The top 10 factors you want candidates to consider when evaluating your
Passive candidates are, by definition, people who are not currently looking for a job. Despite this, most
people in this category would be willing to discuss a new career
opportunity if it offered some significant upside opportunity.
Since people in this category aren't looking, you
need to contact them, usually be phone. Getting them to call you
back is far less than certain, and in most cases, those who do call
you back aren't appropriate for the job at hand.
Remember, just because someone is a passive
candidate doesn't mean the person is talented. Even if the person is
talented, there are a host of factors that need to be addressed
before the person is considered a viable prospect. These include
things like location, compensation, and job fit.
However, if you can get past all of this and have
found the perfect passive candidate for your job opening, make sure
you don't blow it using unsophisticated recruiting skills. I've
written previously about the fact that top performers use a
multi-factor process when deciding whether to accept one job offer or another. Recruiters
and hiring managers can use a similar approach when recruiting these
Too many companies, managers, and recruiters
emphasize the wrong things when closing and negotiating offers. If
you're seeing more counter-offers being accepted or candidates
rejecting your offers for different reasons, it could be because
you're not using a sufficiently broad multi-factor closing process.
There has been a wave of recent media coverage on
recruiting, hiring, and developing top performers that sheds great
insight into the idea of using this type of broad-based close.
For example, the lead article in the August 20
Business Week was titled "The Future of Work." It
highlighted the idea that learning, the opportunity to grow, and the
quality of life were more important than compensation when younger
professionals were comparing jobs.
In the September 17 Wall Street Journal Online, there was a
series on how major
companies fared this past year in recruiting the best MBAs. One key
point showed that more information was less important than more
personalization. This reinforces the idea that both recruiters and
line managers need to be more involved in order to differentiate
themselves and their jobs in order to attract to the best.
The lead story in the October issue of
Fortune magazine was "How to Become a Great Leader" and
what the world's best companies are doing to develop their own.
Do you think a top passive candidate would be
willing to explore a new opportunity that offered the chance to get
on a faster career track with a company that was recognized as a
leader in developing talent?
Even if your company is not one of the companies
mentioned in these articles, don't you think that your candidate
should evaluate your opportunity from this same benchmark? This is
one of the primary factors that the best people consider when
comparing opportunities. You might want to use it as part of how you
get candidates to look at the complete opportunity your job represents.
Done properly, you'll be able to position your offer
as the best among the rest. You'll also reduce the potential of a
counter-offer in the bargain.
With this in mind, here are the top 10 factors I'd
want my candidates to consider when evaluating my opportunity in
comparison to others the person is considering:
The job fit. It's important that
the primary emphasis of the job taps into the candidate's real
motivating interests. If the fit isn't right here, nothing else matters.
The job stretch. The new job
needs to offer immediate stretch. For a manager, this could be a
bigger team or a more critical project. For a staff person, this
could be working on new technology or learning new skills. For an
executive, it might be a chance to be in a new market or handle a
Opportunity for future learning and growth. The long-term or
strategic aspects of the position need to be directly addressed.
There is a need to demonstrate that the person will be offered
additional opportunities to stay on a faster track as long as
the person performs at a high level.
The chance to make an impact.
The work must be important. People will take lesser roles or
offset compensation if they feel they're part of something bigger.
The hiring manager as mentor.
This could be the most important factor of all. Working for a
mentor and true leader is a critical factor on every top
performer's decision list. Proof is required as well as the hiring
manager's involvement in the recruiting process.
The quality of the team. The quality of the person's future
co-workers, and likely new friends, is a critical aspect of
on-the-job success and satisfaction. Emphasize this factor
during the hiring process.
The company's prospects and
strategy. Even if a company is not on one of the "best
places" lists, it must still demonstrate it's a great organization
with a strong future. If the job itself can be tied to a major
company strategy, it's even better.
The company culture. While
everyone can't be Google, make the comparison. As part of this,
address your unusual approaches to work, any non-traditional
benefits, and anything that makes you unique in your industry.
Work/life balance. You can't
just talk about it, you need to prove that your company endorses
it. This could be in the form of testimonials and open
discussions. While people will work hard doing work they enjoy,
quality of life is an important aspect of the decision-making process.
The compensation and benefits.
As long as the compensation and benefit package are competitive,
you don't have to overpay. In many cases, compensation becomes a
bigger issue when companies haven't differentiated themselves on
the other factors involved in the decision.
If your job is not clearly superior on the first
nine factors described above, tell your candidate to walk away from
it. Of all of the factors listed, compensation correlates the least
with job satisfaction. This is a great closing point. Emphasize it
again and again.
Tell your candidates not to accept the job with the
highest compensation, but the one that scores the highest on all of
the other critical factors. Why not prepare a table that includes
all of these factors? Include on the table your job opening, other
opportunities the candidate is considering, the person's current
job, and a potential counter-offer.
During the interviewing and recruiting process,
collaborate with your candidate on accurately filling in the table.
If you're offering the best career opportunity it will stand out and
you'll certainly be able to increase your close rate as a result.
Even the process of completing the table will help you retain
candidate interest throughout the process. In fact, use the idea of
getting more information as a way to entice reluctant candidates to
come back in for another round of interviews.
Recruiting top-performing passive candidates is hard
work. Too many recruiters waste their time focusing on the wrong
issues. Recognizing how top people make career decisions provides a
roadmap on how to make the hard work involved productive and