Top talent is in short supply—it’s been that way in the technology market for years and demographic trends indicate we can expect further tightening of the talent pool. The current economy makes it tougher to recruit passive candidates. Economic woes add to the challenge of landing high caliber talent who are often–but not always–gainfully employed.
Today’s economic downturn is impacting everyone, including people who have great jobs. Soaring gas and food prices are having a direct impact on everyone’s finances. Credit is tightening. On paper, people are often seeing a sizable chunk of their assets—home equity in particular—decline. Some of these trends are new and all cause levels of concern and caution when evaluating opportunities. Smart employers are mitigating candidate concerns not by words but by facts and action.
Why would a high caliber individual who has a great job jump ship?
That’s the question organizations who excel at landing talent keep top of mind. Getting to know your candidate from both a ‘resume’ as well as ‘personal’ perspective will go miles towards getting them to say ‘yes’ to your opportunity.
People change jobs because they view the move as a better opportunity and better fit. The chance to work with people they like and respect, the ability to work in a better environment, to earn more money, for more opportunity down the road, a chance at creating personal wealth.
Organizations that excel at attracting talent sell candidates on the whole package and make every effort to mitigate their concerns and issues.
Changing jobs is both an analytical and emotional experience
When trying to close a candidate, most hiring teams concentrate on the analytics—the increase in compensation, the increased responsibilities – and neglect the emotional and intangible elements that factor into a job change.
Evaluating compensation purely from an analytical perspective is pretty straightforward. There’s an abundance of aggregated data from Radcliff, Mercer and others that can tell you a great deal about what people are earning.
But that data doesn’t tell you what it will take to land a particular candidate. It doesn’t factor in a candidate’s perceived risks of a move. And, the data doesn’t speak to what an individual’s contribution to the enterprise is worth.
At the end of the day, candidates will accept offers they believe are in line with the level of risk they are being asked to take. Just like your house, despite all the comps and market data, it is worth what someone is willing to pay.
Less tangible than compensation, and more important in higher level roles, is the candidate’s assessment of the opportunity. Employers who think about what’s in it for a candidate–where the growth is for them, how this move will make them more marketable and valuable in the workforce–win.
Accepted offers take into account and address a candidate’s desires and concerns Equally important and most often overlooked is the emotional connection to the company. It’s surprising how many candidates are put through a process that doesn’t include any time to connect on a personal level. The best talent magnets have lunch, dinner or drinks with a candidate and make every attempt to bond with them on a personal level. After all, a great percentage of a person’s time is spent at work—it’s a wonderful thing if you like the people you work with.
The most talented individuals have built up a war chest of personal capital that they are leave behind when they change jobs—jump starting the feeling that they are backed and supported should they decide to join your firm will go a long way in reducing that piece of a candidate’s concern.
Increasingly, top talent is demanding more perks that add up to an improvement in their overall well being—the ability to work from home, a reduction in travel, and more vacation time.
What’s your opportunity?
Everyone in the interview process should be both listening to a candidate’s needs as well as selling the opportunity. Putting time into developing a compelling pitch around your particular opportunity, starting with the job description, and keeping your team on message generates candidate enthusiasm.
If your team can’t express that this is a great opportunity, you are not going to be in a strong position to close your candidates.
Putting time and attention into the closing process yields great results
If you are fortunate enough to get to a place where you are negotiating an offer, being highly attuned to the emotional elements that a candidate is wrestling with puts you at an advantage. Speaking on a daily basis, deeply questioning what the drivers are in any particular issue and remaining supportive are key. On the analytical side, put your best offer forward out the shoot and express it as such.
Creatively mitigating a candidate’s issues and motivations can be instrumental during the closing phase. Those hiring managers who delegate the offer phase exclusively to recruiters or HR are going to be on the losing end of the deal. While each can and should play a key role, candidates expect interaction with the hiring executive during this phase.
Once the offer is accepted, it’s time to do another lunch—the standard two week notice period is a lifetime in terms of counter offers and new offers. Keeping your candidate close and engaged in your opportunity is key to ensuring they don’t change their minds.