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Careers: Put Your Best Face Forward

It always surprises me when companies spend a ton of time and money developing slick marketing materials and a great website but then overlook the importance of putting the right people in front of potential employees. At the end of the day, it’s usually those personal interactions with human resources and line managers that determine whether a candidate accepts or rejects an offer. In my opinion, when recruiting MBAs or other experienced hires, your “public face” must include the following:

It always surprises me when companies spend a ton of time and money developing slick marketing materials and a great website but then overlook the importance of putting the right people in front of potential employees. At the end of the day, it’s usually those personal interactions with human resources and line managers that determine whether a candidate accepts or rejects an offer.

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In my opinion, when recruiting MBAs or other experienced hires, your “public face” must include the following:

Seniority. Candidates often equate access to mid- to senior-level employees to the perceived level of interest the company has in them as candidates. They also want to hear about the strategic direction of the company. However, those with limited work experience sometimes place more of a premium on interactions with junior-level employees as that’s who they will most closely relate to. If you’re presenting to both populations, cover all of your bases by sending both.

Passion. People who believe in what they’re selling, not canned sound bytes and company propaganda. They want to hear from people who are truly passionate about the company, the business, and their jobs. They’re believable, energetic, and engaging.

Likeability. People they’d like to hang out with. People who are approachable and easy to talk to. Just because they’re a successful executive doesn’t mean that they present the best face for their organization. Candidates will often write off the entire company after having one bad experience with a member of the recruiting team.

Preparation. A firm grasp of presentation content (if applicable) and the ability to field a wide range of questions from candidates. Hopefully it’s not the first time the presenter has seen the PowerPoint deck, but if it is it’s critical that the audience can’t tell. Many companies also include a human resources representative at company presentations to field logistical questions about the hiring process.

Companies wanting to attract the best and brightest candidates must spend as much time making sure their public face goes beyond a fancy brochure or video. They select the right people to represent their organization during the recruiting process and think strategically about the messages they want to communicate to candidates.

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Shawn Graham is an Associate Director with the MBA Career Management Center at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and author of Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job (courtingyourcareer.wordpress.com).

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About the author

Shawn Graham partners with small businesses to create, implement, and manage performance-driven marketing strategies. His knowledge base includes media relations, business development, customer engagement, web marketing, and strategic planning.

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