​How to Close Candidates Effectively (Hiring Manager Series)

​How to Close Candidates Effectively (Hiring Manager Series)

Posted on 11 April 2022

If you’re an experienced recruiter, you’ll know that you’re practically dealing in sales. The difference is that you’re not selling a product or a service — you’re selling a position in a company to the right candidate. When the stars align, the company likes your candidate, the candidate likes what they’re offered, and that’s a good day’s work. It’s not always smooth-sailing though. Hesitancy, rival offers, and plain indecisiveness often get in the way of you filling a position. While some things are out of your hands, you will be pleased to know that there are slight adjustments you can make to your closing strategy that might make your job easier. Here are some tips to help you, close candidates, more effectively.

Build Relationships

In the recruitment game, a personal touch is key. Knowing your candidate and understanding their needs and wants will help you match them with a suitable position, so it’s important to listen to what exactly they’re looking for. Do they want a career? Are they looking for something more temporary? Are they unsure of what they want, and can you maybe entice them with a good opening? Taking the time to really get to know a candidate will save you a lot of effort in the long run. Once a candidate feels that you’re hearing them and that you’re on their side, they’ll be more comfortable communicating their requirements. After all, no matter how hard you try, a square peg won’t fit in a round hole.

Be transparent

Honesty is key. Being open and honest with your candidate is the first step to building a good relationship with them. Being truthful about a company’s reputation, compensation and benefits, tempers a candidate’s expectations, and when you are honest about a company or a position, the candidate is more likely to be candid with you throughout the hiring process. Ultimately, it can make the difference between retention and resignation.

Give yourself some cushion

This may seem a little dishonest, but the idea is that it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and under-deliver. A little wriggle room basically means that you’re playing it safe, and besides, it has that feel-good factor. For example, say a standard offer for a salaried position is $70 000. If you tell your candidate they can expect at least $65 000, the actual offer will feel like a nice little bonus. On the off-chance that the company decides to offer a little less for whatever reason, you’re still in the clear.

Tap into that FOMO reflex

There are times when you may find yourself battling a client or a candidate who seems to have an irrational fear of making decisions. In all fairness, choosing to work for a new company, or choosing from a pool of candidates when you’ve had a string of recent resignations is not an easy thing to do. In these cases, part of your job is to give them a prod in the right direction. If the offer is already on the table, but the candidate suddenly fears picking up the pen, remind them of all the perks the company has to offer, and hint at the fact, ever so slightly, that if they don’t take the position, someone else probably will. Bear in mind that this will only work in cases where a candidate really does want the job. If they were unsure, to begin with, it’s best to let them make the decision for themselves.

Get ahead of objections

Another method you can use to reassure a hesitant candidate is to get them to accept an offer before giving them the offer. Once the offer is passed to you, you may be tempted to pick up the phone immediately. But remember, only fools rush in. If you come across as too eager, or the job seems too attainable, the candidate may have second thoughts. Instead, get them to agree to portions of the offer before presenting them with the actual offer. For example, you could say something like “the company generally provides two weeks of paid vacation leave. Is that something you’re able to accept?” By doing this, you’re getting them to think about and accept parts of the offer so that once the full offer is presented, they have less to reconsider.

Most importantly, remember that you’re in the business of persuasion, not manipulation. As tempting as it may be to close candidates using any means necessary, certain practices can be harmful in the long run, and no one likes to be taken for a ride. Minimise the use of ‘tactics’, and employ them only when it helps a candidate make the best decision for themselves.

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