If you’ve worked in the recruiting industry long enough, you have painful stories of incredible job candidates who got away. They either accepted another job that they perceived as more attractive, or they stayed put because they didn’t believe the grass was greener.
It’s easy to rationalize these disappointments and chalk them up to “the candidate was a bad fit anyways,” or “we couldn’t compete with the other job offer monetarily.”
The hard truth is, in most cases these scenarios are avoidable.
Below are the best ways to close a job candidate, and we don’t mean by sweetening the offer. We also list recommendations to save yourself time by recognizing “bad fit” candidates early in the process.
- Job offers: Always submit a job offer to a candidate verbally before sending a written offer. This allows you to mention specific terms in the offer that differentiate your company or that you know really matter to the candidate. Also, it helps build rapport.
- Don’t ignore the gap period: A critical period is the two weeks between when a candidate accepts a job and starts the new job. Companies will do a lot to keep “A” players. New companies need to engage candidates to keep them excited to join you.
- Ask the right questions: If a job candidate says they haven’t discussed the role with anyone, they’re either lying to you or they’re not interested. Millennials tend to confide in their parents, and Gen Z discuss new job opportunities with their spouses or significant others.
Also, ask job candidates why they want a new job. Beware of people who only want more money. These folks tend to accept counteroffers from their existing employers. You can save yourself time by sussing this out early in the process.
- Don’t press: Ultimatums, hard closes, and exploding job offers (i.e. you must accept by this date, or else it’s off the table) do not work, especially with millennials. The younger generation wants to feel empowered to make their own decisions. Don’t force it.
- Reminders: Assuming someone has a reason beyond simply earning more money for seeking a new job, remind him/her about that reason when you extend a job offer. Also, encourage the candidate to create a pros/cons list. This is a great litmus test. It’s human nature for someone interested in a job to find more pros than cons.
- Stay buttoned up: If your interview process is cumbersome and you constantly reschedule or cancel interviews, this is a big turn-off. Candidates perceive these inconveniences as indicators of what it’s like to actually work for the company. Remember, candidates interview companies as much as companies interview candidates.
- Establish a relationship: The No. 1 reason people leave companies is because of the relationship they have with their direct boss. Knowing this, make sure that the supervisor is involved in the hiring process. A personal gesture from a candidate’s future boss can be a clincher, and it often does not take a lot of time or effort. Be genuine about it.
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