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Like you @nonrecursive, I’ve been tasked with “selling our company to the candidate” interviews. So my job is not so much to vet the candidate, rather it is to let the candidate ask whatever questions she might have about how it is to work at Ardoq. As you, I find that these interviews yield rewarding conversations, and I do believe it makes the candidate feel more confident in her choice.

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Which reminds me of an interesting observation which I read in a book I no longer can recollect the title of. Most recruiting processes are based on a scenario where you have an abundance of qualified candidates, and your job as a recruiter is to pick the best one of those candidates. You could then argue that a couple of false negatives don’t matter too much. The problem, however, that we’re seeing in tech, is that we don’t have an abundance of qualified candidates. This leads to two observations. One is that false negatives is very costly, ie it could be the one qualified candidate that bothered applying to your job. The second, which is what I outlined above, once you understand that you have a candidate that you’d like to hire, you need to turn the interview process around from a vetting process to a selling process.

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As a hiring manager I do my best to ensure it's a two way street from the beginning. As a candidate I would walk aways from any place that had a one sided interview process.

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When hiring, I try to play the long game. The approach I take may not always be easy, and may not generalize directly to senior candidates (variants of it can). However, my colleagues and I discovered that it allows us to focus a lot more on avoiding false positives, and reduces the burden of losing false negatives. In my experience, it has consistently brought in entry-level and early-career people who've grown fast, become tenured staff, and become technical mentors / team leads etc. It also helped spread goodwill via positive interactions with candidates. • I keep an open-door policy. I want people to come back to me eventually. ◦ One reason is requirements change / grow over time, and we may have closer-fit roles later. ◦ Another is, I'm looking for curiosity, slope of growth, and self-drive that I can invest in. ◦ Last but not least, I believe it removes stigma of rejection from the conversation. We've all been there and it sucks. • There is usually no outright rejection email, rather an invitation to keep in touch and have a continued conversation. ◦ If the candidate is not a resounding "yes", and not a resounding "never ever", I propose an N month deferment (usually six). Much like deferring university admission. This is explicitly clarified in my closing email. ◦ If they've level-upped significantly in the interim, and/or have remained connected with my team and shown genuine interest in the work on offer, it's a strong signal they are the right kind of person to invest in. I will be more amenable to bring them onboard and invest what it takes to help them grow into the target role. ◦ If they come back and I don't see movement, then I can choose to say a firm no at that time. • Almost always, I also offer "office hours" support and reading recommendations. ◦ I'll usually recommend material that will feed their curiosity. ◦ Frequently, with their permission, I'll further propose a lightweight reading/study plan and ask them to check in with me once a week. ◦ The vast majority of people don't take up the offer. Suppose anyone does, it's really easy to guide them over email, and it leads to positive interactions. This one time, one of our best front-end engineers joined us because his wife applied to us, and we didn't hire her, but she took us up on our offer and we supported her on a month-long learning track she chose. Just my 0.000002 dogecoin. Has anyone tried something similar? How has it gone for you?

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These days, I find myself playing career counsellor more than candidate filter. Among other things, I try to get applicants to consider ways to stay at their current employer --- lateral moves, explicit asks for mentorship etc.; whatever seems appropriate based on their stated interests. I've come to think of "quitting" as just a process of trying to find a place and a space where one is accepted and cared for (in whatever way is meaningful to oneself). People thrive when they and can truly jam with their crowd. If I can help the candidate discern that, then we're both in a better place to decide whether to continue or defer.