Do’s and Don’ts for Breaking the Ice with Interested Job Candidates
If you’re a business start up, getting the best employees requires walking a tightrope between being too corporate and too inquisitive, too personal and too remote. Follow this guide to breaking the ice with prospective hires.
DON’T Infiltrate Their Online Lives
Before you buy it, date it or hire it – Google it. This cliche is also a piece of good advice. When a prospective new hire shows interest, it’s natural and prudent to check him or her out online, and what they choose to make public is fair game. But with so many employers giving friend requests – or even asking to see private social media updates – don’t be a tech start up that acts like an overbearing parent before you’ve even hired the employee.
DON’T Require Personal References
Professional references are great, but requests for personal references are antiquated and – especially for young Millennials looking for a business start up to hitch their talents to – make employers look gullible. Think of the worst person you could possible imagine. That guy could get three people to say something nice about him.
DO Pick a Random Topic
Job hunters come into interviews prepared to speak on a variety of issues. They expect to talk about their experience, what motivates them, why they’d be a good fit, etc. But if you pick a random, topical subject – something in the news, whatever – you give the interviewee a moment to exhale and speak conversationally. Without putting them on the spot, you also gain insight into who they are as a person.
DO Fact Check Resumes
People lie and embellish on resumes all the time. The number-one reason? Because employer rarely check. A college degree doesn’t necessarily make someone a good person or prospect, but the willingness to lie about it should send up a huge red flag to any business start up.
DO Avoid Shop Talk
Make an effort – especially in a first interview – to talk about something other than work, past experience, the industry, why they got into business or why they think they’d be a good match for your tech start up. When you engage a prospect in conversation that avoids the common shop talk, you humanize your business and get to see how the potential recruit functions and thinks as a human being, not a worker.
Avoid the boilerplate job interview questionnaire whenever possible when it comes to breaking the ice with job candidates. It’s easy to fall into the trap of asking certain questions in a certain order. But from the first interview through the entire hiring process, it’s important to get a feel for who the candidate really is – and to show them a true glimpse of the human side of your company.
Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about small business management, careers and driving-related topics such as hypermiling.