“It just wasn’t a good fit.”
How many times had we heard that of a new employee who did not work out? It is extremely frustrating and yet it makes sense. In the interview process both the company and the candidate are on their best behavior and are trying to sell each other. On top of that, a normal interview process is only a couple of hours long, leaving both the employer and candidate with limited information from which to make their decision. Is it any wonder that sometimes it is not a good fit?
We were interviewing for a key role in our organization, but we knew there was a lot of work needing to be done in this position. As we went through that interview process, we were extremely transparent. As in 100% brutally honest. This position needed someone who wanted to do turn-around type of work, and it would be difficult. Essentially, we were trying to scare off candidates from this role. We knew we would rather wait to find the right person, than start this process over if someone did not work out. When we finished attempting to scare off our preferred candidate we asked, “How does that sound?” The response was, “It sounds great!” That candidate has been a great fit, who has embraced the role and all the challenges which came along with it.
In that exchange, an epiphany happened for us. We needed to spend less time asking questions of the candidate, and more time explaining to them exactly what this role entailed, what our culture is like and the clear expectations of this position. Let them decide if this would be a good fit. We started calling it our “Anti-Sales Pitch.”
We start by explaining who we are as an organization, sharing stories of our wins and losses and describing what type of person will be successful in this role – and in our company – and which ones will not. We are very up front about the challenges each role will face, the type of work they will be doing and what will be expected of them to define success.
After we have finished explaining everything, we tell the candidate, “If this type of role and work excites you, that is great, we would love to have you come aboard. But if this is not the type of work you are interested in, or the type of role you are looking for, that is also fine. This type of work is not for everyone, but you should not accept this position because we would rather not have to start looking again in six months.”
It has resulted in a bit more work up front, and we have certainly scared some candidates off, but the Anti-Sales Pitch has allowed us to find the right candidates more often than not, has made our onboarding process much easier, and has allowed our new hires to come into an organization ready to be successful.
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