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In a competitive labor market, many companies are striving to put their best foot forward during job candidate interviews. However, some interviewers may stretch the truth a bit or omit certain information to better appeal to potential employees.

Instead, it’s important to remember that transparency during job interviews will help companies find the best hire for the position while also maintaining company values. To share more insights, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council detail below how interviewers can be more “real” when talking to candidates and how this will help them find the right hire.

1. Describe What A ‘Bad Fit’ Looks Like

Very simply, be clear and upfront about what makes a candidate a bad fit and the qualities that have led to churn in the past. Showing that you care about not hiring the wrong employees out of desperation to fill seats can also make you more appealing. You’ll seem choosey, and this creates some confidence that their potential colleagues have been carefully vetted for fit. – Jake Goldman, 10up Inc.

2. Aim For Relatability

Whenever we interview a candidate, they’re at least already somewhat vetted, which means honesty shouldn’t be an issue since there’s a high chance that the candidate can relate with you already. With every question you ask, and if the candidate happens to hit the right answers, reply back with what you think is relatable for both the candidate and the company. In that way, as the candidate sells themself, you are guaranteed to sell the company in return. – Daisy Jing, Banish

3. Ensure Their Career Goals And What You Can Offer Align

I always ask my candidates what their career goals are. Then, I explain how working with us will help them in their career goals. If a candidate’s career goals don’t align with the growth trajectory available with us, I don’t hire the person. A wrong hire will cost both the company and the candidate. We like to be very open about work culture and growth potential. – Piyush Jain, Simpalm

4. Ask For Help Solving Problems

I think companies that address some of their pitfalls and the need to fix those things will come across as authentic. It will also help draw out candidates who have ideas for fixing problem areas. It’s not that a hiring manager should make the company look bad. You do want to look good to job applicants. However, you can be honest about a problem area the candidate will be working in or with to see if they are a fit. For instance, you may tell a candidate applying for a job in shipping that one problem you have is keeping logistical records updated, and that you just haven’t found an answer for it. Then, ask them if they have any ideas on how to fix it. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

5. Share Roadblocks And Current Company Voids


Being honest during interviews is putting your best foot forward. Misleading candidates or painting a rosy picture isn’t going to help find the best fit for your team. I think sharing voids the current team is facing or roadblocks you’ve encountered when trying to reach goals is helpful for a candidate to see how they may fit into the team. It’s also helpful for the employer to understand what new strengths a candidate is bringing to the table. – Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

6. Set Clear Expectations

Be extremely clear about your expectations. This is particularly important for younger generations who want a better work-life balance than their parents. Outline what a typical day and week look like for the person in the role you’re hiring for. How much time is spent in meetings? How much will they really be expected to travel? How much overtime do they truly have to work? Will they be expected to work on weekends? The answers to these questions should be given to any potential hire so they know what they’re getting themselves into if they accept the position. It’s better to be honest and have people self-exclude themselves from the job than it is to hire someone, train them and have them quit after a few months. Be honest about expectations and you’ll find the right person for the job. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com

7. Give Examples Of Your Culture In Action

We spend a lot of time talking about our company culture and giving examples of it in action. For instance, we really live and breathe “family first,” but instead of just saying that, we share examples of how we encourage our employees to go to their kids’ concerts in the middle of the day, or how we don’t ever have a problem with an employee having a sick child home from school in the background or needing to take time to go to a doctor’s appointment. It’s really important that we add color and examples to our core values so that candidates know what to expect when “life happens.” – Bill Gerber, AccountingDepartment.com

8. Understand What Might Be A Deal Breaker

You need to be honest with yourself about what aspects of your company and culture might be “deal breakers.” If you’re a tech startup that needs people to practically work around the clock, put that in your job description. The wrong candidates will mostly filter themselves out at that point. After all, there are people out there who are perfect for what you need; it’s just a question of being clear. Reiterate all of your points in the job interview, too. Read their body language carefully for misgivings, and try to move the conversation to a place of honesty that goes beyond the sort of courting that’s inevitable in every job interview. That way everybody can know what they are getting themselves into ahead of time. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

9. Prepare To Answer Tough Questions

If your goal is to remain transparent during interviews, make sure you’re ready to answer any questions applicants might have. I was shocked to find that some of my peers don’t prepare for tough questions in advance. As a result, many have trouble hiring someone immediately after an interview. When you anticipate difficult questions, you can prepare your answer in advance and instill trust and confidence in your new applicant. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC


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