In today’s competitive labour market, finding the right people for the right job is especially difficult.
Given the shortage in workers, spotting any kind of talent is already difficult as is, so then establishing whether that individual fits the bill, aligns with company values, and is actually interested in the job, continue to make this process even more gruelling.
However, companies cannot resort to recruiting an individual just because they need the numbers.
Nolan Church, Co-Founder and CEO of Continuum and a former Recruiter at Google Access, tackled this in an interview with Business Insider earlier this week. During his career in recruitment, he also led the recruitment team at delivery service provider DoorDash, seeing the company grow from 50 to 800 employees.
Having spent so much time as a Recruiter, Mr Church noticed that aspiring employers must first be enticed into accepting the candidate for an interview, and that all starts from prior preparation. He proceeded to list five key things that candidates should do when preparing for an interview and that employers should look out for.
Mr Church said that the best perspective candidates can have is when they already have a good job, but are keen on joining a new industry.
In order for candidates to do this effectively, they need to reach out to stakeholders in the field they want to delve into, connect with them, and also build relationships with them.
“You should always be poking your head over the fence, seeing what’s out there and building relationships with others you’d like to work with. You should always be networking,” Mr Church said about candidates.
To employers, this indicates that the candidate was not having any trouble in his current job, and is only searching for pastures new. Candidates who have a stable job might need some convincing, but if they reach out to the employer on their own, then it is a sign that are genuinely keen on the role.
Drawing from his experience at DoorDash, Mr Church recalled how once, a candidate was so interested in a job that he emailed the CEO “21 days in a row, a different email each time”. In each email he discussed why he wanted to work for the company and why he wanted to be interviewed.
Mr Church explained that this approach is “potentially risky”, yet personally he also thought that the recruitment team must find a way to talk to them.
“I always advice not to be too afraid of cold outreach. If you’re really interested in a company, get in touch with those you want to work with, email the CEO, the Head of Talent, or the Hiring Manger, and let them know why you’re the right person for the job,” he added.
Employers might find this approach annoying or intrusive, but it is also a way for them to tell that a candidate is really up for the job and keen to work at the organisation.
Candidates tend to look for a generic list of questions to ask interviewers at the end of the interview.
However, Mr Church pointed out that it is “not about preparing a list of questions, it’s about more specific preparation”.
Employers should seek candidates who have taken the time to go through the company’s website and read up on its values, vision, and mission statement.
“To take it a step further, a lot of Founders these days are on a podcast or are online in some way. I think it’s amazing when candidates can come in and say, ‘I was listening to your Founder say [fill in the blank]’ and then give specific examples of what they heard,” Mr Church highlighted.
To employers, this means that candidates have done their research, and genuinely see the position as an opportunity to join a company whose values align with their own, rather than as another organisation in a checklist of potential sources of income.
Mr Church added that candidates who have some stories prepared for the interview are ones that tend to pique interest in employers.
“One [of the stories] should definitely be around a successful project they have completed and their role within that project,” he said.
Another potential stories from candidates that employers should look out for is a career highlight. Candidates need to explore what they have done well, whatever the situation.
Lastly, Mr Church said that candidates should also share any lessons they have learnt throughout their career. This should be a time when the candidate received difficult and constructive feedback that had an impact on them. “Explain how you processed it, and ultimately how it made you a better employee,” he added.
“By telling stories, interviewees are able to show their deep inner fire, their motivation, and what drives them most. It also makes the interview more conversational and more engaging for both parties – I’ve never seen it backfire,” Mr Church continued.
“Once when I was interviewing someone for a sales role at DoorDash, the candidate said they’d gone to 10 different restaurants that didn’t offer the DoorDash service and asked them, why not?” Mr Church said.
He pointed out that the candidate brought forward those answers to the interview, and also proposed some solutions on how to get the establishments on board.
“That candidate stood out to us; it was as if they had done the job already before the interview. We ended up hiring them within 24 hours,” Mr Church explained.
He said that it may seem as if the candidate is selling themselves this way, but at the end of the day, this is what employers are looking for.
Continuum Co-Founder and CEO Nolan Church / LinkedIn
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