Developing Your Talent

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No Surprises: Five Tips for Aligning a Candidate’s Job Expectations with Reality

By JC Heinen on July 8, 2013

If your organization’s onboarding process doesn’t begin until the first day on the job, you might be a little late.  The interviewing process is the best time to talk openly about the position and the organization’s culture, set expectations and clarify goals.  If a new hire’s job expectations aren’t aligned with reality, those critical first 90 days may not go smoothly.

A recent SHRM.com article, “Majority of New Hires Say Job Is Not What They Expected,” reports, “six in 10 American workers say they’ve found aspects of a new job different from what they expected, indicating they may have felt misled during the interview process.” As one expert noted, “Most hiring is based on skills and experience, but most departures can be attributed to behavioral or cultural mismatches.”

Here are five tips for help ensure a prospective candidate accepts an offer based on fact, not fiction:

  1. Market the job accurately. Ensure the advertised job description accurately reflects the roles, responsibilities and goals for the position. Be prepared to discuss a typical work day, the hours required, management styles and opportunities for growth.
  2. Don’t give in to temptation to “oversell.” Paint a realistic picture of what it is like to work in your organization, its strengths and weaknesses. Avoid misleading a potential candidate so that they have an opportunity to make an informed decision.
  3. Ask good questions. Focus on questions that allow a candidate to demonstrate their capabilities, their skill in identifying and solving problems, their flexibility and adaptability during change, and their ability to achieve results.
  4. Gain alignment. To ensure expectations and needs are aligned, ask the candidate what specific capabilities they bring to the position that would make them a good fit. Identify key motivators. Ask what factors will be considered when evaluating an offer.
  5. Pull back the curtain. Serious candidates should be offered an opportunity to “kick the tires”, tour the department and briefly meet with key team members to gain an understanding of dynamics of the team and day-to-day work environment.

It’s important to be open and honest about what your organization can offer a prospective candidate. When a new employee can make a decision based on facts, they begin a new role much more confident and engaged – both key to the goal of making a successful new hire.

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