There is no doubt that lots of candidates are looking for jobs, It’s a buyer’s market and the buyer is the hiring manager. This leads hiring managers to the belief that it is a perfect time to sit back and take your time on a selection, be 100% certain you have picked the right candidate for the job. Keep the candidates coming is the take most hiring managers have on this topic and while keeping candidates coming is not a problem you don’t need more candidate, you need the right candidate.
I would be willing to bet in the course of the past year you have lost a great candidate because they accepted a job somewhere else. Sometimes they take a job in another industry, other times it’s your direct competitor. If it is the direct competitor in the coming months every time you see this candidates name on the paperwork across the table from your quote you will have to ask yourself why they didn’t accept your offer, or why you didn’t make them an offer (we will save that for another discussion)
So why does a candidate take another opportunity, or choose the competitor over you? The simple answer is your hiring process is broken. Now before you start feel like you’re being accused let me say that I believe most businesses have a broken hiring process. Many people still hire from their gut, we are all guilty of this sometimes we strike out other times you end up with a great candidate. Hiring Is a huge business decision, especially in today’s market with the fierce competition we all experience. Warm bodies to put in front of customers are a thing of the past, finding a dedicated, motivated, driven individual with the desire to succeed and help your business grow is what you need. So why are you not approaching it like you would a new business venture.
For sake of the discussion we are going to assume you hiring a new Outside Sales Account Executive:
Step One: Know what it is you are actually looking for in an employee. All positions have bloated job descriptions that we post online that list all the requirement of the position. When all that is stripped away what are you actually looking for in the person sitting across the table. Determining that can be tricky, look at what has made other successful, that’s always a good starting point but you need to get down to the specifics. Does this persons short and long term goals match that of the company? What is this person really looking for in their next opportunity?
Step Two: How well do you explain the opportunity? It’s easy to get the person that just wants another job to accept and come on board. The person that’s looking for a real opportunity is harder to convince. Many managers make the mistake of assuming it’s the sole responsibility of the candidate to research and know the company. Let me say that while I agree it is up to the candidate to research and understand the opportunity they are interviewing for sometimes company websites offer very little insight into who the company really is. The interview is the hiring managers chance to get a candidate excited about the opportunity at hand. Make them want to come work for you and your company, and not because you found out during the interview that you both like the same football team.
Step Three: CLOSE CLOSE CLOSE! I always tell candidates to close, if you don’t close in today’s environment you may not even move to a second interview. The same goes for the hiring manager, if it’s a candidate you actually think would be a good fit why not pursue them, if you believe this is a person that could help the financial well being of your company there is no harm in going the extra mile. This starts with asking them how they feel about the opportunity and if they have any hesitations. This will do two things for you. It will help uncover people who are just there for an interview, and for the people that are serious about the opportunity it will help you get the fears out of their head early on. Open lines of communication with them and encourage them to reach out to you with questions. Respond to their follow up email and give them your thoughts, the more interaction you have with the candidate early on the less likely they are to accept another position in the mean time.
Step Four: Stop waiting! Great candidates, the ones you don’t want on the competitors paperwork are not going to wait on you forever to make a decision. This is often the link that causes the whole process to break down. A longer wait is not a problem if steps one through three have been followed but skip one of them and leave a candidate waiting too long and you will lose your opportunity to bring them on board. Much like you want to get the position filled many candidates want to get into a better opportunity and hit the ground running as hard as possible, its best for both parties when decisions are made in a timely manner.
Good candidates are not as easy to come by as many would believe and in my experience I have to often seen a candidate reject one companies offer to be the next 100k producer at a competitor. Take a look at how you are handling your hiring process and maybe you can avoid having this happen to you.