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I read an article in Mashable’s feed about three weeks ago, entitled, “5 Expert Tips for Following up After an Interview.”

Ah yes. As suspected, it contained the usual stuff: how to remain interested and enthusiastic without becoming intrusive, a mélange of post-interview tips so common these days that they’ve just turned into a massive pile of indistinguishable mush in my brain. More blah blah blah.

Nothing against the actual article, or the writer’s skills, I’ve (as I’m sure most of you have) just had enough. Another one. Wallpaper. (Click here for the original article.)

It was Point Number 4: Learn When to Move On that was the spark for what I’ve been thinking about and questioning since reading that Mashable article.

Why don’t I ever read an article that tells agencies how to behave after they have interviewed someone who has expressed an interest in working for their agency?

Quite a compliment. No matter how awesome you are and how hot your shop is. At the moment.

How an Agency Should Behave After an Interview. An article that outlines how to remain interested, but not overly enthusiastic thereby building false hope and expectations. How to deliver the sometimes not-so-pleasant truth as quickly and respectfully as possible. How to ensure that the lines of communication, although they may be closed for now, remain open. And most importantly, how to ensure that regardless of the outcome, the net take-away of the experience is, and will remain, positive.

I have seen examples of the best, and examples of the worst interview processes, talent attraction programs, post-interview courtesy, during interview content, the gamut. They are not always in one shop, rather bits and pieces, here and there, and I always thought that, if ALL these best practices were harnessed and deployed with consistency in one place, they would turn that agency (any agency really) into a desirable talent destination within one year. Tops.

So here it is:

6 Expert Tips on How the World’s Most Desirable Talent Destination Behaves Around The Hiring of the Best Talent.

  • Before the interview, the agency discloses whether this is a speculative interview, whether this is for a specific position, a brief scope of the position, if it’s not for a specific position, full disclosure that at present no positions are available.

  • The agency has a clearly defined set of criteria against which all hires are made. Post interview debriefs are not: oh, I liked him good energy, I think he could be a good fit. Post interview debriefs are: Presentation Skills: comment / rating out of 10; Global Industry Knowledge and an Ability to Discuss: comment / rating out of 10; Ambassador for his Current Agency: comment / rating out of 10. You’re getting the idea. Yes, all hires. Even the Office Manager.

  • The agency has a goal that every member of the Executive Committee understands and can articulate as well as the agency’s current status relative to the achievement of that goal. They can speak of the agency’s recent accomplishments with authoritative confidence. They speak in specifics about the agency. They avoid words like “lots”, and “all the time.” They say, “24,000 last month” and “quarterly.”

  • They understand that recruiting is a 24/7/365 initiative. They act as if its a priority. It gets their ongoing undivided attention. They seek out best practices on how to make their hiring process better. Then (most importantly) they put those practices into practice! Everyone in the agency knows they are on the recruiting team, and they always have their radar set on ‘alert’. Beyond the field work being done by everyone in the agency, they have a designated team on the ground – the experts if you will, everything starts there, and no one gets seen until they get by them. These experts, are organized, responsive, process-oriented and know the company story as well as the CEO. They are equal parts operative and aunt. More operative than aunt though. (At the not so great agencies, it’s more about the aunt, than the operative.)

  • They follow up. On the phone, then by email, then by letter. On the days when they said they would. They know they can say anything they want. “We’ll get back to tomorrow,” can be “We’ll get back to you in a week/two weeks/a month/on April 15th/” THEN THEY DO IT.

  • They treat the entire process as a fun, entertaining, exciting part of working for their company. They are happy to engage with the community, and tell the story of the company they work for in a memorable way.

Oh but it’s a lot of work. It is, but it isn’t really. It’s more about a mindset. A mindset that understands how important your reputation is relative to hiring talent. The way prospective employees are treated, and what they say in the market place is relatively easy in comparison to its importance. And almost completely within your control. (You get it. You’re in the branding business yourself, right?)

I would even go so far as to say that developing a talent attraction program that is efficient, fun, friendly and respectful will help you win business. At the very least get you on the long list. People have friends. Lots of them these days with Facebook, and they talk all the time. # This and # That. Like Don’t go Work for Them #, or What an Amazing Group of People #, Your Company Name #. Your call.

Are you with me?

Best practises talent attraction program = great perception in the market by talent + they have friends = you get on that long list.

After that, winning the new piece of business is up to you and your team. that you hired by following the best practices shared above, and even more of them!

All of whom were once candidates who read and listened to all those “What to Do After Your Interview” articles, especially this one. (click here for the Mashable one).

There now. We’ve come full circle.

What are some exceptional things you’ve experienced as either someone looking for a job, or how your companies engages with the people who want to work for them?

~ heidi


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