“How do I differentiate my company from my competitors?”
It’s a question many of us will hear and try to answer throughout the course of hiring.
According to LinkedIn, there are approximately 6 million people in the U.S. working in Information Technology, and 50,000 of them work at one of the FAANG companies. So unless you’re one of those 50,000, you probably don’t have the luxury of hiring under the umbrella of being one of the best companies in the world. While your company “might” actually be better than one of them, no one is simply going to take you at your word.
And if there’s a candidate in front of you who’s talented, they’re most likely interviewing at places other than your company, possibly a FAANG company as well. If you want them to come work for you, you have to convince them where you work is the best place to work, even without that reputation.
Whether you work at a FAANG company, a Fortune 500, a medium-sized company, or a startup that no one’s heard of, every manager believes in their heart that their company truly is the best. It “might” be possible that you are better than the rest, but no one is going to take you at your word. And unfortunately, it can’t be true for everyone. Where many executives miss the mark is not understanding that saying you’re the best is one of the worst things you can do. You need to convince your candidates without saying it.
If you tell a candidate during an interview that your company is the best one around to work for, you’re not telling them anything they won’t hear from everywhere else they’re interviewing.
You have to understand that #TopTechTalent are interviewing at many different companies trying to learn exactly what makes all of them great. Factor in that now, because of a remote workforce, they all will be working from the same place (home) at the same desk, drinking the same coffee, having the same lunch, the competition to be the best place to work is strong. If every manager at every company is simply saying/has an attitude that they’re the best company, that’s not a differentiator, because everyone thinks they’re the best. How can you overcome that?
You need to prove your worth. Show rather than tell. Other than offering straight up cash, here are some examples.
#TopTechTalent wants to work for at a great company with opportunity and for a great manager. They want to feel like they’re part of a team. Talk to them about how successful other members of the team are. Tell them about someone who was hired and has had a successful upward path in the company, or talk about the amazing team dynamic that exists among your employees. Remember when you were young in school and your teachers told you to back up your work with examples? That’s still good advice to follow.
However, instead of telling them how great you are, remember that the best advertising is word of mouth. Direct candidates to things like Google reviews, Glassdoor reviews, Yelp reviews, awards your company has won. If you’re able, allow them to chat with a few people on your team so they’re able to see firsthand just how much your employees love working with you. If that’s not possible, talk more about the achievements of the people who report to you. Keep in mind it’s not about you, it’s what you can do for them.
Make a connection. What does your company have in common with the candidate? What do you have in common with each in terms of your own personal skills and work ethic? Don’t just get stuck on that, either; people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, etc., create a diverse environment that you want to have for your team. Identify things your candidate will appreciate, and show them how you represent those same values through your work. Maybe they’ve mentioned a passion for an area your company works in, or maybe they love the exact type of collaborative environment that you as a manager have created for your employees. Be an active listener in the interview process and use what your candidate is looking for to your advantage.
The goal is to make them understand that you are the differentiator without actually saying it. When companies get a reputation as a best place to work, it’s because they’re hiring the best people. The best people attract the best people and will make referrals who will become new additions to your team. Those people don’t want to work there because of big revenue reports or quarterly profits - it’s because they feel valued as people, and that’s what you want to drive home to your candidates.