The Other Side of the Interview Desk

by HR Coach on February 25, 2009

Employers worry about hiring the ‘right’ person for the job, but on the other side of the desk, the prospective employee is worrying about getting a good boss.

I thought about sharing what employees are looking for during the interview, to help them identify a boss or a company they would not want to work for. However, if YOU are a bad boss, that would just help you cover up the warning signs.

It’s important, as an employer, to realize and remember that you are being interviewed, too. And rather than just APPEAR to be a great employer, you actually need to BE one.

Great employers are referred to by several names: Employer of Choice, Workplace of Choice, Preferred Employer, Preferred Workplace, and probably others I just haven’t heard of yet.

I’ve seen career and employment ads that state that this is an ‘Employer of Choice.’ However, declaring yourself an ‘Employer of Choice’ doesn’t make you one. Your current and past employees are the ones who will spread the truth about what kind of employer you are.

If you are truly an ‘Employer of Choice’, you probably don’t need to place job or career ads very often – prospective employees will be lined up at your door; you will always have a file folder full of resumes to choose from. People will be eager and waiting for an opportunity to work for you.

But how does an employer go about becoming an ‘Employer of Choice’?

It starts with your attitude towards your employees. David Sirota, author of The Enthusiastic Employee, says there are four employee relations cultures. I’m going to paraphrase them here, but if you’d like to hear him talk about them, check out a video on his website.

There are four mindsets an employer/company can have towards its employees:

  • Employees as children I’ve heard many employers talk about how childish they think their employees are; how being a manager is just like being a parent. If you see your employees this way, that is how you’ll treat them and this is likely how they will conduct themselves.
  • Employees as enemies I’ve never heard an employer come right out and say their employees are enemies, but I’ve sure seen the behaviours that scream that belief. It’s an ‘us vs. them’ attitude; there is no trust; managers may even talk about ‘covering each others backs’.
  • Employees as ciphers (non-entities) This is an attitude of ‘you’re necessary only insofar as we need the work done. We pay you, so we’re even. Don’t expect us to like you or treat you as a valuable person. You’re here, just do your work.’
  • Employees as allies This is the employer attitude that will win the hearts of employees. This is the approach that will “sustain the enthusiasm and the performance that comes from the initial enthusiasm that people bring to their jobs”, as David Sirota says. This is an organization that treats their employees as partners.

Sirota goes on to explain that there are several components that are key in the Partnership culture:

  • It’s a win/win relationship – the success of one party depends on the success of the other.
  • There is basic trust in/of each others intentions.
  • There is a long-term perspective
  • An expectation of excellence – the parties set high performance standards for themselves and for each other
  • Competence – the parties have confidence in each others competence, or ability to get the job done
  • Joint decision making – parties make key decisions jointly on matters that affect each other
  • It is a business relationship – not a friendship or a family
  • There is open and full communication between the parties
  • Mutual influence – the parties listen to and are influenced by each other
  • Mutual assistance – parties help each other perform
  • Day-to-day treatment and interaction with consideration and respect
  • Financial sharing – when the parties collaborate on improving financial results, they share equitably in those results

Any employer or company who will work towards having a true ‘Partnership’ culture will be an ‘Employer of Choice’. They will be an employer top performing employees will line up to work for.

And they won’t need to worry about coming across well in an interview with prospective employees.

(C) 2009 Peak Performance Coaching/Accidental-HR

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