So, you’ve finally found a worthy candidate to fill an opening. Congratulations! Now, you’ve got to close the deal and bring them on board. In today’s challenging hiring environment where there are more jobs than candidates, job seekers have a lot of options. You’re going to have to do some selling yourself if you want to land the top recruits.
Whether you are trying to land someone for your business or you are a professional recruiter trying to close a deal, here are the keys to shifting the odds in your favour.
Understand What Job Candidates Really Want
For years, job seekers had to sell you on why they’re right for the job. In today’s climate, you’ve got to demonstrate the value you provide candidates to land them. That starts with understanding what motivates job seekers.
While salary and title are important, we’re seeing much more diversity in what workers today are looking for. More than half of job candidates say flexibility is a top consideration when they are considering a job offer. Another third of those surveyed said flexible hours, remote work, or hybrid working arrangements were among their top three concerns. Another survey of Australian workers reported that 84% of employees said working from home is a competitive advantage for companies trying to hire. If that’s why your top candidate is looking for, you had better make sure your company offers that.
During the pandemic, how employees were treated often determined whether companies were successful. This went well beyond just providing a paycheck. Employers had a much deeper appreciation for employees on a personal level and made accommodations and adjustments for personal situations, such as family commitments. When you deeply understand what a candidate is looking for, what they need to make things work for them beyond the job, and zero in on their challenges, hopes, and dreams, you can focus your sales pitch on what they want — not what you need.
This means you’ll need to go deeper to uncover these hopes and dreams. That takes active listening skills to hear what candidates are saying as well as what’s not being said. Done right, this helps you find their true motivations. At the same time, you are building trust with your candidates.
Don’t make assumptions either. Not everyone wants remote work. Some want to work in the office every day. Some are looking for more responsibility, better benefits, a better title, more challenging work, a greater sense of purpose, career advancement opportunities, or maybe even just more money. Take the time to find out what drives your job candidate to help frame your offer.
Clearly Communicate the Benefits
Once you’ve determined their hopes and dreams, you need to clearly communicate the benefits and how your organisation will help them achieve their goals. When you tailor your approach to what’s important to them, you are demonstrating your willingness to work with them to achieve their goals.
Be succinct in communicating the most important points that will connect with them as an individual to improve your chances of landing top performers. You need to answer the WIIFM question — What’s In It for Me? — by telling candidates what your organisation does to meet their goals.
Be transparent about the benefits of working for your organisation. Candidates can tell when you’re trying to gloss over reality and it can damage the potential relationship. Be direct about what you can and can’t offer.
The benefits may go much deeper than what you might traditionally think. Don’t underestimate your company’s reputation, the corporate culture that exists, and your approach to things like diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Although Australian business leaders are split on whether DEI programs are increasing diversity, a commitment to DEI initiatives is increasingly becoming important to job seekers.
Know Your Limitations
Before you begin your negotiations, you must know where you can negotiate and within what limits. You generally know your salary range and have a good idea of where you can be flexible with pay and where you have to draw the line. However, you need to know what’s doable and what’s a deal-breaker.
For example, if you’re not going to allow remote or hybrid work, then there’s no point discussing it. You are better off screening candidates out for that early in the conversation to avoid wasting time.
Knowing your limitations helps you be more precise in what you can offer and how you negotiate. It can also speed up the process, because you don’t need to check with someone else or appear indecisive.
Learn from Your Sales Team
When you’re trying to land candidates, you can learn from your sales team about how they approach customers.
Great sales teams know how to listen, understand a customer’s problems and desires, and create customised solutions. Along the way, they are actively working to connect with customers and gain their trust, look for buying signals, and overcome objections.
Gain Trust & Credibility
Connecting on a personal level is key to establishing credibility and gaining someone’s trust. The more you know them, understand their motivations, and frame your offer to help them achieve their goals, the more likely you will be seen as trustworthy.
Providing evidence to back up what you’re saying also produces trust. For example, if a job candidate is focusing on career advancement opportunities within your organisation, don’t just say we do annual reviews, tell them stories about how quickly certain individuals were promoted with specific examples. If they are looking for an opportunity to grow and improve their skills, let them know about your training programs.
Look for Buying Signals
In the sales process, sellers are always listening for buying signals. These signals can be subtle and verbal or even nonverbal. When sales teams recognise these signals, they stop selling and try to close the deal.
The same strategy applies to trying to get a commitment from a job seeker. Buying signals might include asking questions about details, such as asking pointed questions about salaries, benefits, promotional opportunities, or start dates.
Of course, the best way to overcome objections is to handle them before your job candidate brings them up. That’s another benefit from active listening and engagement, because you’ll already know the issues that may be problematic, so you can address them head-on. Candidates may not share their concerns without prompting, so the more you understand their goals, the better prepared you will be to deal with them.
When you’re robotically going into your elevator speech about how great your company is or what a wonderful opportunity you have, you may actually be creating more objections. Instead, stop pitching and listen more. Your goal is about aligning your opportunity with your candidate’s goals.
When you get an objection from a job seeker, don’t ignore it. Acknowledge the objection and empathise with them. For example, if the objection is about salary, let them know you understand and appreciate their concern and that you might feel the same way in their position. Then, probe to find out why. In many cases, you can overcome the salary objection by explaining the other benefits associated with the job.
Ask clarifying questions to get to the heart of the matter. Salespeople know that when a customer says something is too expensive, it’s not really about the price. It’s about the value. Finding out what value they need to realize is essential to making the sale.
Overcoming objections requires you to provide a simple solution that mitigates their concern. It may take several attempts to overcome their objections, so if you don’t get it the first time, go back and acknowledge, empathise, probe more deeply, and provide your solution until you overcome the objection.
Closing the Deal: Hiring Top Candidates
Finding the right candidate for your job in today’s labour market is challenging. When you find the one you want, make sure you know what it takes to land them and get them on board. To do so, you must understand their goals and craft your offer to meet them. By taking the time to learn their motivations and desires, you can more clearly explain the benefits you have to offer and overcome their objections.