Category Archives: recruitment

….Hiring the “overqualified candidate”

If I don’t hear this daily, I hear it at least three times a week, “We don’t want to hire anybody overqualified, because they leave us when they first get the chance.” Being overqualified, admittedly, is a relative term. It probably isn’t wise to hire an experienced controller who has been making $150,000 for an entry-level accounting job at $55,000. Nor, is it probably a good idea to hire a sales person in a job where they are capped at earning $100,000 when they have earned $250,000 pretty consistently.

But a very strong case needs to be made for considering candidates who have been one, or maybe even two levels above the position an employer might be searching for. There are a number of good reasons for this.

First of all, the job does not “make” the person. The person actually makes the job. It is amazing what quality people can do to make an average job phenomenally creative and bring more value to the company than anyone might have imagined. Because of just the kind of person they are, they make the job better than it was before. Their value becomes greater because the job could become greater. So, secret here is to look at the possibilities of what the job could be rather than what it always has been. My guess is that at least 60% of the jobs out there could be expanded on and enhanced by hiring a person with the right attitude and ability.

Secondly, and I wrote about this a couple weeks ago, if people are relatively happy with what they’re doing and who they are doing it for and who they are doing it with, they don’t simply look for another job on a whim. If people are 70% pleased with what they’re doing and feel they are fairly compensated for what they do (… I didn’t say “overly” compensated, but “fairly” compensated) they don’t go looking for a job even if a recruiter, like myself, calls them.

This attitude of being “pleased” probably has more to do with the environment, the people they are working with and for and most importantly, the feeling that they are growing as a person. This is a difficult aspect of a job to quantify. But again, if people really like what they are doing they aren’t going to “go look for a job” that easily. How do I know this? It’s like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m a recruiter. I call people all of the time and my tagline is, “Are you having fun and making money?” Now, they may ask, “What did you have in mind?” But, no matter how phenomenal an opportunity that I am representing is, unless they are pretty displeased with what’s going on with their job, they tell me they’re not interested. Why? Because looking for a job is a pain in the ass. Nobody really likes looking for a job. It is an emotionally stressful, time-consuming, risky endeavor. And unless a person is pretty damn unhappy with what they’re doing they don’t just “go looking for a job.”

Third, we, as hiring managers, have this fear inside of us that our new hire, especially if he or she appears to be “overqualified” is going to come into our office in six or seven weeks and say something like, “I’m resigning because an opportunity came along that is more commensurate with my experience and my ability and I owe it to my family and myself to accept the job.” And you, as a hiring authority, as well as your superiors are going to say something like, “Well, you dumb ass, you knew that he or she was overqualified for the job to begin with and that  they would keep looking and eventually find a better job, commensurate with their previous skills and money.” You then spend the next few days kicking yourself, and you keep telling yourself, “I’ll never over hire again!”

The vast majority of times, however, the candidate isn’t leaving because they really found a job “more commensurate with their skills and ability.” They are leaving because they either don’t like you, don’t like the people they’re working with, don’t like what they are doing, or all of the above. They just don’t want to tell you that. They want to get out of where they are as fast as possible, as well as, as gracefully as possible. So, they tell you how wonderful you are, how wonderful the company is, how much they appreciate the opportunity, etc. but, “Gee whiz, this is such a great opportunity that I’m leaving for, I can’t pass it up.” They don’t have the guts to say, “You suck, the people here suck, this job sucks and his company sucks…so, I’m outta here.” They just want out as fast and as easily as possible.

For most professionals, the intrinsic value of their job overrides most everything else. Provided the compensation is reasonable, people want to feel like they are growing personally in what they do. If they genuinely like what they do and they feel like they are becoming a better person in the process of doing it, i.e. challenged and satisfied with the challenge, as well as liking the people they work with and for, they don’t look for a job just because some recruiter like me calls them.

The bottom line to all of this is that if you have the kind of job where a person can grow, if the working environment is good and if the people are great, hiring a candidate who is “overqualified” may be one of the best things you can do.

…getting “Yogi’ed”

For those of you that are not local or Dallas Mavericks basketball fans, the recent development is that Yogi Ferrell, who signed a 10 day contract with the Mavs in January 2017, not only got to stick around but was named NBA all rookie second team after that season. He averaged 10.2 points, three rebounds and 2.5 assists a game and was the only Maverick to play all 82 games last season. The reason he made the news this last week was that after signing a two-year, $5.3 million contract with the Mavs, he suddenly changed his mind and agreed to a two-year deal with Sacramento for $6.2 million. In other words, Yogi, after accepting a job and agreeing to a start date, etc. reneged and took another job. The Mavs got “Yogi’ed.”

How often does this happen? A lot! Very few people really want to talk about it. Job candidates who do this kind of thing justify it for all kinds of reasons… Yogi’s was $900,000 more money. I’m sure that just about everyone would agree that this is a real significant reason, especially considering the “shelf life” of a professional athlete. When most people do this kind of thing, however, the reasons are nowhere near as great. However, they do justify them to as great an extent.

If you’re an employer that this kind of thing has happened to either last week or 10 years ago, you remember it. It is an indelible memory. You hired a candidate, made a big announcement about it, told everyone in the world, proudly bragged about your excellent business decision and then had egg all over your face when your new hire (… the second coming of Willie Mays who is going to revolutionize your company) “Yogi’ed” you by taking another job. You and your company are embarrassed and downright pissed off.

The same kind of thing can happen even after your new employee shows up, works for three or four weeks or even a month or two and then comes in to your office and announces that he or she got an offer from a company they had been interviewing with before they came to work for you and they are going to leave. They will give you all kinds of rational reasons as to why they did this…even things like, “I got a $50,000 raise in salary,” (which is always a lie). No matter how devastated you are, they don’t care and are leaving anyhow.

It does absolutely no good to curse the fact that this kind of thing happens or is going to happen. If it hasn’t happened to you, you either haven’t hired very many people or it’s going to. So, here are some of the things you can do to minimize the damage.

First, whenever you hire someone, give yourself a percentage probability that your new “hero” will renege at the last moment. In other words, not only should you be prepared for it, but you should try to figure what probability there is of it happening. You certainly would be more confident at a 10% probability then you would be a 50% probability. What is the “Yogi probability?”

Secondly, make sure you ask a candidate when you hire them what other kinds of opportunities they are considering and how those opportunities stack up with yours and, especially, why they chose your opportunity over the others. If the candidate says something like, “Well I haven’t heard from one of the opportunities that I was really hoping for,” or “The other guys I was talking with were just plain too slow,” or anything of this nature give a higher percentage of being “Yogi’ed” than if you hear, “This is the only offer that I’m seriously considering and you are the best opportunity available,” or “I love the opportunity with you better than anyone else I have spoken with and I see a great future there.”

