Top performers will be won only with sympathy and appreciation

Last night I was highly frustrated. I had presented our final candidates for a global sales manager position in a meeting with our client after a long business day.

The search was strictly confidential, the region of the company is disastrous and the salary offer under average. Also critical was the required working experience in China and North America. Nearly 200 contacts were needed, to win a total of six good and highly motivated candidates for the two executive positions in engineering.

In short, it was difficult to motivate talents and performers with a proven record of success for this location. What the management and even worse the human resources management didn’t get: good candidates want to be “wooed” and „captured“, they want to develop sympathy for their future supervisor and the company, they want to identify themselves with the company and they want to rely on deadlines and commitments of the HR department. Only because of a better salary, today, no one would change his employer.

As I said, yesterday we did not conduct motivating interviews, but supplicants-interviews. What the managing director as well as the HR manager didn’t understand – they have been the petitioners, that means their company, not vice versa. Highly qualified Candidates out of the direct search/headhunting often do a good job. They usually have a good, perhaps an even more congenial superior. A very important role is played by the HR-Department, in this case by the HR Manager. This one was trying to appear very cool, but seems unprofessional and not very empathic, almost unfriendly.

Sadly, we frequently see that employees out of all departments just say what the Management wants to hear. They have no own opinion and therefore can’t make any clear valuation – in consequence, they provide no assistance to their boss. To take up the cudgels – unfortunately, often HR is ignored, will be inaugurated only superficially and therefore feels accordingly. Nevertheless, a HR Manager should behave professional. Many little things bothered me deeply during this meeting. If I had to offer glasses and drinks and keep an eye on refilling – as a Consultant, instead of the company’s managers – that is little welcoming and appreciative.

E.g. if a CV is not printed but read from a tablet, striking back and forth via wiping, the managers demonstrate the candidate, how superficial and less important the conversation is – and therefore the candidate. By moving his CV over the desk to me at the end of the interview, this left an unconscious and clearly negative sign. Many candidates have to take a great deal of time as well as a risk to join such an applicant interviews.

In addition to experience and motivation, appreciation and sympathy plays an important role, if you want to make a good candidate to an applicant. A good interview needs a warm welcome, a friendly representative ambience and the unsolicited offer of drinks, especially in a hot summer. To present the company and the Manager himself inspiring, is a small effort for a very great effect.

Good luck in your next professional and appreciative interview.

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