Highly desirable candidates know that they’re in demand. They can bank on their relationships and professional equity in a big way. And due to our increasing interconnectedness, top candidates know about more opportunities and get more job offers. It is safe to assume that your top candidates are weighing your company and geography against other opportunities and locations.
Recently, I have seen several remarkable candidates recruited by as many as five companies and receive up to three offers simultaneously. As the economy recovers, these ‘top picks’ will be harder to land. The more time that passes in their recruitment experience, the more opportunity there is for their interest to cool, or for a better offer to snatch them away.
How To Preempt Multiple Offers For Your ‘Big Fish.’
For best effect, implement these tactics early.
- Know their needs. After weeding out the tire-kickers, strive to understand the underlying personal motivations and professional interests of your top candidates. Take a holistic view. Lifestyle, family, and career goals influence candidates’ choices about their next moves. Consider how your opportunity may integrate with your candidate’s life.
- Be discerning. Avoid making job offers based solely on reputation. Past success does not guarantee the same in the future; circumstances will differ. Fully evaluate the candidate in the context of your specific needs and culture. Competent candidates like to know that care was taken in their hiring.
- Don’t delay. Candidate-interest has a ‘shelf life.’ Significant delay hampers your recruiting ability. Make progress each day. For example, if you interview a candidate by phone on Monday, schedule a face-to-face before the end of the week. If travel gets in the way, fly to the candidate. If there is a strong track record of success, and alignment with your needs and culture, don’t make the candidate wait just so you can see who else may be out there. Initial interest, no matter how authentic, is subject to change.
Conversely, set a clear time limit on your offer. Your candidate will appreciate the clarity. Aside from reflecting well on your company’s overall communication, an expiration date will also minimize your chances of losing out to your competition.
- Show them love. Keep tabs on where they are in the process with other opportunities. Revisit their motivations. Address questions and concerns as they come up. Recognize that making a move has to make financial sense as well. Relocation needs and financial expectations may vary by cost-of-living differences and family requirements in different regions. Try to remain unbiased without underselling your opportunity. It is okay to help them compare and contrast their opportunities; reflect your knowledge of their interests and motivations.
- Put your best foot forward. As you seek to understand candidate expectations, set your own expectations around salary, relocation, and other benefits. Avoid excess negotiation; your offer should faithfully reflect your understanding of their needs and goals. Don’t just let the recruiter or HR deliver the offer. After giving the offer, a call from the hiring executive can have a meaningful impact and reinforce: why the offer is being made; the impact the candidate will have in the role; and your team’s excitement for working with him or her.
Activate and Amplify Your Recruiting Effort
The traditional ‘post and pray’ process is no longer enough. The best candidates are the ones least likely to see your post. In addition to posting, leverage your internal employee referral networks to expand your reach. Connect personally with your most trusted contacts to spread the word. If you do not hear back, follow up. Taking time to follow through on recruiting efforts will improve your chances of landing that ‘Big Fish.’
What Do You Think?
Have you been experiencing a more competitive market for top talent as the economy picks up? If so, tell us about your experience and describe the steps you have taken to land ‘big fish’ for your company.