When the Boss is Interviewed: What Recruits Look for in Management

By Yuriy Boykiv | Small Business

Building a successful company starts with securing top talent. The most promising candidates already know this, and they'll show up ready to put your company to the test.

It's common for leaders to falsely believe they hold all the power in the interview dynamic. You're the one extending a potential job offer, after all. But you're also selling your company to an attractive candidate who likely has other options.

The candidate is interviewing with you for a reason. He has impressive credentials on paper, and you need to determine whether it's a good fit. But going into an interview with inflated confidence and inadequate planning could trump your chances of wowing your ideal candidate--and make the recruiting process much more stressful.

Building a successful company starts with securing top talent. The most promising candidates already know this, and they'll show up ready to put your company to the test.

Prepping to Win Over Top Talent

An interview should be a two-way conversation between individuals who are interested in exploring a professional relationship. Good candidates usually come to an interview with questions. The best ones will come with questions that are thoughtful and bold.

Here are some you should be prepared to answer:

1. What happened to the previous person in this position? How you tell this story--the details you provide and the tone you take--will speak volumes about you and your company. Whatever the story, be clear and precise with your narrative.

2. What is your short- or long-term vision for the company? Interviewees are taking a gamble on your company, so they need to know where it's headed to determine whether it's a wise investment. Any worthy candidate would be wary of working for a leader who hasn't thought about or can't articulate his goals.

3. What do you see as the career path for this role? Asking this question shows that candidates are ambitious and in it for the long haul. Carve out a clear, enticing career trajectory that will be attractive to interviewees.

4. What keeps you up at night? This question is rare, but it shows up in different forms. What they're really asking about are the challenges. Without giving away confidential information, think of a response that's authentic and interesting enough to pique their interest.

Having intelligent responses to these questions will make you and your company more attractive to potential employees. But to make sure the candidate is a perfect fit, you have to provide key information in every interview you conduct.

When interviewing a potential team member, I always cover these four areas:

1. Company history: We are a young and unique agency, and we want to make sure the passion that went into building the company comes through during the interview.

2. Clear expectations for the role: Make sure it's a good match early in the conversation by setting expectations and gauging reactions.

3. Company culture: At the end of the day, you're also looking for team chemistry. You need people who will work well in your environment. Invite other team members to sit in on the interview, and don't forget to describe your company culture.

4. Long-term goals: Candidates need to know your plans for the company. You want employees who are ready and able to accomplish your goals, so make sure you communicate them in the interview phase.

If you've done your job in preparing for the interview and providing candidates with vital information, the right fit will want to join your team. Make sure the candidate knows exactly what he's getting into before extending an offer. Employees who come in with unrealistic expectations usually don't last long and will waste the valuable time you invested in recruiting and training.

You also don't want to lose an amazing candidate because he asked questions you didn't expect. Assembling a strong team is the best thing you can do for your business. Take the time to adequately prepare for the interview, and you'll win over the best and brightest.

This article was co-authored by Luba Tolkachyov. Luba is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Findr Group, a full-service advertising agency that helps brands connect with consumers based on their culture.

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