Third, be prepared for this kind of thing and don’t stop interviewing for the job until you have two, or ideally, three solid candidates that you could consider if you get “Yogi’ed.” There’s no harm in telling a candidate that they came in second and that if something should happen to the first candidate that you’d like to hire, you will call them. About 30% of the job offers made are turned down anyhow. ALWAYS HAVE BACKUP!!!

Fourth, set a start date for as soon as possible. Even though a candidate will mentally, emotionally and physically “stop” looking for a job, the longer he or she goes without starting your new job, the more possibility there is of someone who they’ve been interviewing with, that they might have dismissed as an opportunity, will call them  and offer them a job. Most candidates…at least 85% of the time will turn down any job offers once they have started a new job. (Unless of course there is something like a $900,000 difference in salary!) Starting a new job is an emotionally difficult thing to do and most people don’t like doing it. Once they have begun to settle into a new job one of the last things they really want to do is to start another. They have already mentally and emotionally as well as physically made a commitment and really don’t want to go through it again.

Whatever the hiring authority does, they should not, in my opinion ask the potential employee or the new employee, “What can we do to get you to change your mind?” If a candidate is going to do this kind of thing before they even start a new job or after they’ve started a new job, they are going to feel like they have the upper hand in the relationship. That’s not good. This same psychological issue applies to having counteroffers accepted. When a candidate or recent employee has mentally and emotionally decided to do something else, whatever an employer can do to get them to either recommit our stick around, is temporary. The good feeling that earning more money provides wears off after a while and for whatever reasons the candidate or new employee got distracted from your job are still going to be there.

Being “Yogi’ed” is a fact of business life. Being prepared for it is high business acumen.

Although I’m sure the Mavs ain’t happy…most of us can understand a $900,000 ‘raise.’

 

…”we are a Christian company”

I don’t hear it every day, but I hear it often enough for me to say, “that’s great,” because we aspire and subscribe to the same principles. But I say to myself, as I express the fact that I’m glad to hear that, “we’ll see!” I have been a practicing Catholic all of my life…notice I say “practicing,” because I’m sure that I will never quite arrive, so to speak, in this world. All of us that espouse Christianity are trying to practice as best we can.

What was so interesting about this fellow’s comment…he was the CEO… was that he kept saying it as though he was trying to convince me as well as himself. I let it go without much of a response, thinking, again, “well, we will see how you all act.”

Over a period of four weeks, the VP of sales told us that he would interview our candidates on two separate days and changed the day, one time the night right before and the second time, the day of the interviews. (There were six interviews.) After finally getting together with the candidates, who were quite frustrated with having to rearrange their day twice, the VP of sales told every candidate that they were a great candidate, just exactly the kind the company wanted to hire and they would probably have them back within a day or two. I knew something was wrong when the third candidate called and said that he was told that he was an excellent candidate, exactly the kind the company wanted to hire and that they were going to bring him back in the next day or two, which is exactly what the two candidates before him had said. Of course, I’ve seen this kind of thing before and so it was no surprise when the sixth candidate called and reported exactly the same thing.

Okay, we will give the benefit of the doubt. The VP was just one of those kind of people who has hard time saying ‘no’ to anybody and wanted to make everybody feel good. Not the nicest way to do things, but understandabl. All of these candidates thought that they were going to be called back within a day or two, as they were told. We called and emailed the vice president who did the interviewing for five days and never heard a word from him about the candidates. Out of frustration for our candidates we nicely emailed the CEO explaining that the VP promised these candidates at least a response in a couple of days after the interviews. Three days later the VP sends an email stating that he wanted to have two of the candidates back to meet the VP of Marketing.

In spite of our calls and our emails asking him feedback on the other candidates, we finally come to the conclusion…the obvious conclusion…that he wasn’t interested in four of them. We passed along to our candidates who were eliminated that they obviously did not make the cut. Unfortunately, we were not able to tell them why they were not being considered. It was as frustrating for us as it was for them.

The candidates that were supposed to go speak with the VP of Marketing smartly called the VP of sales to get his ideas about what the VP of Marketing would be most interested in seeing or hearing from them. Not surprisingly, they didn’t get a phone call back. One of them wrote a very nice email and, again, not surprisingly didn’t get a response. The interviews with the VP of Marketing were arranged by the CEO’s administrator and it was all done via email. Obviously, not a lot of love being shown here

.The two candidates who interviewed with the VP of Marketing were told the same thing that they had been told by the VP of sales, that they were “absolutely perfect” and the company should be getting back to us and to them within a day or two. She couldn’t be more convincing of each candidate that they were perfect. She even gushed to each of them how wonderful they were. We called the VP of Marketig, the VP of sales, the CEO, and the CEOs admin for a solid week. We heard absolutely nothing. On the Monday of the second week, one of the candidates got a call from the CEO’s admin, informing her that the CEO would like to have her in for one last interview before they hired her. The admin followed up with an email that she also sent to us and it said that the company wanted to hire the lady. The candidate was understandably guarded, but needed the job.

The CEO spends two hours with the candidate and tells her that they’re going to hire her. They discuss everything… duties, benefits, start date, money…etc.  The candidate thinks she’s been hired. Then, you can guess what happened…nothing. Neither she nor we heard anything from the company the next day, a day after, the day after or the day after that. The candidate called the CEO twice. She even called the admin once and got no return call. Responses to her emails were not returned either. She even texted the CEO….nothing!

One week after she had been told she was going to be hired we getting email from the admin…not either of the VPs….not the CEO…that they were not going to hire our candidate. We tried to get a response from the VPs, the CEO and even the admin and nobody called us back.

The last candidate, who thought she was going to be hired, found a connection on LinkedIn who had worked for this firm. She tracked down the contact and found out that the company runs just about the same way that all of our candidates had been treated. Her contact holder that despite their espousal to “being a Christian company,” it couldn’t be further from the truth based on how they treated people. It was a big joke in the company. It was probably a good thing that we didn’t place anybody there.

Now I realize that we are all sinners, trying to aspire to a higher level. I assume that there are lots of candidates out there who preconceived or assumed we were going to find them a job when we couldn’t. I realize that sometimes, even our actions can be misconstrued as not caring. But you don’t stay in this business we are in since 1952 if you don’t genuinely concern yourself about people. We may not be able to help everybody but we certainly try to be as compassionate as we possibly can be. We know the golden rule and we strive for it.

I will have to admit though, that this company was just downright rude. Even if they would’ve hired someone from us I can’t see how they were being “Christian.” Their actions spoke so loudly about who they were and what they were, we could never really hear what they said.

