Closing candidates is a combination of art and science. Here are some recruiting hacks specific to closing candidates on job offers collected from our team (we’ve got some closers at Newton).
CLOSING STARTS WITH A GOOD INTAKE
The data collected from the initial call or interview (we call this an intake) with a candidate is the most important data you’ll gather during the recruiting process. When talking to a potential job candidate about an open position, make sure to get their entire story. Find out why the candidate is looking for a new position, or if they’re a passive candidate, find out why they are open to a change? Ask questions to get at what the candidate is looking to do next in their career. It’s important to find out everything about a candidate’s current situation and future aspirations to determine not only if they will be a fit for the position, but if they will have a future at the company. Later, before you present the offer to the applicant, go back through all of your intake notes. Map key pieces of information gathered from the intake to the opportunity. In a natural, familiar way, this keeps the applicant focused on issues most important to them.
Don’t be naive. You’re not the only employer your top candidate is interviewing with. It’s important to keep candidates engaged throughout the entire recruiting process and even after they’ve officially accepted the offer. The best way to do this is to plan a reason to reach out to key applicants daily, or at least every few days. Send them interesting links and relevant company news, call to share some internal news or the announcement of a new hire and don’t be afraid to call to reconfirm an interview. As you get closer to the offer ask how the candidate they will react to another offer from a different employer or a counteroffer from their present manager. And, remember, until the candidate shows up on day one, they’re not closed. Keep contacting the candidate frequently until their first day.
THE PRESUMPTIVE CLOSE
There’s a technique in sales called the “presumptive close,” which basically assumes the decision has been made, and asks how to proceed. In recruiting you say things like “So, when can you start?” rather than “Are you going to accept the offer? or “What do you think about the offer?”. The presumptive close is effective and typically removes the obstacle of a defensive yes/no position from the candidate. If the candidate is genuinely interested in the job, they will give you a start date. If you still have more work to do, you’ll get a reply like “Well, I need to talk to my spouse about this” implying that they are not yet ready to make a decision about the job and you’ve got more work to do.