You have openings…lots of openings!
Whether you are an internal talent acquisition specialist or an outside recruiter, this is a good problem to have, right? After all, openings mean you have things to do, postings to post, candidates to call, and texts to send.
But, all of the openings in the world don’t matter unless you can find the right candidates to fill them. In this article, I’d like to suggest ten tips to find the candidates you need and provide some guidance as to how to get them on your team.
Tip 1: Practice the Theory of Threes
The ideal situation is to have three candidates interviewing for every opening. This does a variety of things for you: you will provide your hiring manager with an actual choice (remember that a choice of 1 is not a choice!); you will have candidate options in the event one of the candidates you like accepts another position; you won’t have to worry about your hiring saying they have no one to compare. These are just a few of the benefits of working towards the goal of having three candidates on every opening.
This is the “ideal” situation…in many circumstances, it is challenging to find even one candidate that is qualified and interested in the position. You have to play the cards you’re dealt. Always strive for 3!
Tip 2: Make sure your chosen candidate is committed
It is one thing for a candidate to show up for an interview. It’s an entirely different thing for them to be committed to your process and the opportunity you’ve brought to the table.
Ask the right questions to fully understand that if an offer would be presented, what would they do? Do they respond with “I’d have to think about it” or “I would need a couple of weeks to compare it to the other opportunities I’m entertaining”? Of course, you are hoping they say, “I’d take it,” but you should never just assume that is the case because they showed up for the interview.
Tip 3: Gain Upfront commitments
This is different from ensuring the candidate is committed. When I discuss upfront commitments, this is both with the hiring managers and the candidates. From the hiring manager's side, it is imperative to confirm they will make the time to review resumes, provide feedback, set aside time to interview, provide feedback, and make a decision. From the candidate’s side, make sure they are able to interview in a semi-reasonable time of day, will provide their feedback on the interview, not be coy in that feedback (in other words, be honest), and make a decision of a yes or a no should an offer be presented.
Tip 4: Co-Create the Interviewing Plan
Work diligently to co-create the interviewing plan with the main hiring manager. Once it is mutually agreed to, ensure that everyone involved in the interviewing process understands the plan. Without this critical step, you run the risk of alternative ideas about how the process will flow. You want everyone on a one-mind track!
Tip 5: Discuss the Counter Offer
If you are an outside recruiter, you are familiar with discussing the counter offer with candidates to ensure they understand the risks and limited benefits of accepting one. But, this is a discussion that everyone should be involved in, including HR and the hiring managers. One of the worst things that could happen is you finally finding “the one” and believing you have the position filled only for the candidate to accept a counter and leaving you hanging out to dry.
When should you discuss the counter? The simple answer is early and often!
Tip 6: Recognize that breaking up is hard to do
Remember the last time you changed jobs? Unless you just hated it there, it was a very difficult decision, right? It is one of the more difficult and emotional decisions you make. Make sure you let the candidate know that you understand this is a difficult decision. Share with them how you were welcomed into the company, how you’ve made friends, and how you’ve grown as a professional there. Of course, if you are the outside recruiter, make sure your hiring manager explains this. By doing so, you will help alleviate some of the natural concerns.
Tip 7: Involve the Significant Other
A decision as big as accepting a new position is rarely made by themselves. Sometimes they talk with a mentor or friend, but every time they will talk with their significant other. Since we know this, why aren’t we involving them in the process?
If you are dealing with relocation, this should be an automatic part of the process. This way, you can answer any questions they have and have the ability to sell them on the opportunity for their partner.
Tip 8: Ask ALL of the questions
The questions you don’t ask are usually the ones that will haunt you in the process. So, don’t make this mistake. Ask all of the questions so that you are systematic in your approach. This holds true when you are in-taking the info on the position when talking to the hiring managers, and well as when you are interviewing the prospective candidates.
This especially holds true as the interviewing process comes near the end. Many times the questions aske become the critical elements to close the position with the right candidate successfully.
Tip 9: The presentation of the offer counts greatly
For the love of Cardinals baseball (yes, that is how serious I am about this statement), do NOT just send an offer letter to your candidate. Present the offer to them directly so that they can hear your excitement for them to join the team and so that you are able to answer any questions they might have.
Also, make sure they understand the offer is the last and best offer that can be made. This means you need to come to the table with the best actual offer. If you try to see if you could get them for less than they said they would accept, you are setting yourself up for either a turndown or a “less than ecstatic” new hire. You don’t want either of those, right?
Tip 10: Celebrate with them
When they have accepted the offer, celebrate with them! Make sure that everyone involved sends them a congratulatory text or email. It is especially important that their direct manager reaches out to them to welcome them to the team. During the transition period between their resignation and their starting date, send them a welcome package. Include some company gear, a cup, or some other item from the company. You can go the extra mile and send something specifically to their significant other.