As a headhunter, there are few things more frustrating than having your lead candidate decline your offer.
As the economy continues to pick up, candidates have more and more options in the market for new opportunities.Companies have increased their hiring of agency qualified positions ($75k+ salary), and more opportunities means that closing candidates is becoming more and more critical.
In this post, we will cover five key methods of top employers and headhunters ensuring that their close rates approach 100%.
1. Communication between the Employer & Headhunter.
It’s important for employers and headhunters to get on the same page at the start of every search. What does the interview process looks like? What are the target timelines? But one key step that is typically glossed over is the offer process. Maximizing offer acceptance starts with making sure both parties, the employer and headhunter, are on the same page regarding who will own which steps. Waiting to clarify this until a candidate is deep in the process can be a critical error.
2. Understand the candidate’s motivation.
It is critical that the owner of making the offer fully understands why the candidate is looking for a new job and what aspects generate excitement and concern. For example, a deep understanding of what is unfulfilling about their current role must be discovered early in the process in order to truly understand what will drive their decision to leave.
Of course knowing what they like is just as critical. How serious is the candidate about making a change? What are key factors that will drive this life changing event? For example, if your potential candidate’s only reason for leaving their current role is compensation, you could anticipate higher risk of a last minute squash of the deal due to a counter offer. What other key aspects of the role and employer company need to be highlighted during the interview and offer processes?
3. The Headhunter must pre-close the candidate.
Pre-closing the candidate is a critical step in ensuring a candidate accepts an offer. It consists of the headhunter consulting with the candidate about the potential upcoming offer to uncover any and all objections or concerns. But most importantly, getting commitment from the candidate that an acceptance is guaranteed if the offer reaches a specific level and includes key details.
The headhunter will say “If I am able to get the employer to offer you $XYZ, will you accept?” or “What would prevent you from accepting the offer?” It’s essential to uncover all factors including, family influence, region preferences, professional growth opportunities, etc. Uncovering the candidate’s feelings about all variables earlier in the process always increases the chances of eventual acceptance.
When the previous steps are followed, an offer is never presented without confidence of acceptance. However, that doesn’t mean any corners should be shortcut. It is important to take the time to include anything and everything that could be considered a selling point or deciding factor, including: the full compensation package which goes beyond just salary, medical benefits, bonuses, 401(k), PTO, holidays, perks (“we provide bagels every Wednesday”, “we leave at 4pm every Friday”), etc.
5. Follow up.
Work is not complete once the candidate accepts an offer. In many cases, this is just the beginning. Coaching and even role playing with a candidate on how to give notice to their current employer and how to respond to any potential counter offers can save the day. Helping the candidate orient themselves with their new town, recommending services they can use to assist in moving, or offering a relocation package can go a long way with candidates who will be relocating.
Following up with the candidate before and after their first day helps to ensure not only are they all set for their first day but limits last minute hiccups.
Have you ever been surprised when a candidate declined an offer? Are you often guessing whether a candidate will accept? Or do you close nearly 100%?!! What is your top tip for closing candidates? We always like hearing from you; any comments below, on Twitter @bountyjobs, or LinkedIn are all welcome.