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Surprise – Job Candidates Are Checking You Out Too

what job candidates look for in a companyYou require a resume – which you’ll fact-check – from a job candidate, but what will you give them in exchange?

It’s standard operating procedure for employers to use social media to screen candidates before a job offer. Current estimates put the number of organizations doing this at 70 percent or more. Nearly half are looking for insight on a candidate’s public persona (are they professional?), and almost 40 percent want to find out what peers are posting about a candidate.

Is it really any surprise at all that job candidates go online to search for information about potential employers, too? Call it a paradigm shift if you want – or just a leveling of the playing field. You want to know more about someone you may hire, and they’d like the same information about you. Here’s what they’re looking for, and why.

Not on the radar

Thanks to technology, as well as more open top-level positions than there are candidates, potential employees have become highly sophisticated. There’s no lack of information online advising them about how to get an employer to make a fair and satisfying job offer.

It’s not all about them, though. Often, it’s sheer curiosity. You can be a household name like Apple, Amazon, or Facebook, but the details about how you operate are likely a mystery. That likelihood might be less if the candidate is courting you, the employer. Turn that situation around and it might be that a candidate knows a little about you.

That’s important to keep in mind as you wrap your head around the idea that a potential candidate is doing some snooping. Yes, they definitely want to know if previous employees think you’re evil and hateful. The investigative process will fish that out if it’s true. However, the true motive probably comes down to sheer curiosity. That, and the desire to impress you by showing they’ve taken the time to do their homework about you.

Directing the flow of information

We’ve all experienced what can happen when we go online to research. There’s a vast difference between information and relevance. Unless you’ve got the tenacity and the means of someone like Peter Thiel to take down Gawker, you’re probably going to have to learn to grin and bear it when a past employee decides to air some dirty laundry on a website like Glassdoor. (Grin and bear it, meaning that you take the high road and respond professionally.)

Why leave this fact-finding mission in the hands of someone you’d like to impress? It’s a better idea to take the proactive approach and create a dossier on your company, which you can then confidently place in their hands.

  • Don’t bother with pretty, water-colored public relations stuff. It’s cool if you’re awesome. It’s even better if you’re transparent. No organization is perfect. No company is universally loved. However, we tend to respect those companies that own up to their problems. Put facts, figures and quotes from people other than your own in the dossier.
  • Back off from the “job post speak” when you create information about positions. Does anybody at your company really talk that way? If you want to create a job posting and description that grabs some serious attention, tell a story instead of generating a laundry list. “Must be able” and “responsible for” answer how and what. A potential job candidate wants to know why.
  • Offer insight into your company’s culture, mission and You may be the one about to offer a paycheck, but the decision about whether you and a job candidate will be a good fit for each other has to be made by both parties. And, it’ll take more than lip-service. Presenting a job candidate with a printed copy of your mission statement is, well … lip-service. A phone call from a key player in the organization who offers to explain what makes them want to work there: that’s insightful.
  • Include profiles of your customers in the dossier. Yes, the job candidate will be employed by your company. There are the obligatory prerequisites for that. Your company owes its livelihood to your customers, which means you really work for them. How can you help a job candidate gain perspective on this?

It’s no surprise that candidates are checking you out just as much as you’re checking them out. The irony is that you’ll require them to hand over a cheat sheet – their resume. You’ll vet that, of course, but at least you have a solid foundation to work from. What do you exchange for that insight?

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