So, when someone says “I’m a Christian,” or says “we’re a Christian company,” watch out for what they say. Judge them by their actions. Pray for them either way.

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” – C.S. Lewis

“Treat others the way you wish to be treated.”

….hey, hiring managers…there’s a new set of rules

The amount of time that good candidates are on the
market is shorter than it has ever been.

The number of good candidates that are on the
market is fewer than it has been in ten years.

The money you paid two years ago or even one year ago
won’t get you the kind of candidate you really want.

Candidates are not as prone to “fill out your online application”as they used to be.

Candidates won’t talk to your 22 year old corporate recruiter
whose job it is to screen them.

Candidates are not going to go to your “tracking portal” to
apply for your job.

Candidates don’t want to talk to anyone but YOU . . . the
hiring authority . . . WHY? . . . Because the people who are also
trying to hire this candidate are also having their managers
talk with them directly.

The candidate you prefer is likely being considered by at
least three other organizations . . . he or she has many choices.
If you tell a candidate that you’re going to get back to them
by a certain time, you had best do it . . . a year or so ago good
candidates had to “live” with being treated poorly . . . they
don’t have to put up with that any more . . . they have too many
choices. Your competition is “courting” them heavily.

A “lowball “offer is likely to be rejected.

“Meeting the team . . . just so you can get a feel for our company.”
The REAL TRUTH is: “So they can possibly eliminate
you as competition.” This request will be ignored or outright
refused by many candidates . . . The majority of the time they
are employed and are getting so many “REAL” interviews, they
don’t need or take the time for team meetings.

Candidates are more likely to receive counteroffers than
they ever have in the past.

Candidates may not have an updated resume . . . in this
market, they may not need one . . . please don’t recite the mantra
of “Well if they’re serious about looking for a job they’ll
have a new resume” . . . their “seriousness” simply depends on
whether your opportunity allows them to better themselves.

Assume that if you’re going to make a candidate an offer, so
will two other organizations.

Candidates won’t tolerate the “nine person interviewing process
that we have to use in order to be careful and hire the right
person” . . . they don’t have to put up with this anymore . . . Your
competition is interviewing them no more than three times and
making them an offer . . . and doing it quickly!

Candidates don’t have to consider “temp-to-perm” types of
opportunities . . . there are too many companies that are willing
to hire them permanently from the get-go. While you’re
trying to be “careful” by hiring them “temp-to-perm,” your
competitor is making a perceived long term commitment, with
benefits that start immediately, etc.

SELL YOUR JOB . . . Give candidates real good reasons
why they ought to be going to work for you . . . The idea that
“anyone would be lucky to work here” just doesn’t fly anymore.

Treat every candidate as though they were being ‘recruited’
. . . happy with their job . . . with a number of suitors and
choices.

Your interviewing cycle needs to be short . . . anything
beyond ten working days is a risk . . . your competition is moving
faster than that.

Respectfully explain to your H.R. recruiting department
that you need to streamline the usual hiring process. Their
well-intentioned, protective compliance activities may be
costing you top candidates. The HR Dept. may not understand
how hard it is to find these folks, because they don’t have sales
quotas to meet. No one in their department sees you doing the
work of two people while you are trying to fill a vacancy . . .
they’re trying their best to follow procedures but it often costs
you candidates.
.

. . Also, talk to the candidate directly. If candidates have
to go through your H.R. department/recruiter/admin./office
manager/screener, etc., they don’t feel loved and will be more
likely to go to work for hiring managers who establish a personal
rapport with them.

Please stop saying to candidates that “hiring is one of the
most important things I do . . .” then act like hiring them is not
a high priority by not returning their calls, keeping in touch
with them, postponing a decision, keeping them in the dark,
going ‘silent’ etc.

Stop looking for “Mr. or Ms Perfect “. . . the purple squirrel
who doesn’t really exist or, if they do, are happily employed
and making more money than you can afford . . . it will take
you months to come to the conclusion that you’re not going
to find this perfect person and you’d best try to hire the best
athlete you can find . . . the person who has been a winner at
most everything they’ve ever done but, just not in the exact
area you are searching. In the time it takes to find Mr. or Ms
Perfect, you can hire one of these best athletes and train them.

Try to avoid writing a wish list of “requirements” that
reflect your fear of hiring the wrong person . . .We got one of
these lists recently and it had 32 items on it . . .the vice pres
ident who sent it to us laughed, saying that he’s not sure why
he wrote all this stuff down and that even he didn’t have all of
these requirements. He didn’t know of anyone who did!

…hiring authority’s top 20 lip loads that kill an interview

Most hiring and interviewing authorities don’t know that 60% of the interviewing mistakes are made by them as opposed to the candidates they interview.  Most interviewing and hiring authorities claim that “good hires” aren’t made because of poor candidates or poor interviewing techniques on the part of the candidates.  But the truth is that good candidates are often turned off or discouraged from pursuing an opportunity because of what hiring or interviewing authorities say.

Here are the top 20 “lip loads” that hiring or interviewing authorities use to kill perfectly good interviews and the messages they send to good candidates:

“I’m not sure what we’re looking for, we can’t agree, but I’m glad you’re here, now tell me about yourself.”Message: We have no idea what we’re looking for, wouldn’t know it if we found it, can’t agree…. this is a shot in the dark.  We’re surely an indecisive group of folks.

“I will know the right candidate when I meet them.”Message: I hire and fire by feeling.  I don’t want to be bothered by details like qualifications and the ability to do the job.

“We are in a big hurry… we’ve been without someone in this position for some time….. Our process takes four weeks, if we’re lucky. ” Message: This makes us look like we’re working.  On top of that, it gives us plenty to complain about…that we can’t find good people.

“Let me tell you about our company, the job… me … my boss … why we’re looking to hire … what hasn’t worked in the past … what we think will work in the future … why I  like the Cowboys… the Mavericks’ … the Stars.”Message: I’m going to do all the talking. Then I will decide on your qualifications and ability to do the job.

“I’m sorry, I’m 15 minutes (…20 minutes, 30 minutes) late but I had to take a phone call…talk to a customer…. had an emergency… talk to my boss.”Message: Interviewing you or anybody else just isn’t that important.

“Excuse me for a moment, but I have to… take a call… talk to a customer… have an emergency… talk to my boss… in front of you.”Message: Interviewing you or anybody else just isn’t that important. I’m just a busy person as well as inconsiderate.

“The last person we had in this position was a real jerk and the one before that was awful.  Our luck in finding good people seems to be really poor.”Message: I will talk about you and I will talk about the other people who left.

“We want someone who is a cultural fit.”Message: You are too old.

“My boss, who you will speak with, is a real piece of work.  We never know which personality is going to show up on a daily basis.”Message: The boss is a real piece of work.  No one ever knows which of his personality is going to show up. He is very difficult.

