Close Before You Close

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Mar 1, 2012

Every recruiter, whether you are a contingency headhunter or an in-house corporate recruiter, wants to pride themselves on their ability to “close” deals. After all, your ability to get a candidate to sign on the dotted line determines your success in this industry.

Traditionally recruiters hear the word “offer” and immediately start going into Closer Mode! They start fantasizing about the fee that is coming their way and immediate start saying whatever is needed to close the deal. If you start working on closing a deal once an offer is made, then you are already too late.


To truly close a deal, you must actually work on “pre-closing” the deal. This begins the minute you start working with a candidate. From the very first call or meeting, you are working on building a relationship. You are building a trust with the candidate. A trust that you have their best interest at heart … not your own. If we know why someone is unhappy and if we know why someone is looking in the first place, then our job becomes very simple. Putting this effort in at the beginning of the process will save a lot of time and headache in the end.

Every candidate has a certain criteria for a new job/job search. They have a list of things that are important to them. When aligning a candidate background with a prospective employer, your first job is to identify if the opportunity matches their criteria.

Here are five points that are traditionally important to most candidates:

  1. Compensation: How much will I get paid?
  2. Scope of Responsibility: What will I be working on?
  3. Culture/Environment: Will I enjoy work there?
  4. Career Growth: Will I grow professionally?
  5. Commute: Can I make this commute every day?

Round Peg/Square Hole

If you find a job opportunity where a candidate wants to go to work, it makes closing the deal that much easier. If your job opportunity matches 90% of what they are looking for, then you have very little closing work to actually do. On the other side of that coin, if your candidate does not like 90% of your job opportunity, then no matter what you say, you are facing a very uphill battle. You are not the one that has to go to work there. They are. They have to do the job. They have to make that commute. They have to work with the team.


Once an offer is out, everything that comes out of your mouth is a closing statement. The candidate knows that you have a five-figure commission riding on their acceptance and now your needs are being placed ahead of theirs. Whether this is true or not, that is how it comes across. However, if you have done a good enough job pre-closing the candidate, then the offer process should really just be a formality. Once an offer is made, you should already know whether your candidate is going to accept the offer.

Focus on pre-closing and the closing will take care of itself!