Hiring the best talent, whether active or passive, requires exceptional recruiting skills. Part of this is overcoming objections at every stage in the recruiting funnel.
Converting passive candidates into interested prospects is the first step. The second step is convincing this group to become serious candidates and then converting these people into those who are ultimately hired. (Contact me to demo a prototype tool with scripts to handle all common objections.)
I make the contention that a good recruiter should never be surprised if an offer is rejected or accepted. In fact, you should never make an offer until you’re 100% sure it will be accepted and the person will not shop your offer around or accept a counteroffer. You do this by testing every aspect of the offer before formalizing it in writing.
How to test if a candidate is really serious about your job
Assuming the person has indicated serious interest after the first round of interviews, testing could be as simple as, “When do you think you could start if we could put together an acceptable offer?” There are a bunch of other tests of interest you should ask to get to this point, but the start date test is a great one to determine the likelihood of the person accepting a competitive offer from your company. If the person gives specific details about a start date it’s a sign he/she is quite interested. If the person is vague or non-committal, it’s clear he/she isn’t too serious about your job.
However, once you’ve identified a person who is a likely finalist and interested in your position, ask the person how your job ranks in comparison to other opportunities he/she is now considering on a 1-10 scale. Describe a 10 as a job the candidate clearly sees as superior to everything else being considered from a short- and long-term perspective. Describe an eight or nine as a job that is of serious interest and a six or seven as a remote possibility.
If you’ve done your sourcing and interviewing properly, the candidate will likely rank your opening somewhere in the eight-to-nine range. Then, ask the person what he/she would need to know to make your opening a 10 or the best among everything else being considered, including a potential counteroffer.
With this 1-10 test, you now know your chance of hiring the person and what you need to do to increase your odds. As long as the candidate is seriously interested, the person will likely mention the need for more information about resources, more clarification about the role, the upside opportunity, the leadership team, the hiring manager’s style, and the compensation and benefit package. Regardless, now you know what you need to address to close the deal.
Closing upon a concern is another test you can use to test the validity of the issue raised. For example, if the candidate is concerned that the resources available might be insufficient, say something like, “If we can address this to your satisfaction, would you be willing to become a finalist for this role?” If the candidate is vague about making this soft commitment, you can assume the concern is a smokescreen for a bigger problem. Of course, if the person agrees to this condition, you need to address the concern to the person’s satisfaction.
As long as you properly test all aspects of your offer, you should never be surprised when it’s accepted or rejected. More important, never make the offer formal until everything about it has been discussed and agreed upon as a condition for proceeding. Too many recruiters gloss over these tough discussions and lose out on hiring the best for preventable reasons. The best recruiters, on the other hand, proactively seek them out and address them one by one.
It’s important that when it comes to hiring the strongest talent, the end game is not sourcing and not interviewing, it’s closing the deal on fair and equitable terms.