How to Show Job Candidates You Care About Their Career Entrepreneurs often struggle with hiring because it doesn't seem like they care about candidates' career trajectory or ongoing development. Here's how to change that.

By John Boitnott

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've reached the end of the short list, and sitting in front of you is the candidate you want to fill a badly needed position. This person has the right qualifications, education and experience. Potential team members have even given their stamp of approval so culture fit looks good. It's up to you to seal the deal.

Most experienced interviewers know that attracting top talent often means selling the job and company to the candidate as much as they should sell themselves to you. The "Great Resignation" has left a labor market with too many jobs and not enough people who want to fill them, so employers need to show they care about potential hires to both win and retain them.

Related: How to Attract Smart Millennials Through Better Job Descriptions

So how do you show you care about candidates? A competitive salary is one way obviously, but it's only part of a larger picture. One of the best things you can do is focus on their life and career. Interviewees want to assure you they're a dedicated person who can handle increasing responsibility over a long-term run at the company. You should assure people that you'll recognize and reward that dedication.

Ask the right questions

Candidates want to know they'll be working for an organization that will see them as more than just a warm body that delivers results or productivity. One of the things you can do to cultivate the image of a company that cares is ask relevant questions. Here are some examples.

What are new skills you hope to learn over the next six months?

Right off the bat, this question assumes the employee wants to learn new skills and indicates that you're willing to teach them. An employer who invests in the professional development of their employees gets an almost immediate return on investment when the worker applies those skills to his or her job.

Related: Remote Work Anxiety is Real. Here's How to Help Employees Who Have It.

Have you ever wanted to expand or change your role?

Asking this question gives you valuable information about the candidate's future goals and lets a prospective employee know they're interviewing at an organization that promotes from within.

Have you ever mentored someone? If so, how did you ensure they truly learned what you were teaching?

The only thing better than an company that develops employee talent is one that develops future developers of employee talent. Asking this question truly conveys your desire to recruit people with leadership qualities.

Provide the right environment

Companies should also build an environment that shows potential and current employees through day-to-day interaction that they will be valued. Here are some ways you can create those conditions at the office.

Make sure managers are accessible

We've all heard the "My door is always open" cliches from managers who dole out work and then disappear until deadlines rolls around. Actual manager accessibility involves advising, challenging, assisting, mentoring and encouraging your team members on a regular basis. A manager who values their people will schedule regular meetings, answer the phone and respond to emails in a timely fashion so that employees feel heard.

Related: Why You Should Ask for Help At Work Instead of Giving It

Hold performance reviews... and not just from the top down

We're all familiar with the regular performance review. Information that can help both manager and employee can also be learned from peer reviews as well as employee reviews of their manager. Workers expect you to give your opinion about them. They feel empowered when you ask them about their interactions at work in the prior months, especially if they see their opinion has an influence on future operations.

Offer mentorship

Any employee at a company may feel at times like a small cog in a large, multi-wheeled machine. Mentorship programs give workers a clearer view of the whole operation. They learn more about not only the company as a whole, but also how their role affects and assists it in fulfilling its purpose or mission.

A good mentorship program gives employees what the show Undercover Boss gave to bosses. It lets them work with other departments, divisions and even at different locations, learning other aspects of the business. Mentorship programs are generally low-cost, high-reward learning opportunities for team members to learn from each other.

Related: These Simple Changes to Your Performance Reviews Will Make More Effective Employees

Support outside activities and side hustles

Showing your support for life outside the office is a surefire way to let candidates and current employees see their jobs are safe if they don't spend every waking moment at their desks. It can be something as simple as sending out an email saying that Bob from marketing's band is playing live music at the local bar this Friday and people should go support him. It shows the team that play can be as important as work.

Just because someone has an outside hobby or even a side hustle doesn't mean you're stressing them out too much or paying them too little. Many side hustles are simply someone figuring out they can monetize something they enjoy doing or are passionate about. Let candidates know you're ok with this as long as it doesn't disrupt their work. This type of encouragement will promote trust between you and the team member.

A positive long-term outlook

An employee's relationship with management is critical to the growth of their career. Ultimately their increased happiness and productivity will help your company as well. Showing your prospective hires that you care about the whole person and not just their future output can actually influence them to take a position, and create a lasting, positive, long-term relationship.

Related: How to Keep Work and Home Life Separate as You Work Remotely
Wavy Line
John Boitnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

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