“How much money are you making? We know we’re not really competitive in the marketplace, but it is a great place to work.”Message: We underpay and expect a lot.

“We really need a water-walker… someone with at least 10 years of experience, an M.B.A. from an Ivy League school, a tremendous track record and we will pay at least $60,000.”Message: Our expectations are totally unrealistic and they keep getting higher with every candidate we interview…we just can’t afford to make a mistake.

“Thank you for coming to the interview.  You know what happened to me.  I just went through an awful divorce… my 16 year-old ran away…. I was in an awful car accident two weeks ago…. we just found out my mother has cancer… “Message: My personal life is more important than interviewing you.

“I’m the decision maker, but I like to get the input of five (… four, six, etc.) other people.”Message: I’m not really the decision maker, I just wanna’ look good.

“This company is one of the hardest places to work in the whole world. But if you have lots the courage and can weather the constant storm it is really interesting.”  Message: This Company has a lot of turnover.  They are unreasonably demanding.

“I’m the first person in the interviewing process.  Although I am in H.R. (…the ‘screener’…the admin to Mr. /Ms. Big), my job is to make sure that the hiring authority interviews the right kind of candidates.”Message: I need to look good. You might be able to do the job, but I am not going to send you or anybody else past me unless I think you’re a perfect candidate.  I’m really not certain of what we need because; I am not really in that department.  I have this list of qualifications that every candidate has to meet. I check boxes. I don’t want to look bad.

“You are one of 20 candidates that we have interviewed over the last six weeks.”Message: We have no idea what we are looking for. Our hiring process is an endurance race. We can’t understand why we can’t find good people!

“We are really careful about who we hire. We make sure every candidate knows what they are getting into.”Message: We are so picky. We want everyone in the company to like the person we hire.Your ability to do the job isn’t as important as what everyone thinks of you.

“Everyone we talk to wants to come to work here. The lucky ones get to.”Message: You are darn lucky to be interviewing here. We don’t have to tell you why you ought to work here. We are the only company in the world worth working for.

“Along with our interviewing, we have a battery of tests you will need to take. But don’t worry, we all took them and they only account for 25% of the hiring decision.”Message: The tests decide who gets hired. They are the “first” 25% of the decision.We don’t have to make a decision because the testing does it for us.

“You are exactly what we are looking for. We will get back to you when I get the other people that need to speak to find out when they can interview you.”Message: I tell this to everyone. We are unorganized and our process will take a very long time.

Other “killers”:

 “I’ll call you tomorrow (…in a day…two days…)” Then never doing it.

“I’m so busy… we need to reschedule this interview.”

Never giving the candidate honest feedback.

Not selling the job and the opportunity to candidates.

‘Cultural Fit’

I hear it once a day…a euphemism for age, gender, race, faith, ethnicity…anything you can think of. Few folks will be absolutely open about it. They kind of mumble the words in an uncomfortable, low toned, embarrassing manner, with their revealing guilt. Sometimes, rarely, a good business reason underlies the discrimination. Thirty or so years ago, I remember the owner of a trucking company telling me he wanted to hire an overweight, older lady to do the front office scheduling and bookkeeping. He insisted that he didn’t want the drivers hanging around the front office ogling and flirting with the woman he hired. It wasn’t illegal to discriminate this way back then. Although it still might have been wrong, I totally understand his point.

I really understand the rationale behind this issue, though I disagree. A tribal mentality will always exist. Let’s face it, an employee with growing children probably wants to be home for dinner with the family in the evening rather than endless happy hours with younger peers and ‘clients’ with nothing better to do. And if that is a part of their business, it just may not fit some folks. It often, though, may never cross the mind of managers that happy hours may not be the only way of being effective.

Young, inexperienced managers often shy away from hiring  very experienced, older employees for fear of being treated like a ‘kid’ instead of a boss. Older managers claim they don’t want to mess with ‘raising’ kids by putting up with the strains and distractions of youth…romances, social life, that is more important than work, etc. They say, “I’ve already raised my own children, don’t want to raise any again.” Both ends of the spectrum aren’t universal.

This ‘cultural fit’ issue is just one variable some employers refuse to deal with. I get it. Business is rough enough without having to worry about an issue that might become a problem. And if companies only hire the ‘same’ kind of folks, they’ll never know what else might work.

As a job seeker, it is useless to rail against this bias. It may not be right, but it ain’t gonna change. Quit expending energy on it. There are lots of wrong things in the world. As the need for good employees increases, these biases will decrease because of demand.

I’ve experienced European firms as well as East Indian firms who hire Americans simply because they need them in order to do business in America but I can tell in speaking with them that they have a disdain as well as a condescending attitude towards Americans and American businesses. They often look down their noses at us, implying that we really don’t know what we’re doing. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism. I don’t know.

And then there are some cultures like my heritage, Middle Eastern, where it is simply accepted and assumed that everybody lies. Well, a milder way to put it is that they don’t always tell the truth or all the truth. That doesn’t mean that all Middle Eastern folks lie. Most of us don’t. It just means that bending the truth is a lot more accepted in the Middle East than in America. I know one president of a company who is East Indian who won’t do business with most East Indian companies because he says the way they are taught to do business in India isn’t the way he chooses to operate. Bending the truth, he says, or telling people that they will do something they don’t really intend to do is accepted in that culture.

The truth is that lots of people at any age act crazy. Lots of folks of different races, genders and ethnic backgrounds see the world differently than you. Some outright lie and some outright don’t like the rest of us.

Some of these issues are perceptions and some are total misperceptions. I placed a 64-year-old sales guy with a woman-owned sales organization where the 14 women who comprise the organization averaged 32 years old. He’s doing great and they all laugh about the perspective that he brings. (I doubt, though, it would be easy to get used to “cultural” lying.)

We’d all probably be a little better off if we’d simply forget employees fitting into the “culture” of our company. Just be aware, though, that as a job candidate you may very well run into cultural bias. Complaining about it probably won’t do you one bit of good. You are still not likely to be hired. Be aware, however, that you probably have some of those cultural biases yourself.

 

 

 

…but they lied to me… I just can’t believe it… They lied to me

Here’s the problem: hiring authorities, no matter what they say, are afraid of hiring. They are afraid of making a mistake in hiring. For this reason, they are going to tell you as a candidate all kinds of cockamamie stuff. It’s not that these people really want to intentionally lie to you. They don’t. But they’re not sure of just exactly what they’re going to do in the hiring situation. I had an employer a number of years ago that told nine people in a row that he was going to hire them during their interview. Go figure.

