How to get winning candidates across the line
Posted on 1st September 2023
You’ve invested in a recruitment campaign, completed the interviews and found your winning candidate. However, your vacancy remains stubbornly unfilled. Why?
Recruiting the right candidate isn’t easy
For many company owners and managers recruitment is a challenge. Even with the help of a recruitment agency, you have to specify the job role and your requirements for qualifications and experience. Your vacancy must be promoted and shared in all the right places to attract good quality candidates. After shortlisting you’ll hold interviews, possibly run skills tests, and follow up references. It all takes time and resources. After all that effort, the worst outcome is when your winning candidate refuses your job offer.
How to get winning candidates to say ‘yes’
Currently, employment and job vacancies are down, and unemployment and redundancies increasing you might think there isn’t a problem.
However, you want to attract excellent candidates who demonstrate flexibility, initiative and resilience. The calibre of person who will make a difference to your business is always in short supply.
You need a fast and effective process to persuade A-grade candidates to make their next career move to your business. Simple formulas and standard employment packages simply won’t attract the best candidates any more. The key is a clear and effective recruitment plan and there’s a lot to think about.
Salary and benefits – you must give serious thought to what will be an attractive salary offer for an exceptional candidate. The recruitment marketplace is very competitive and salary information more transparent than ever. The best candidates know their worth and so do other employers.
You might propose a salary range based on qualifications and experience. An offer that isn’t close to the top of the range is likely to disappoint your preferred candidate. A ‘competitive’ salary and benefits package based on rigid salary banding can easily result in rejection.
If your salary offer isn’t compelling your candidates will continue job hunting. Alternatively, they might simply use it to negotiate with a current employer or another company.
In today’s market, you should expect to make clear offers tailored to meet the expectations of your winning candidates.
Standing out from your competitors – job hunters are becoming more selective about their career moves. Prospective candidates have many ways to let employers know they’re available. Many take the process very seriously and could send their CV to multiple potential employers every day. They might discuss opportunities with several different companies at the same time.
Businesses are continually improving their recruitment processes. Recruitment agencies have candidate databases and can search for talent every day. They can contact candidates they already know, even a year after first meeting them. The best candidates stay on the radar with good employers and recruiters.
Most candidates will ultimately make decisions based on what will benefit them the most. You might feel it’s unethical to continue attending interviews once you’ve made an offer. However, if the date is already in the diary it’s not unreasonable for them to keep their appointments.
You need to have something outstanding to say to them. They might eventually receive more than one offer, so understanding what’s likely to make yours most attractive is important.
Prepare for criticism – employees post reviews of their current and previous employers. Find out what they have said about your company. If you can find negative comments, potential candidates can too. Take criticism seriously and explain how you have addressed concerns.
Making a good first impression – you must take the recruitment process as seriously as your candidates. If administration and communication are poor, candidates will question whether they want to work for your company. If the interview process is unwelcoming or overly complex, it will affect their impression of the working environment. Make sure you have a good story to tell about why candidates should choose to work for you. The whole recruitment process must back this up.
Perfect timing – you have a lot to do, so you might postpone making a decision, calling the candidate or sending a written offer. However, taking those steps promptly is very important. Candidates think slow responses are disrespectful, whether they are successful or not. They are very likely to share their views with others and that could damage your reputation as an employer. The best candidates won’t wait for you. They certainly won’t agree to a lower offer after a delay, so this isn’t a tactic worth considering. Make your best offer as soon as possible and complete the process quickly.
A checklist to successfully recruit your winning candidate
Be clear and transparent about the job role and the employment package you’re offering.
Have an open mind about the personal and job-related skills you’re looking for. If training is an option consider candidates who have different backgrounds or have just completed their exams.
Simplify your process as far as possible. Don’t include multiple stages or additional interviews unless they’re really necessary.
Allocate time in the interview process to describe what it’s like to work at your company. Include your personal experiences to show how their career could progress. If the candidate was recommended by a current employee ask them to contribute.
Explain the process and stay in touch with your candidates. Call, text or email them when you say you will and let them know what will happen next.
If you have several good candidates but only one vacancy ask others if you could contact them if another opportunity comes up.
In summary, treat your candidates with respect, make the best offer you can straight away and move ahead quickly.
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