If you have been keeping your eye on the recruitment industry of late you will have seen that right now (and probably for the foreseeable future) the market is increasingly all about the candidate. Even a cursory look at LinkedIn or a recruitment website will show you that the hot topics in recruitment these days are candidate driven market, talent acquisition, attracting key performers etc… the ye olde days of a simple “tell me why you want this job” are history.
So what does this mean for you?
The truth is that, the whole dynamic of interviewing is changing. All candidates are highly sought after; the recruitment market is getting busier every day and the best candidates are receiving more than one offer. Not only that, savvy employers with an ear for the market know how the land lies so are offering more and more incentives to their star employees to stay put. If you think that interviewing perspective candidates is all about them persuading you, I am afraid that you may have to rethink your interviewing strategy. With increasing competition for candidates, more and more it is up to you to take action at interview to sell your opportunity and ensure that any offer you make will be accepted. Can you imagine anything worse than investing hours and hours finding that perfect candidate, only for them to turn down your offer? All you could do is make an offer to your second choice or (sigh) start the recruitment process all over again; with no guarantees of success.
I know what you’re thinking – “But I’m not a salesman…”. Don’t worry; there is an easy and effective two step strategy to persuade any potential candidate to accept your offer;
1. Understand their reason for leaving.
2. Tell them how you can solve it.
Step One – Understand their reason for leaving
Before you even decide which candidates to invite for interview you must be clear on their reason for leaving (what problem do they have in their current role). Maybe they have no room to progress or no exposure to senior management decisions. Specifically ask your recruiter about each and every candidate they present to you; they should be able to articulate this to you in a few short sentences. Use this as part of your screening process to decide which candidates to invite for interview; think about your opportunity and whether it could solve their problem. At each and every stage of your recruitment process it is essential that you are clear about why your candidate wants to leave their last role and what you could do to solve this.
It is as straightforward as this; if you know that the candidate wants more exposure to technical accounting and you can talk about the technical responsibilities of the job. If you know that the candidate wants the opportunity to influence senior level decisions, go into detail about when they would attend board meetings. If you know that the candidate wants progression, tell them all about how the last incumbent was promoted within 18 months.
Imagine, you are recruiting for a stand alone management accountant role and your recruiter presents you the CV of the best, most experienced management accounting in the history of accountancy. Your recruiter dutifully explains that their reason for leaving is that they currently have to work alone and miss being part of a team (aww). Should you waste your time (and theirs) interviewing them for your stand alone role? Maybe….but you will need to overcome the reason for leaving (which is often only done using cold hard cash). If you can’t solve their reason for leaving they may not be the candidate for you.
Step Two – Tell them how you can solve it
So, you are interviewing a potential candidate and you know why they want to leave their last role. The interview goes on; maybe you like them, maybe you don’t. However you feel now it is essential that you TALK ABOUT how you can solve their problem.
In any interview spend a minimum (and I stress the word minimum) of ten minutes talking about how your role and organisation can solve their problem. Just because your company has a whole heap of benefits that you love, don’t assume that this alone will secure the star candidate you are interviewing; you have to solve THEIR reason for leaving. Last year I represented an exceptionally talented candidate who simply adored their car (and I mean kissed it goodnight adored it) who was desperate to find a senior accounting role with the on site parking his current employer lacked. My client secured him by taking him on a tour of the office at interview, and pointing to the reserved car parking space not 3 feet away from what would soon be his office window. However big or small, famous or niche your company is you are in direct competition with every other company out there for the best of the best so if you don’t explain why they should join you, well the best of the best could be tempted elsewhere.
The interview may well be the only chance you have to sell your opportunity and make each and every interviewee love your job. It doesn’t matter if, having met all of the candidates and given it some serious thought you decide that this particular candidate isn’t quite right for this role – it is always better to have several people desperate to join you then be left with no options at all. When the candidate leaves your interview you want their interest level to be at it highest, this will make them more likely to accept your offer and (even if they are not quite right for this role) they will happily talk positively about your organisation to others.
If you follow these steps the best candidate for your job is much more likely to accept an offer for your job. If you don’t follow these simple steps you risk having your offer rejected on loosing out on the best candidate for you, putting your team under undue pressure and causing damage to your own career.
It shouldn’t be that tricky- you’re a great boss, you’ve got a fantastic team behind you and you love where you work! So what are you waiting for? The next time you are recruiting and need to secure the best candidate for job- ask about their reason for leaving and tell them how you can solve it.