#2 Recruitment Priority of 2016 – Filling Open Positions
According to our Recruiting Insights Study*, the second highest priority for recruiting and hiring professionals is managing the recruiting process in order to fill open positions (48% of respondents listed this as one of their top priorities). Previously, we discussed how to build out an effective sourcing strategy to draw in top talent and build out your pipeline. However, it is important to remember that a talented pipeline means nothing if you can’t convert your candidates into hires. Sourcing gives you the fuel, now you need an effective strategy in place to close those candidates.
Filling Positions Comes Down To Closing Candidates
Ultimately, filling an open position boils down to getting the best candidate to accept a job offer. Well, easier said than done, right? We already discussed the intense competition for sourcing candidates. This competition is only amplified in the job offer stage. Consider this – when you extend a job offer to a candidate, it should mean that they are the best available for the position. Chances are if you have identified them as such, other employers have as well. For this reason, when you extend an offer, know that your candidate likely has several others on the table.
Losing a Candidate in the Job Offer Stage is Costly
It is also important to remember that a job offer is far more than a one-time transaction. It is the culmination of weeks, or even months of work, sourcing candidates, vetting amongst them, and identifying the best fit. Because of this significant investment of time and resources, a rejected job offer is one of the costliest pitfalls in recruiting.
So how can you manage the job offer process to ensure that you control everything in your power to get your candidate to say yes? At Newton, we follow a 5-step approach that allows us to boost our offer acceptance rates. Below, we offer an overview of this process. You can also download our eBook covering this topic in more detail by clicking the button below.
1. The Intake
GI Joe said it best – knowing is half the battle. The most common mistake during the job offer stage is not collecting all of the essential information that will play a role in the candidate’s decision. To avoid this mistake, take a systematic approach to gathering a couple of must-have data points that constitute what we call “the intake.” Information that you should include in your intake is:
- Reason for looking (if active candidate)
- Ideal position going forward
- Expected future income
- Ability and willingness to commute to the office
- Relocation details (if appropriate)
- Desired start date
- Where are they in the job search process and when do they want to make a decision?
As the candidate provides you this information, be sure to record it in your applicant tracking system so that you can go back and reference it later.
2. The Pre-Close
If you think that closing a candidate only happens at the end of the recruiting process, your closing percentage is likely dismal. The reality is, closing a candidate happens well before the offer is presented. As Alec Baldwin preaches in the famous sales movie Glengarry Glen Ross, you need to follow the ABCs of sales – Always Be Closing.
Essential to the pre-close is addressing any discrepancies, objections, or concerns that your candidate may have. Be sure to reinforce the positives of the job that you are offering. Remind the candidate why they are interested and help move them along in their decision process. Topics we always address when pre-closing are:
- Interest Level
- How the Job Maps to Career Aspirations
- Commute Issues
- Desired Start Date
The best recruiters continue to build upon the data collected from the intake, confirm its accuracy, and sell it back to the candidate. This is called pre-closing a candidate and it plays the largest role on your offer acceptance rates. If you pre-close a candidate properly, there will be no uncertainty as to whether or not your candidate will accept the job offer. In fact, when pre-closing is done properly, you won’t even have to close candidates at the end.
3. The Verbal Offer
Once you are confident that you have successfully pre-closed your candidate, it is time to present the verbal offer. This initial offer should always be done over the phone. Extending an offer is a big moment often loaded with emotion and an email will feel underwhelming, impersonal, and even unprofessional. Additionally, the candidate will likely have some things to talk through with you, so you need to be present in real-time. Of course, the conversation surrounding your verbal offer should be natural and comfortable, but given its importance, have an agenda planned for presenting your verbal offer.
If the candidate expresses satisfaction with the offer details, ask for a verbal acceptance and be presumptive – “So you’re ready to accept the offer. I’ll put together the formal offer letter and get it out to you.” There is no reason to send the offer if you do not have a verbal acceptance. If the candidate won’t commit or needs time to consider the offer, identify the areas of concern so that you can address them going forward.
4. The Written Offer
As the saying goes, time is the enemy of all deals. Once your candidate has verbally accepted your offer, you must take them to the finish line quickly. To do so, set a timeline with actionable next steps. Let your candidate know when the offer will go out and how long they will have to accept it. The industry standard is 3 business days, with 1-2 days being preferable.
Never send out the written offer letter on a Friday. It’s unlikely that you will have all of the resources available to speak with a candidate over the weekend, should the need arise. This weekend “silence” can allow space for doubts to creep in.
5. The Offer Isn’t Closed Until the Candidate Starts
Until you see the whites of your candidate’s eyes on their first day, your job offer is not closed. A lot can happen between making a candidate an offer and their first day, especially in a competitive hiring economy. Once the offer is signed, the recruiter and the hiring manager should follow up with the candidate at least once a week until he or she starts. The longer the time period between acceptance and start date, the greater the risk of the candidate falling out, the most costly mistake (other than a horrible hire) in the recruiting world.
Following these 5 steps will allow you do everything in your power to ensure that the candidate accepts your job offer and you fill that open position.