If you’ve ever read anything about goal-setting, you’ll know that experts always advocate envisioning—with crystal clarity—the desired end result.
The same sort of practice can help you hire candidates who fit well with your company’s culture. Because they don’t yet know enough about your company to paint their own picture of what it would be like to work there, you need to do it for them.
If you do a good job of showing candidates what it’s really like to work at your company, they will be able to make a highly informed decision about whether or not they would enjoy working there. This is good for them and good for you as it increases job satisfaction and reduces preventable turnover.
Here’s what I recommend you tell candidates, regardless of whether they explicitly request this information:
- Why people choose to work for your company. The reasons could include compensation, career growth opportunities, learning, culture, or others. Spend some time really thinking about this one—the official party line on your company’s strengths may not actually be the true reason people decide to come to work for you.
- Why people choose to work for you personally. Do you have a strong record of coaching and training your people? Assembling highly effective teams? Promoting employees to bigger and better jobs? Having their backs and fighting for better compensation for them? Current and former direct reports may be able to provide some insights here.
- The level of authority and autonomy employees have. This includes the ability to make and execute their own strategy, allocate resources, hire and fire employees, and spend reasonable amounts of money without having to get prior approval from others.
- Your company’s compensation philosophy, along with the amount of money the person is most likely to earn in years one, two and three. Provide real-life numbers, not improbable best-case scenarios.
- Career growth opportunities. Some companies—because of size, entrenched higher-ups, or rules (implicit or explicit) about formal stepping-stones—offer few opportunities for advancement, or very slow paths up the career ladder. If this is the case at your company, be honest about likely promotions and timing without being overly negative. If, on the other hand, you offer tremendous opportunities for rapid advancement, shout it from the rooftops!
Obviously, there may be other areas you wish to cover with promising candidates; the above is a suggested minimum. The more they know about your company before accepting your offer, the better.
And don’t worry about scaring people away. Only the wrong people will be deterred—the ones who wouldn’t have worked out for you anyway.