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How to Close and Hire More Candidates in This Job Market

by Stacy Pursell | Jul 10, 2019

Hiring the best candidates is a process. There are many steps in this process, and unfortunately, if an employer makes a mistake during any one of these steps, then it can sabotage the entire process. In other words, the employer may not be able to hire the best candidate in the marketplace or the candidate that it really wants to hire.

One of the most important parts of the hiring process is the offer stage of the process. This is when you make an offer of employment to your top choice candidate. As you may have already experienced, current marketplace conditions dictate that just because you extend an offer to a candidate does NOT mean the candidate is going to accept said offer. In fact, the following things could happen:

  • The candidate refuses the offer because they did not deem it to be good enough, and there is no negotiation following the refusal.
  • The candidate refuses the offer because they did not deem it to be good enough, but there is negotiation following the refusal. You make another, more attractive offer to the candidate, which they also turn down.
  • The candidate refuses the offer because they decided to accept a counter-offer from their current employer.
  • The candidate refuses the offer because they decided to accept an offer from another organization.
  • The candidate says they need 48 hours to think about the offer, but you never hear from them again. (They’ve “ghosted” on the offer.)
  • The candidate accepts the offer, but they do not show up for their first day of work. (They’ve “ghosted’ on the job itself.)
  • The candidate accepts the offer, shows up for their first day of work, leaves for lunch, but never comes back. (They’ve “ghosted” on the job, but they waited until the afternoon of their first day of work to do it.)

I have seen all of these things occur during my career as an executive search consultant and recruiter, and I’ve seen them occur with regularity during the past five years. In fact, they’ve been happening more frequently during the past two years. In many of these instances, the hiring manager or practice owner thought they had successfully closed the candidate . . . only to discover in painful fashion that they had not. In some cases, even when the candidate initially accepted the offer, the hiring manager was ultimately not able to close them.

So what can be done? What can you as an employer to successfully close and hire more top candidates in this current market? Below are six steps for doing just that:

#1—Identify why the candidate is considering a move.

If you don’t know why the candidate is considering a move, then how can you close them properly? And a word of caution: if a candidate’s main reason for pursuing another employment opportunity is money, then they are at risk of accepting a counter-offer from their current employer.

#2—Engage the candidate by pre-closing them.

The best way to engage a candidate is to discuss “WIIFM.” This stands for “What’s In It for Them.” This is easier if you know the reason why they’re considering making a move in the first place. If you know the reason or reasons, then you should discuss the opportunity with those things in mind.

#3—Communicate and keep pre-closing.

When a candidate doesn’t hear from you during the hiring process, they think the worst. Specifically, they think they’re no longer a candidate for the position. That’s why you can’t let that happen. Communicate as often as you can, in as many different ways as you can, and remember to keep engaging them within the framework of “WIIFM.”

#4—Keep the process as short as you possibly can.

The longer the hiring process drags out, the greater the chances that candidates will drop out of the process. Keeping candidates engaged over a longer period of time is more difficult than doing it over a shorter period of time. So get them engaged, keep them engaged, and keep the process short.

#5—Make the candidate feel wanted.

This is a huge consideration, especially for younger candidates. The feeling of being wanted is partly why they decided to pursue your organization’s employment opportunity. In fact, they might not feel wanted by their current employer. If that’s the case, then you must make them feel as though your organization wants them to work for you. You can’t have a “take it or leave it” attitude with them.

#6—Make a compelling offer (i.e., your BEST offer) as soon as you can.

As soon as you know that you want to make an offer, make the offer! Do not delay or hesitate. And do not low-ball the offer. Make the very best offer you can make to the very best candidate in the process. That will increase the chances the candidate will accept the offer the first time that you extend it to them, and it will also reinforce their feelings of being wanted by your organization.

Don’t leave your hiring process to chance. Make sure that your organization is following the six steps outlined above and put yourself in a better position to hire more of the best candidates in the market.






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