For most employers, hiring is a very confusing, difficult thing. No matter how often they do it, they still have a problem with it. Think about it! If you are an accountant and you make a mistake you can go back to your computer and fix it or, at least, your pencil has an eraser on it. If you’re an engineer and somebody discovers that your design isn’t very good, you can go back and fix it. But when a poor candidate is hired, it doesn’t show up for five or six months, sometimes even a year. And what’s even worse, everybody in the company can see that a doofus has been hired. So, how does this make a boss look? You don’t need much of an imagination to figure this one out.

This whole conundrum is embodied in the phrase “we don’t want to make a mistake!” So all kinds of things are used, not so much to hire the best candidate but, more importantly, not to make a mistake. And, when people “play” out of fear of loss rather than vision of gain, the pressure is increased.

On top of all kinds of relatively unnatural acts, like hiring consultants, psychologists, psychiatrists, administering psychological and aptitude testing, etc. most companies increase the layers of people to do the interviewing. 50% of the time the people that are doing the interviewing have absolutely nothing to do with the job itself. But, the attitude is, the more people we have involved in the process of interviewing, the less likely we are to make a mistake. (totally erroneous!). More than one or two people are involved in the interviewing process and, at least 20% of the time, they are not reading from the same page. Often times, people involved in the interviewing process have’t even spoken with each other very much about candidates and qualifications, etc.

just last month I was involved in in three situations where the people who were interviewing didn’t know all of what was going on or wanted people to perceive that they were hiring, but they wern’t. In one of these instances, the hiring authority who had been interviewing for four weeks got fired on the fifth week. His boss told me that the guy had been on a performance plan all along and knew that he was probably on his way out. The second situation involve a hiring authority who would drag to the process of hiring on for more than four weeks and then abruptly left the company. She knew all along she was going to be leaving the company but didn’t want to “raise any red flags” by not continuing to interview as though she was staying.

The third situation involved a hiring authority who was so confused about who to hire, he involved six different people in the interviewing process. Three of these people had absolutely nothing to do with the job itself but offered their opinions about candidates as though they did. We’ve been interviewing now for six weeks and we’ve been through close to 15 candidates. We explained to the hiring authority that we couldn’t keep doing this. He explained that the last two people that they hired were mistakes and that since he was afraid of making a mistake he wanted everyone’s “buy-in.”

These are extreme cases, but not far off from the ordinary hiring process…if there is such a thing as “ordinary.” You can just imagine with lots of people involved in the hiring process and with the fact that not all of these people are reading from the same page they are telling you as a candidate all kinds of different things. Just this last week, we had the hiring manager of one of our clients tell all of the candidates that he hoped to make a decision by last Friday. By the time our Candidates met with his boss, his boss told him that it was going to take at least  another month to make a decision. Someone has their story really messed up.

Some people involved in the interviewing process don’t even know why they are involved. They are often very uncomfortable with the whole thing and will often say things to a candidate that they really don’t know just to keep their conversation from being too awkward. The candidate doesn’t know that some of these people don’t know what they’re talking about, so he or she takes the information to be the truth. When it doesn’t happen, the candidate wonders why folks lied to him.

Well, they really didn’t lie. They just told them what they thought was true in the moment.

So, when you are “lied to” as a candidate you know why and how it happens.

….Occam’s razor, your job search…and your hiring process

 

Occam’s razor is a problem-solving principle attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. His principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. More and more people need to apply this principle to their job search.

The reason this metaphor applies so well is that on both sides of the desk, both candidates and hiring authorities make an inordinate amount of fallacious assumptions and then act on those assumptions in almost uncountable, unnatural ways. If people applied the principle of Occam’s razor their interviewing and hiring process would not only be easier but ten times as effective.

A number of examples are in order. Candidates will write lengthy tomes and dissertations about themselves (a resume) with three fallacious assumptions. First, that they will get read and, secondly that the people reading it know what they’re looking for and, third, that people will understand the “resume speak” stuff they put in their resume. The ONE assumption that a resume writer needs to operate with is to make the simple assumption that their resume needs to communicate the simplistic idea of, “I am a good employee. I will make a good employee for you, because this is what I have done for other people.” If a resume writer keeps this one simple assumption in mind, their resume would be clearer and it would probably get them more interviews.

Another application of Occam’s principal would be for candidates to remember that in the interviewing process, their job is to “sell themselves” to the hiring authority. The simple assumption is “Here is what I’ve done for others and here is what I can do for you.” If a candidate gives the hiring authority good enough reasons of why they ought to be hired they will receive good enough reasons as to why they are to go to work at the company. It’s that simple. Most candidates operate on the convoluted assumption that interviewing is a “two-way street.” This leads to the assumption that, “I have to interview them as well as they have to interview me.” This assumption spawns all kinds of other assumptions that complicate the interviewing process. The simplest assumption is that, “If I give them good enough reasons of why they are to hire me, they’ll give me plenty of good reasons of why I ought to go to work there.”

On the employer side of the desk, Occam’s principle would make their process of hiring, and therefore their life, a lot easier. There are four simple assumptions that a hiring organization needs to answer: can the candidate to the job…do I like him or her…what are the candidate’s risks…can we work the money out. It is that simple! I’m not saying that this is easy, but it is simple. Most interviewing authorities have so many assumptions that they make about what they have to find in a candidate that when the assumptions and realities meet doubt, uncertainty and fear take over the process. It becomes a mess. The process that should have taken two weeks, takes six months. Fear leads to indecisiveness which leads to no decision at all.

If Occum’s razor was applied to the interview process itself, better decisions would be made in a shorter period of time and management would look decisive as well. There are two assumptions when it comes to the interview process that hiring organizations should make. The first one is, only have the people whose livelihood is affected by the position being filled involved in the hiring process and, two, ask every candidate exactly the same questions, document those answers, i.e. write them down, and then compare the answers and feelings about each candidate in a very timely manner. Really simple! Again, not necessarily easy, but simple.

Most organizations involve way too many people in the interviewing process making the assumption that the more people involved in the process. the best candidate will be hired. They often involve people who could really care less about who gets hired and who are not personally affected by the hire. The assumption that, “We don’t want to make a mistake” leads to the fallacy that the more people involved in the interviewing process, the less of a mistake we might make. An errant assumption, at best.

A second errant assumption begins with any interviewing authority starting the interviewing process with the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Every interviewing authority involved in the process should ask every candidate exactly the same questions that are structured before the interview. The idea that an interviewing authority can get a good “feel” about a candidate by simply asking random, seat-of-the-pants questions and then produce an opinion about the candidate’s potential is a terrible assumption.

As with many things in business and life, people make things more complicated than they need to be. Friar Occum is a great teacher.

Other Types of Recruiters

 

Here is the last installment of our series on the “types of recruiters”.

