Why candidates dislike it when you say 'It's What You Make of It' at interview and what  to do instead 

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Why candidates dislike it when you say 'It's What You Make of It' at interview and what  to do instead 

In the world of recruitment, clear and articulate communication forms the cornerstone of a successful hiring process. One often misused phrase during interviews is "it's what you make of it" when discussing the prospects of your role  can leave a candidate feeling uncertain.

The statement "it's what you make of it" may appear to extend freedom and a sense of control to candidates. However, it's often perceived as ambiguous, offering little insight into the prospects on offer. Moreover, it may also hint at a lack of structured progression within the team, which could deter candidates seeking clear career advancement opportunities.

Pivoting to Prospects: A Better Approach

The key to attracting and securing top talent is not only to offer opportunities but to articulate them effectively. Here's how to do it:

1. Clarify Role Potential: Replace broad statements with explicit explanations of what the role involves now and how it could evolve in the future. This gives candidates a tangible sense of the job trajectory and its potential.

2. Outline Career Advancement Opportunities: Rather than suggesting self-driven advancement, take the lead in showcasing how your firm  nurtures career progression. Discuss established development programmes, potential for promotion, and previous success stories within the firm that demonstrate upward mobility.

3. Share the Company's Vision: Provide candidates with a clear understanding of where the company is headed and their place within that trajectory. Sharing your vision helps candidates see how their growth aligns with the company's future.

4. Create a Culture of Regular Feedback and Support: Demonstrate your commitment to employee development by emphasising your teams feedback culture. Regular check-ins and performance reviews provide reassurance that employees are not left to navigate their professional growth alone and that their contributions will be recognised.

5. Showcase your Success Stories: Give real examples of employees who have ascended through the ranks within your firm. Seeing tangible proof of progress can be a powerful motivator and paints a realistic picture of potential growth opportunities within your organisation.

6. Be Transparent about Challenges: No role or business is perfect, and top talent knows this. Sharing some of the challenges that come with the role, and how they contribute to personal and professional growth, can add authenticity to your proposition. It also prepares candidates for what's ahead, giving them confidence that they can handle these challenges with your company's support.

7. Highlight Team Collaboration and Support: Show potential employees that they won't be alone in their journey. Talk about the support system you have in place, including mentoring, team collaboration, and opportunities to learn from different departments. This gives them a sense of the community they will be part of and how it contributes to individual growth and success.

8. Personalise the Opportunity: Each candidate is unique and may have different aspirations. While you might have a general progression path in place, be open to discussing how you can tailor this path to fit individual goals and aspirations. This personal approach can make candidates feel valued and understood, and more likely to see a future with your company.

9. Discuss the Skills and Experiences they will Gain: It's important to show candidates the skills and experiences they can gain from the position. Explain how the role will allow them to develop specific technical skills, soft skills, or broaden their industry knowledge. Detail any training programs or courses they could take advantage of. This will help them see how the role fits into their career plans.

10. Emphasise the Value of Employee Contributions: Make it clear to the candidate that their work will be impactful and valued. Outline how their role contributes to team goals, and to the wider objectives of the company. This will help them understand that their potential role is important, and that their contributions will make a difference.

11. Offer an Open Line of Communication: Provide candidates with an opportunity to voice their career aspirations, goals and concerns. This dialogue can help tailor the discussion about growth and advancement more personally to them, showing candidates that you are invested in their individual career paths.

12. Demonstrate Commitment to Employee Wellbeing: Show your commitment to maintaining a healthy work-life balance within your company. Discuss policies like flexible working hours, mental health resources, and vacation policies. A company’s commitment to its employees' wellbeing can be a significant factor for candidates when choosing their next role.

By avoiding vague expressions and focusing on detailing prospects and growth opportunities, you can create a compelling picture for candidates.

Replacing ambiguous statements with a well-articulated growth path can substantially improve a candidate’s perception of your company. The aim is to present a comprehensive picture of how their career can evolve within your organisation, and how you, as their potential employer, will support them on that journey. The more specific and personal you can make this picture, the more appealing your proposition becomes. By demonstrating that you understand and value their career aspirations, you increase the chances of them choosing your company as the next step in their career.

The clearer the career path you can outline for candidates, the more likely they are to envisage themselves succeeding within your company and say 'yes' to your offer.

Remember, interviews are a two-way street; while you're evaluating candidates, they're assessing your company. Avoiding vague phrases like "it's what you make of it" and offering clear, concrete prospects instead, can make a significant difference. The more you can illustrate a compelling career path, the more likely you are to secure top talent, ensuring a bright future for both the candidate and your business.

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