You’ve successfully advertised for an open position (or hundreds), and you’ve gotten a strong response not just from job applicants but from qualified job applicants who can step into this role and make your organization shine.
There’s just one problem… Top quality applicants are always in high demand. So the perfect person for your job may be on the verge of getting an offer with another organization.
Is there anything you can do to sway them in your favor? Absolutely. As a recruiter or hiring manager, you have the power to make sure your top picks accept an offer with your organization over others they may be interviewing with, and it won’t always come down to paying more. Here’s where to start:
1. Put Your Best Offer On The Table
You won’t be a very successful hiring manager or recruiter if you consistently bring in candidates above and beyond the pay range you’re hiring for, so “pay more!” isn’t a strategy you can apply across the board. That said, it’s possible to mind your budget while coming right in with an aggressive offer from the start.
If you know you’ve found the right candidate for the job, consider how much it would cost to lose them: finding and replacing your second choice when they realize it’s not the right job in the long term, the lost opportunity from hiring someone with less experience or drive, and so on. You can avoid those expenses by bringing your best offer to the negotiating table from the start.
Can’t budge on salary? Think through other ways you can be flexible in advance, such as a one-time starting bonus, relocation costs, extra benefits such as time off, or partial-salary advance as a one-time bonus–anything you can do to show your ideal candidate that you want to make this work.
2. Pay Attention To The Tiny Details
As you vet candidates, your internal radar is reviewing all of the tiny details for fit, including commuting time, career growth, and values. But don’t stop at evaluating whether or not the candidate is a good fit for you–return the favor and help the candidate think through whether or not it’s a good fit for them by paying attention to and addressing all the tiny details that come up throughout the interview process.
For example, if the candidate comments on a lack of teamwork at their current job, emphasize how your company facilitates and rewards employees who help each other succeed. If the candidate is trying to avoid management responsibilities in favor of staying within a specialized career track (it happens–trust us!), speak to how you encourage and develop employees within their specialties when they choose not to advance into management positions. Every little detail helps the candidate form an attachment that can help them see themselves working for you.
3. Own Up To The Challenges
Whether you’re hiring for one of the Best Places to Work or a five-member startup, every workplace has its unique opportunities and challenges. By all means, entice candidates with what’s great about your company in the initial stages of the interview process, but toward the end of it you need to own up to the challenges, too. Not only will this transparency help a candidate make a decision that will be the best long-term fit, but being the recruiter or hiring manager who was honest and vulnerable will reflect well on your organization.
Here are several phrases that–when customized to your company’s situation–will show candidates you understand where they’re coming from:
- “Working here can be intense, but here’s what our associates have accomplished in the past…”
- “We know it will be a commute, but here are the perks we offer that will compensate for that…”
- “We aren’t paying what Google pays, but here’s why our employees think it’s worth it…”.
4. Don’t Get Clingy (And Other Soft Skills No-Nos)
You wouldn’t go on a second date with a person who called and emailed you to check in on how much you like them every few days, would you? So don’t make that mistake with an in-demand candidate, either. Follow up when you say you will and keep the conversation warm and energetic–not smothering and frantic.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t play it too cool or try to pressure a candidate into accepting an offer as is. Aloofness will only encourage a candidate to assume they’re not your first choice, and aggressive phrases like, “This is a very competitive offer, and it’s only available for seven days before we rescind it,” will have any candidate worth their salt rethinking the job.