 

EMPLOYMENT AGENTS

As with the contingency recruiter, we are paid when we actually cause a person to be hired.  Many of us that are in the contingency/search consultant type role started out as an “employment agent.” We are more oriented toward the candidate and “marketing” that candidate to potential employers.  We’re more candidate-oriented then employer-oriented, especially in the beginning of our career.  As we progress we become more balanced in whom we actually work for.

In the ’60s, ’70s, and ‘80s and even in nearly ’90s, candidates or “applicants,” as we called them, paid all or some of our fees.  We start out being more candidate-oriented than hiring company-oriented. We are, basically, an “agent” for the candidate.

We interview candidates on a daily basis and then market those candidates to either employers that we have worked with before or ones that we actually “cold call” and tried to generate an interview.  We work “for you” by trying to get you as many interviews as we possibly can.

The “roots” of our facet of recruiting began placing administrative (what used to be called secretarial) type personnel and grew into more of the professional realms.  We place all levels of candidates but have a tendency to focus on whenever the market will bear.  We will interview many candidates and market the most placeable candidate we can find.

The longer we do it, the more we know what our repeat hiring authorities need.

Our advantage to you:  I am going to be oriented to trying to find you a job.  If you have skills and experience that I can promote to companies that I have worked with before or new companies, I will pick up the phone, call them and try to get you as many interviews as I possibly can.

The idea behind what I do is to try to get you interviews, as many as I can.  A lot of the employers that I work with, I’ve worked with before and I will try to send you.  I take advantage of the employers with a “pain” that will interview you and hire you because of their urgency.  And sometimes I know a lot about the companies I work with and sometimes I don’t.  If you are a reasonably qualified candidate, I will try to get you as many interviews as I possibly can.

Our disadvantage to you: I spend most all of my time cold calling and trying to generate job opportunities and interviews for the best candidates that have come to me.  I will spend a lot of time working for you unless I can find someone that is willing to interview for an immediate opening.  I probably don’t have a lot of in-depth knowledge with some of the companies that I might get you an interview because, I “cold called” them for you, found an opening and got you the interview.

We’re both limited by your experience and the contacts that I have.  If I have a lot of experience and have made a lot of contacts and can get you a number of interviews, we’re both in luck. If I have been in my profession for less than three years I am not going to be as knowledgeable about the marketplace as others might, but I’m certainly going to hustle my butt off to get you interviews.

How to deal with me: Realize that I’m a bit busy and will do my best to get you interviews if I can get an employer to talk to you.  I interview as many candidates as I possibly can and take the best answer for them to the best opportunities that I can find.

When and if I can get you an interview, you need to ask me lots of questions about the opportunity.  The same questions that you asked the contingent search consultant about the interview are appropriate.

You need to know that most of the companies that I work with have a high degree of “pain,” i.e. they need to fill a job very quickly.  I’m going to try to get you an interview in any way, shape, or form that I can, it either with hiring authority or an interviewing authority.

I’m going to “ballpark” you into an interview.  I will try to get you any reasonable interview that I can based on your experience or background regardless of whether it’s something you would “ideally like.”

You need to go on every interview that I schedule for you or I will no longer get interviews for you.  You may get my help in selling yourself with what I know about the company I send you to, but I may not know enough to really give you leverage. But you need to get all the interviews you can.

PLACERS

Wwe are usually a “one-man band.”  We work by ourselves, in or out of an office or our living room.  We scour the Internet looking for resumes of people that might fit some of the job opportunities that we also find on the Internet.  We send your resume to as many of those people as we might and if they “bite,” we will call you and see if you might be interested in the opportunity.  We don’t make very many placements because our rapport with the companies we send your resonates to and with the candidates we find isn’t very great

Some of us do work with a handful of firms on a repeat basis and find basically the same kind of candidates for them all over the country.  We’re not real big billers but, the firms we work with appreciate what we do.  We hone in on a particular kind of narrow experience (like copier sales, long distance service sales, etc.) that our hiring companies like and need all around the country, usually for either sales or customer service, then scour the net to find that kind of background.

Our advantage to you: If I find you it usually means that I have one opportunity for you with one particular organization.  I have probably placed a number of people with them around the country and know exactly what their procedure is and exactly the kind of person they like to hire.  If you follow my instructions, I can probably be effective for you with the one or two particular organizations that I work with.

Our disadvantage to you: I am probably only going to present you to the one organization that I called you about and I’m probably going to present five or six others with exactly the same kind of background that you’ve got.  It’s a pure numbers game for them and most everybody that’s interviewing will be alike, if I don’t play “issue” with this one particular firm it’s not likely I’m going to do much else for you.

How you should deal with me: Realize that I place the same kind of person with the same kind of firm all over the country.  I really know what the hiring authority likes.  Since I’m presenting a number of people with exactly your kind of background and experience, if you’re smart, you will get me to try to sell you stronger than any of the other candidates you have.

If you’re smart you’ll ask me everything there is to know about what the hiring authority’s likes and why he has hired other people from me in the past.  You will get me give you special treatment and give you every advantage you can get in the interviewing process.  If you think that I’m just a “conduit” to the interview you won’t really be taking advantage of all I can do for you.

CONTRACT RECRUITERS, INTERNAL and EXTERNAL

We are hired by companies on a “contract.” The contract might be for a specific period of time or for a specific number of candidates.  We are usually hired when an organization needs to recruit and hire many candidates over a short period of time.  So, rather than hire a permanent employee or pay fees to a ” third-party ” recruiter they hire me for the period of time they think they will need me.  They usually pay me on an hourly basis with maybe a bonus for each individual that might be hired.  I’m really an independent contractor and work for myself.  I will contract out to usually one organization at a time for a specified period of time, usually six months to a year with the understanding that my “contract” can be terminated at any time.

I am paid a premium for my time and effort but not as much as the company might pay in fees if they hired each individual from an external recruiter.  Since I am an independent contractor my short-term loyalty is to whomever I am not working for, but my long-term loyalty is to myself.  I make a lot of money when I’m working on a contract but am often between contracts, i.e. looking for work.  I need to get people hired, then do it quickly or I won’t be kept.

My advantage to you: Since I am compensated and kept as a recruiter based on performance, if I contact you or you contact me, I’m going to try to get you through the hiring process with the company I am contracted with as fast as possible.  I usually know the organization that I’m working with fairly well and what they’re likely to hire.  So, I will be able to give you every bit of information that will help you in the interviewing process.  Since I am paid on volume, I want to see you get hired.

Since I am an independent contractor, I may very well put your information in my personal database and call you about opportunities with the firms that I might contract with in the future.

