Enterprise technology: interview – and actually HIRE – an ‘A’ player candidate (Sales, SE, CSM, or PS)


You invest in recruiters, advertising, Linkedin, Indeed, and a talent acquisition team.
You discover the elusive and sought after ‘A’ player, capture her interest, but then lose her to your competitor. 

What happened?
 
Perhaps a hiring manager’s charisma and his initial rapport with your candidate is not enough in today’s market?
Instead, treat the Interview process likes a sales campaign, starting with a comprehensive Candidate Discovery Session. ​
This is important because candidates have so many choices, and interview cycles can include several meetings over a 3+- week period. Candidates may lose sight of why they were originally interested in your company and role. This is especially true if their sense of rapport with your employment brand dissipates because the hiring manager is traveling or becomes too removed from the remaining candidate evaluation steps. 
 A point person needs to be assigned to owning the candidate evaluation/selling process. It is typically somebody from talent acquisition or the hiring manager. 


 
 This point person needs to identify and document the following items (select items will be more relevant than others, depending on the position, i.e., Sales vs. Sales Engineering vs. PS vs. CSM)​ 
 Ask your candidate what their ideal career opportunity would look like:
-Responsibilities-Assigned metrics -Solution offerings-Company culture-Hunting vs. farming-Style of his ideal leader-Compensation-Travel tolerance-Career growth-Investment in continuous education-Marketing support-POC responsibilities-Renewal responsibilities-Specific technologies they enjoy-Benefits-Post sale client implementation, training, and on-boarding responsibilities-Leadership aspirations: what, when, player coach, etc.?-Current or future location preferences-Desire to establish or work partners-Preference to twenty $50k deals per year, or two $500k deals per year?-Desire to work from home versus an office?-Tolerance for prospecting her own leads?
Ask about her most satisfying career experience in the past-When?-Why?-Probe about how this answer may differ from her answer to her above ideal career opportunity (the inconsistencies may be very informative!) 
 Document what you have learned and share with the candidate. Gain agreement with the candidate that your document best reflects their hot buttons.
Share the document with the interviewing team. Make sure the interviewers understand it is a mutual selling process with top candidates. Interviewers should be responsible for addressing the candidate’s documented hot buttons. Ideally your point person will delegate select candidate hot buttons to each interviewer. This will make the process less cumbersome and enjoyable for the interviewer and candidate. 
 Your point person also needs to be responsible for periodic candidate check-ins to see how the candidate perceives what she is learning compares to her documented ideal career opportunity, and how it does not.
Regroup with the interviewing team to ensure remaining interviews reinforce alignment and provide the candidate with information about your company and this role that best address his/her needs.
At the end of the interview process (like a sales campaign) it should be a lot easier to gain agreement with your candidate that your company is best for their career interests. However, this process will also inform you much earlier if the candidate is not likely to accept your offer, and more candidate sourcing is required. 
 Miscellaneous but important suggestions(too much) “Time kills all deals”. Aim to have your evaluation process be no more than three weeks. Four is bordering on too many. At five weeks you are gambling away your investment in time, resources, and candidate.
Assign unique topics of inquiry to each interviewer: nothing frustrates an ‘A’ player more than being asked the same questions from one interviewer to another. Simply chunk out the topics to each interviewer, prospecting vs. deal management vs. pipeline management vs. industry expertise vs. POC’s etc.
 
 This high touch, customized approach to hiring ‘A’ players will result in:Converting ‘A’ candidates to employeesBetter candidate experiences and improved word of month about your employment brandEarned candidate referrals to other ‘A’ players 

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