So, you’ve heard of closing techniques; but have you heard of candidate closing techniques? Have you ever invested time in selling your offer to an in-demand candidate, only to have them reject the offer at the last minute? This is a surprisingly common occurrence, and one you can prevent by going the extra mile to seal the deal. Use these powerful closing strategies. They’re not all cheap and easy, so choose ones that will work for your organisation.
Speed up the process
In most competitions, speed wins. Some hiring managers don’t make offers quickly in fear it makes their organisation look “desperate”. (Yes, we’ve seen this happen on multiple occasions, to hiring managers’ detriment.) Sending a “bird in the hand offer” the same day of their final interview (before your candidate leaves) is even more impressive. An offer like this demonstrates that you and your manager are decisive, and that your candidate is desirable.
Make on-the-spot offers if you can. One of the fastest ways to seal the deal is by making an offer on the spot and encouraging them to accept while they’re in your office. It’s not uncommon for people to change their minds, receive other offers or receive counter-offers from their current workplace. You can even offer a guaranteed sign-on bonus can provide an extra incentive for them to say yes. Making an offer in person is, psychologically, a more powerful strategy than making one over the phone. It’s also easier to address their concerns.
Tip: Choose a time and space that makes them feel comfortable.
Create a dream job offer: understanding and meeting criteria
Do you know all your desired candidate’s acceptance criteria? If you can meet them, it’s hard for them to say no. If you’re not certain, be upfront and ask them to list their criteria, and use their list to guide your offer. When you present it to them, ensure they understand how you’ve met each of their requirements. You could alternatively ask them to list the characteristics of their ideal or dream job on a blank sheet, then meet their dream-job criteria.
Alternatively, offer an “exploding bonus”, encouraging them to decide quickly. This is where you offer a significant sign-on bonus, but it’s contingent on you candidate accepting the offer right away (on the spot or by that evening). After that initial time period, the bonus continually and dramatically decreases until it eventually reaches zero.
Use the power of influence
Job offers can be major decisions, which are rarely made alone. If possible and appropriate, consider reaching out to individuals who will influence the final decision. For example, pre-identified job references, colleagues, mentors, and family members. Provide them with information so that they will proactively go out of their way to encourage the candidate to say yes.
You can also offer “two-for-ones”, winning them over by providing them with an opportunity to work alongside a peer, for example, a colleague, mentor, best friend, or qualified family member. A package deal can be a great closer, and you can also set them up to work together initially on a joint project.
In using the power of influence, do you know if they have any contacts currently in your organisation? Encourage key people to informally let your chosen candidate know how much they are needed and that they will be welcomed with open arms. Make sure that you educate them so they know what the candidate cares most about. If your finalist is a referral, also have the referring employee call them and to also try to close the sale.
Make it personal
A passionate, personal call from your CEO, or another member of your leadership team, asking them to say yes and making a compelling case is a powerful closing strategy. Your leaders can express their enthusiasm for what they hope to achieve with them: “Together we can build this company to the next level.”
Alternatively, a handwritten note from your CEO attached to their offer letter is also a nice touch.
Automatic salary reviews
Often the major hurdle in accepting a job is their concern about the offered salary being too low. So, if you can’t give them more money initially, agree to reopen the salary discussion three to six months down the road (when both sides know how the new hire has performed). This can alleviate some of their fear that they will be locked into a lower salary for a long period of time.
Wow them with a surprise
After a number of interviews, most candidates understand their offer. Adding an unexpected surprise that hadn’t previously been discussed can seal the deal. For example, working at home on Fridays, or choosing their own title. This also demonstrates you are willing to go above and beyond, and is great news for them to share with their family and friends.
Be prepared to provide them with some symbols or indicators of status that might seal the deal. This might include a title, an office, an assistant, or a company car.
Offer opt-out options
No-fault “divorce options” can minimise fear of failure — some candidates are nervous that the job won’t be a fit. Offer them a non-confrontational way to walk away after six months. Assure them that they’ll get a positive reference and a lump sum payoff if either side feels that it didn’t work out. They can walk away while relatively unharmed.
More and more candidates expect flexible working arrangements. The opportunity to work from home or have flexible working arrangements can make or break a deal (especially if getting to your office requires a lengthy commute!).
Create exciting letters of offer
Is your letter of offer the best it can be? Letters that are overly legalistic (with a lot of fine print) are turnoffs. Also, letters that leave out key “promises” that were verbally discussed during interviews can invariably frustrate your candidate. Make your letter of offer and processes a candidate friendly experience.
Understand deal breakers
Some candidates might have unidentified deal breakers which could be making them hold back from accepting your offer. So throughout the process, ensure you identify and resolve any potential deal breakers.
Top candidates are likely to get multiple offers. Plan how high you are willing to go in order to match or counter their other offers. Refusing to make counteroffers will cause you to lose many top candidates.
Use peer interviews and peer promotion
Allow your top candidate to “interview” their potential peers in your organisation. This can not only help them alleviate fears, but build connections and get excited about the opportunity to work at your organisation.
You can also sell your desired candidate on the quality of their potential peers by making them fully aware of their capabilities. For example, use LinkedIn profiles to showcase your team members so the candidate can see they are joining a winning team they can learn from
If you put together a great deal above market offer, consider creating a “side-by-side comparison” or sell charge to demonstrate how your offer is superior to your competitors’.
Make it easy for hiring managers to show each of the areas where your offer is superior.
Occasionally candidates can be reluctant to accept an offer because they don’t feel they will have sufficient time to settle their affairs before making a job move. In those cases, it may be beneficial to offer to delay their start date in order to give them more time. Note, however, that this also increases the risk that they may not accept your offer.
Discuss pathways and progression
Educate them on where they are likely to be in two years — everyone seeking a new position wants to know where he or she will be in a few years. Show them by giving them concrete examples of how previous hires have actually progressed. Don’t promise, but let them know what is possible.
Review and refine
Conduct thorough assessments of any deal closing strategies, both successes and failures.
Contact candidates who reject your offers after a three-month delay to find out what elements in your offer they didn’t like and what factors cause them to say no. Also, whenever a counteroffer was required to close a deal, revisit your offer process in order to ensure that your firm is not routinely “under offering” with your initial offers.
With low unemployment rates, it’s challenging to net top talent. If you need someone in fields like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, technology, or data science, you need extraordinary closing strategies to seal the deal.
If you have the courage and the resources, don’t hesitate to try one or more of the above deal closers. They really work.
Do you need support creating a compelling offer? Schedule a discussion with our Shortlisting & Selection Specialists, call us on 1300 366 573 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.