My disadvantage to you: In most cases I am only working for the one company that I contacted you about.  So I will only be presenting you to this one firm, helping you out with their process.  But it is not likely that I’m going to present anything to you other than the one organization that I am working for.

I may very well keep your information if you don’t get hired by the organization that I am working for now.  I may take that information with me and call you about opportunities with companies that I contract with in the future.

How to deal with me: You may not even know that I am a contractor.  Most of the time I will appear to you to be an employee of the organization that I represent.  You don’t really care as long as I can get you a job that might be of value to you

I’m not going to mess around and spend a lot of time coddling you and holding your hand.  I’m usually “run’en and gun’en” to fill as many opportunities with the company I’m working with as fast as possible.  The firm’s I work with are usually hiring many people over a short period of time, so I may very well get you in the process with them but, they are not going to spend a lot of time “romancing” you.

INTERNAL RECRUITERS

We are permanent employees of the companies that we work for.  Many of us came out of the third-party recruiting arena where we couldn’t survive the last three or four years.  We’re more aggressive than H.R. staffing people but aren’t quite strong enough to make it doing contingency recruiting.

We’re dedicated to the organization that we work for and, as aggressively as we can, recruit for them.  You can usually detect us because we come across pretty aggressively.  We’re usually salaried employees, with maybe a bonus attached to the numbers of people that we might recruit

We usually work for organizations that are large enough and do enough hiring to justify employing us.  Part of our job is to help our company to find people quickly and avoid paying third-party recruiter fees.

Our advantage to you: I am pretty aggressive and my ego is wrapped up in being successful for my company.  As with a third-party, an external recruiter, I like “looking good” to the hiring authorities in my company.  I’m usually really good at knowing the kind of person that my company wants to hire and because I am fairly aggressive.  I will give a little “push back” to hiring authorities when they may not want to interview you.

I don’t mind reminding the managers in the company that I work for that “no candidate is perfect” and that they should interviewing you on my say so.  I will push you through if I think you are the best candidate.

Our disadvantage you: Since I have a fairly strong personality and feel like that the perception of me is dependent upon the candidates that I produce, that if I don’t think they you are a good candidate, I will not promote you at all.  I don’t “think outside the box” and see your “potential” as a candidate.  If I think you fit, I will push you really hard through the hiring process.  But if I don’t, I won’t push you very hard.

How to deal with me: Start by asking about my role and my responsibilities to my employers and hiring authorities.  If you sense that I am really aggressive, get me to like you a lot and see you as a real viable candidate.  Sell yourself to me very hard so that I might overlook your weaknesses and sell your strengths.  Since I am the “conduit” to you getting an interview, you need to impress me with your abilities to do the job as well as your ability to get the job.  If I believe in you, I will push you through the process, so get me to believe in you.  I have a pretty strong ego, so if you help me “look good”, I will help you through the interviewing process.

“What can I do to get you to promote me in the interviewing process?” is a good question to ask me.

H.R. STAFF RECRUITERS and SCREENERS

They call us recruiters, but we really aren’t in the formal sense of the word.  We actually “screen” candidates for our hiring authorities. They don’t want to do it because they’re too busy, (…or inept) so we are hired to protect them from masses of candidates e-mailing them, calling them or trying to interview with them. We may sound authoritative to you, but we’re more administrative types of people than anything else.

We might go out on the Internet and look for resumes or ask present employees if they know of anybody that might be interested in working for the firm.  We may run ads and call people who respond to them, but we’re not real aggressive “recruiters.”

Our advantage to you: If you are a relatively “perfect” candidate and the hiring authorities aren’t interested in speaking with you based on the resumes that I found or that you sent, then I can help you in getting through the interviewing process.  I will take care of a lot of details of coordination of the interviewing process and try to accommodate you and the hiring authorities’ schedules as much as I can.

I may know a little bit about the position specifications, but only those that are written by the hiring authority.

Our disadvantage to you: I’m not really going to “sell” you to the hiring authorities.  If you aren’t as “perfect” a candidate as we can find, then I can’t help you much.  I might make you feel good about our company and the opportunity that you might be interviewing for, but as far as really helping you get the job, other than the logistics’ of the interviewing process, I’m not much help.

I might be a little help in coaching you through the interviewing process, but since I am mostly a “screener,” I’m not really knowledgeable of the gives and takes of the job or the hiring authority. The hiring authorities see me as a screener and facilitator rather than someone real knowledgeable about candidates and their availability on the marketplace. After an initial interview, I may not be much help to you in getting feedback or follow-up interviews

How to deal with me: Try to get around me or through me and get in front of the actual hiring authority.  Anything you can do to get me to help you get an interview, do it.  Sometimes I respond to the “squeaky wheel” candidate who happens to be available when the hiring authority decides he or she wants to interview.  I can be your conduit to an interview, so respect me and be nice to me.

STAFFING/CONSULTING FIRM RECRUITERS

We are close to the H.R. for the firms that we work for.  We’re looking to hire you as an employee of our firm, then contract you out to one of our clients.  The kind of firms that we could work for, covers a very broad range of staffing and consulting organizations.  Our firm could be an administrative temporary staffing firm or an IT, technical or engineering, long-term project-consulting firm.

We will actually seek you out and hire you on a contract or you can come tell us and we will try to find you an “assignment.” We could assign you work for our clients anywhere from a day to 3 years.

Because of the kind of professional that you are, you know exactly how we work.  If you don’t, we will explain it to you very clearly.  We recruit or find you and you become an employee of our organization.

RESEARCH CONSULTANTS and MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS (that also recruit as part of their offering)

We are not really recruiters at all.  If we’re research consultants, we’re usually paid by the hour to find “purple squirrels”…. very hard to find types of individuals with very specific kinds of experiences that only relate to very narrow professions or businesses.  You are just as glad that we found you, as we’re glad to have found you.  There number of people that you could work for are limited. Since there are a limited number of you, my job is to find you when we need you.

….making a job offer…for employers

(This is an excerpt from one of our books 100,000 Successful Hires written, primarily for employers. But if you’re a job seeker, it certainly doesn’t hurt to know the best way for a job offer to be made.)

You would think that the event of making a job offer to a prospective candidate would be an easy, logical one. In fact, it might be a surprise to even think that we would have to address the whole idea. Wrong! Fact is that the actual process of making an offer, once a final candidate has been identified, can be one of the strangest, goofiest parts of the hiring process. One would think it should be the simplest part of the process, but it can mess up a smooth running process very easily.

The final step in the hiring process is making an offer. It can be traumatic for both candidate and employer. This is the time for people to make commitments. Up to this point, every interaction between candidate and employer is speculative. There is minimal risk on each person’s part. True, there has been a lot of effort on the part of both candidate and employer to interview each other, but there’s no commitment, therefore no risk, until an offer is made.

