By Carrie S Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Vice President, People, Turning the Corner, LLC
“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.” These song lyrics from The King and I say it all when it comes to vetting candidates in the current job market. As Recruiters, Kendra and I often talk about interviews as a process of determining whether a hiring manager and candidate trust and like each other. It used to be that a candidate needed to build likability and trust during an interview to be considered a top candidate. But today, it is just as important for the employer to build likability and trust when hiring.
The Market has Shifted
The tables have turned and it is now a candidate’s market. In April, 2016 the unemployment rate in Boulder was 2.9%. Denver’s unemployment rate was only 3.3%. Unemployment is continuing to drop, and it is getting harder and harder for organizations and recruiters to compete for top talent. What this means for employers is that where as in the last few years you had the fortune of finding great candidates more easily, now you have to fight for and woo candidates to get them in your door and not your competitor’s.
Get Personal with Candidates
One way to connect with candidates on a more personal level is to get out of the office. Invite your top candidates for coffee. Being in a more cozy, non-work, setting helps candidates relax and open up about who they are and what they are seeking. I have found when I meet candidates at a coffee house or restaurant, I learn so much more about them than when I am sitting across from them at a conference table.
This investment of time and a few dollars can help you determine if a candidate is a personality and culture fit for your organization. As a recruiter and advocate for the clients I work for, I like to watch how they treat baristas or servers. I Watch how they interact with others and their body language as I talk and ask questions. A relaxed environment puts people at ease, and they tend to be more themselves than in a formal, professional setting.
Get out of The Office
Plus a coffee interview is a way to set yourself apart as an employer. A coffee date vs. a video or office interview shows that you want to build a connection with a candidate. We hire people we like and people we trust. Build your likability and trust factor by finding non-traditional ways to connect and really get to know candidates!