“One and done interview process. Make an offer $20K over their preferred salary range. Thank you, and goodnight.”
This is what my colleague said in response to my blog topic. While it seems like this could work in some circumstances, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
I saw this exact tactic backfire in a hiring process in 2020. The client moved swiftly with one 30-minute virtual interview and made an offer that was $15K over the candidate’s current salary and $10K over what she wanted, but she turned them down. Why? Well, this candidate felt uncomfortable with the pace of the process. To her it felt rushed. She felt like a commodity and that her personality/soft skills were an afterthought to the employer because she checked their boxes on paper.
3 years’ experience in Big 4 (check)
A pulse (check)
The result of implementing the hiring tactic above left the candidate with the impression that they were desperate (which they weren’t) and they ultimately lost their first-choice candidate because they had failed to establish a personal connection with her.
Throwing money at a problem is not the answer when addressing a wide-spread national employment shortage for skilled workers. Here are some tips that I provide to my clients to implement into their interview processes and help them win the “war on talent.”
Hint: It’s not JUST about the offer…
1. Empower your recruiting team (whether internal or external) to be your company’s biggest cheerleader:
Information is power. It can feel daunting to schedule that 20-minute call with your recruiter to “discuss the role” when you already sent them the job description and the salary range. Those two items help, but they’re often the least important part for me as a recruiter. I want to know about what sets your company, your department, the management team, and the culture apart from the 10 other jobs that our candidates are considering.
Trust me—they don’t know you’re a flexible manager, who encourages mentorship and continued education. Or that this position is earmarked for growth in 12 months and your company has paid out 120% of bonus target for the last 3 years if they only have the job description!
I can promise you that I find more thoroughly vetted, highly qualified candidates for opportunities when I have a greater understanding of what makes a career at your company and not simply a job.
2. It’s ok to KISS on the interview:
Keep It Simple Stupid!
Unless this job is working for the FBI, you don’t need an assessment to find out if that Financial Analyst can create a pivot table, just ask them. Assessments prolong the interview process and often leave the candidates feeling unsettled.
Use your time to get to know your applicants. A personal connection with the hiring manager substantially increases your chance of landing your top candidate.
Make sure the interview is both informational and conversational. Also, being in this digital age, try to consolidate interview steps in order to avoid a long and broken interview experience for the candidate.
Don’t assume that they know why your company is the best—tell them! And, if you really like them, set the expectation for a second interview (or offer) before they leave.
3. In dating and interviewing, the “Three-Day-Rule” need not apply:
You know the one. When you really like someone, but you don’t want to come on too strong you have to wait 3 days to follow up with them.
Many in-demand candidates are on and off the job market in 2 weeks or less with multiple job offers. This is not the time to play coy. If you are working on an offer, make sure your recruiting partners know this. Again—knowledge is power! Knowing that an offer is in process can prompt the candidate to stop setting up other interviews, thus increasing your chances of acceptance further.
4. The Secret:
Before you make the offer, two things should be discussed. First, what number is the candidate expecting? Second, what will this same job pay at your competitors?
Do. Not. Start. Low.
This is an outdated and completely offensive offer tactic. This is a fast way to turn someone off.
The winning offers right now are at a fair market rate (which has gone up significantly in the last 18 months), with competitive benefits, and a connection to the company and hiring manager. That’s the secret.
5. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again:
Candidates often have multiple offers and while it hurts to be rejected when you did everything right—don’t rest on the search. The right candidate will accept if you stay the course.