There is a final twinge of fear on the part of the employer and candidate when making an offer. Employers often become alarmingly fearful that their offer will be rejected, that the candidate they’ve courted for weeks and who was interviewed by everyone they could think of will refuse their offer. The candidate who has been trying to get an offer, but also evaluating as best he or she can the firm they are interviewing with, gets scared. They fear that they won’t get an offer and, if they do, they’re anxious about what it might be. This step in the process is difficult for everyone.

The offer step in the hiring process should be a simple and natural progression of the interviewing process, yet it gets confusing when people either lose sight of its importance or overreact to it. In fact, if the interviewing process is done correctly, the offer step should be easy.

The most successful hiring authorities have a pre-offer conversation with a candidate. This can be a face-to-face meeting or a telephone conversation. The hiring authority explains to the candidate that he or she would like to discuss what an offer would look like and also any details about the job that haven’t been discussed in the interviewing process.

If the hiring authority hasn’t done it already throughout the interviewing process, this is the time that he or she should be selling the candidate on the job and the opportunity. This conversation is the candidate’s opportunity to ask any questions he or she might have, but it also provides an opportunity to the hiring authority to find out the answers to any questions he or she may not have answered. It should be a friendly, calm, and open conversation.

In this conversation, the best hiring authorities get a real good indication as to whether or not the candidate will accept the job. In fact, the best hiring authorities actually qualify the candidate in this conversation. They discuss every aspect of the job offer. They answer all the candidate’s questions. Then, they simply ask the hard question of the candidate, “I’m ready to get together for a formal meeting to offer you the job. Can you see any reason that you wouldn’t accept it?”
If for some reason the candidate hesitates or gives noncommittal answers like “Well, when I see the offer in writing, I’ll know better,” or “I’d have to think about it,” or anything that isn’t a positive like “I would accept it,” then the best hiring authorities may rethink making the offer. If they get these kinds of answers, they simply ask a candidate what they’re thinking or what might stand in the way in order to find out why they are hesitant. It never hurts to be blunt and ask, “Why are you hesitating? I don’t want to make an offer unless I know it’s going to be accepted.”
It’s hard to give a blanket strategy for all things that can come up at this point of the process. The best hiring authorities are prepared for just about anything and they always have the salvation of backup candidates. They always have several other people in the queue in case their #1 candidate falters.
The formal offer

If the conversation goes well, the best hiring authorities meet with candidates as soon as possible. They know that any candidate they might want will be wanted by others. Most importantly, the longer they put off this meeting after the above conversation the more indecisive they appear.
We can’t tell you the number of opportunities to hire a good candidate that have been lost because the hiring authority felt the job offer was simply a formality and the candidate was going to accept the job and postpone the formal meeting because regular business got in the way. They assumed a done deal, prolonged the time to formally meet, made it appear that the meeting wasn’t all that important, and lost the candidate. (We once had a hiring authority who postponed the offer meeting for two weeks so she could go on vacation. Lots of love, huh?)

The best hiring authorities have a formal offer written for the candidate. When they meet to discuss the offer in detail, they assume the candidate is going to have lots of questions and have prepared the answers to the questions the candidate had in the pre-offer phone call. The best hiring authorities take as much time in this meeting as they need to and are patient with any questions or discussions the candidate may have. They realize how important this meeting is to both of them.

Discussing a formal offer over the phone is nowhere near as effective as meeting face-to-face. It simply doesn’t have the same emotional camaraderie and the “we care about you” feeling. If a company’s HR department has to issue the offer letter, the best hiring authorities will still meet with the candidate and discuss the offer in detail. The best hiring authorities do not let anyone in the company discuss the offer with the candidate except themselves. They leave nothing to chance.

If everything has been done correctly 75 percent of the time, the best hiring authorities will get the candidate to execute an offer letter and set a start date during this meeting. However, if the candidate asks, “When do I need to let you know?” the best hiring authorities will explain to a candidate that they need to hear from them within 24 hours about their decision. Maybe under extenuating circumstances they may offer a little more time, such as if the candidate is traveling and needs to discuss it with their spouse, but 99 percent of the time the best hiring authorities tell the candidate they need to know within one day.

The best hiring authorities already have a feel for what the candidate is going to do. The best hiring authorities know that a decisive candidate is going to be able to decide quickly. Anything beyond 24 hours usually indicates that the candidate is going to use the offer to leverage another one, and the best hiring authorities don’t seem to tolerate much of this.
If the candidate insists on more than 24-hours, the best hiring authorities explain that they can’t do that, that they have other candidates they are going to pursue. They reinterate that they need to know within 24 hours. If a candidate cannot do that, the best hiring authorities explain to the candidate that they will therefore pursue the next candidate. End of story! The candidate is either in or out. It’s that simple.

By the way, if the formal offer is written after this meeting, the best hiring authorities review it to be sure that it’s consistent with what was discussed. 15 percent of the time, when offer letters are sent after a formal offer discussion, especially when they are written by the HR department in some far-off city, they aren’t the same as what was discussed in the offer meeting. It’s a quick and easy way to lose an excellent candidate

The best hiring authorities set a start date as soon as possible. They know that the further out the start date is from when the offer is accepted, the more things can happen that are adverse to the situation.

The best hiring authorities never assume anything in the offer meetings. If the candidate accepts the job and sets the start date, they simply prepare themselves for that. If the candidate, for some reason, turns the job down or claims that they can’t decide within the 24-hour time limit, the best hiring authorities are gracious and unemotional about it. Getting upset or angry with a candidate who turns the job down is unwise. The best hiring authorities know that they may try to recruit a candidate again somewhere down the line. They know that it pays to always be nice.

No matter what level of position, from the CEO on down, 15 percent of the time a candidate who has accepted an offer is going to call and renege. Sometimes they will do it with grace and style long before the start date. Unfortunately, they sometimes just plain don’t show up with no notice at all. (We agree that’s totally pathetic!)

The best hiring authorities know this kind of thing might happen. One of the ways they prepare themselves for this possibility is to explain to the #2 and maybe the #3 candidates, “We’ve offered the position to another candidate and it’s been accepted. It was a very close decision and you were certainly an extremely good candidate. We did what we thought was best for our organization. The new hire is supposed to start on (date). We expect everything to go well, but if, for some reason, something happens that he or she does not start, I’d like to give you a call. If we might still be a consideration for you, we can pick up the conversation again, if we need to.”

The best hiring authorities hope they won’t need this contingency plan. But just in case, they’ve prepared themselves for it. The #2 and #3 candidates may not be available should this happen, but at least a hiring authority may not have to start all over if it does. We can’t tell you the number of phenomenally successful employees we’ve placed who got hired this way.