Close Candidates as the Job Market Heats Up

I recently read a Q&A-focused article on how to effectively leverage multiple job offers. On the one hand, it was a little surprising to read such a lengthy discussion given that unemployment numbers are still quite high in many areas. However, it was also a refreshing sign that the job market is picking up and individuals are starting to have more choices. As a recruiter, I viewed this discussion through the lens of an employer rather than the fortunate individuals grappling with the decision of which offer to accept. My first thought was, “Do employers realize that candidates now have competing offers?” It has been quite awhile since most hiring managers have had to deal with this type of competition.

As competition for talent starts to heat-up it’s important to pre-close throughout the process. It has been my experience that candidates are generally open to having a frank and honest discussion about their expectations and desires during the initial conversation regarding an employment opportunity. This is the point in the pre-screening process where candidates are learning more about the specifics of the position and recruiters or hiring managers have an opportunity to start gathering pre-close information. For instance, employers should be asking:

  • Why is the candidate looking for a new opportunity?
  • What is lacking in his/her current job?
  • What are the salary expectations?
  • What other companies are in the mix and how far along are they in the process?
  • How does the employer compare to the competition? OR other employers in the mix?
  • What are the candidate’s priorities – salary, location, time off, recognition, level of responsibility, and so forth?

It is critical to have these discussions up front. As the interview process continues responses generally become more guarded and calculated.

Every time the recruiter or hiring manager talks to the candidate, expectations and the potential employee’s specific situation should be checked, understood and rechecked. Any concerns should be addressed, potential issues identified and resolved, and competition evaluated prior to the final interview. If there are competing offers the recruiter or hiring manager should not be surprised as a plan to handle any contingencies should have already been developed. As the desired candidate walks into the final interview, employers should possess a high degree of confidence that a reasonable offer can be made and that the candidate will accept it. Also, remember what sets your organization apart as an employer of choice so that you are able to effectively communicate those benefits to the top candidate.

If you are planning to start the hiring process you may also benefit from reading our blog tips regarding questions to ask during the interview process, how to research candidates on the Internet as well as more recruiting planning ideas and advice.

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As a recruiter, I’m exposed to new opportunities and information on a daily basis. I thrive on learning about new industries, new technology, new positions—and then using what I’ve learned to help make a great candidate-company match.