Always Be Closing: Preparing For Your First Candidate Call (How We Do It at ContactOut)

The year 2022 marked a new chapter in ContactOut’s story, driven by a strategic vision from our CEO.

This vision translated into a concrete plan: to build three innovative, cross-functional teams, each playing a critical role in our product’s development. This was a step beyond traditional hiring; it was about strategically aligning talent with our future goals.

Our journey through this new hiring landscape was filled with discovery, as we engaged with candidates across various fields. These interactions led to the creation of our candidate pitch deck, a pivotal tool in transforming our initial candidate interactions into meaningful and engaging experiences.

Flipping the script – how did we do it?

Typically, initial interviews can feel transactional, focusing on experience, availability, and salary expectations. While these are essential topics, they often fail to offer a personalized experience for candidates.

So, we decided to flip the script.

We started by asking candidates what they wanted to learn first, dedicating the last 10-15 minutes of our conversation to their background, relevant experience, and the other standard questions. 

Taking the time to understand and focus on what truly matters to candidates helped us stand out in the fiercely competitive startup landscape.

Candidate Pitch Deck – what’s in it?

What’s the product about?

Despite having this information on our website, our product and the problem it solves are nuanced to a particular audience, so this is easily one of the most asked questions we get. 

Having this as part of the slides gives candidates the opportunity to ask questions and seek more clarity about the product. 

What’s the real-world problem we’re trying to solve?

Here, we discuss the pain points of our primary audience – recruiters. This helps candidates understand the impact and relevance of our product.

What makes us different? 

Candidates are naturally curious about what differentiates our product. This slide addresses the robustness and potential of our solution.

How does this tie back to our mission?

Our mission is the “why” behind our product – the central basis of our operations. 

Sharing our mission with candidates makes our goal relatable and fosters a sense of connection. 

What actions are we taking to fulfill this mission? 

By showcasing our approach to building pioneer squads, we illustrate how we’re turning our mission into reality. This also helps candidates see where they fit into the picture.

Who will they be working/learning from? 

Giving candidates a glimpse of the people behind the product can help them envision themselves as part of the team and answer the question of “Who can I learn from?” or “what can I learn from them?”

In startups, this becomes a valuable selling point. 

What are the next steps? 

This part sets candidates’ expectations of the hiring process. It also gives us the opportunity to share the purpose behind each step as an added layer of transparency. 

Key takeaways 

  1. Start by addressing what the candidate wants to know. This personal touch can transform a standard interview into an engaging, two-way dialogue.
  2. Use examples and stories to illustrate how the role directly contributes to solving real-world problems.
  3. Clearly articulate the potential for professional development and the learning resources available at ContactOut.
  4. Help candidates see how their work fits into the broader mission and goals of the company.
  5. Be open about the hiring process, timelines, and what candidates can expect in each stage.