search is consistent, or whether they are ‘blanket bombing’ the market.

Understanding your candidate’s motives for a seeking a new job is one of the most important things you can learn from the interview process. It will enable you to sell your company to them and it will go a long way towards determining whether or not the candidate is right for the role and the business.

Know that talent sells

Businesses that are perceived as ‘employers of choice’ by strong candidates create a self-fulfilling promise. The best talent always goes to them, because that’s where the best talent is.

In order to achieve this status, you need to have the right people in the first place, however. So make sure you understand what the people you want require and offer it to them.

Graduates are not shy about asking companies what they can do for them. Therefore the onus on the interviewer to sell their organisation has never been so strong.