As a general rule, you should assume that time is always against you when you are trying to make a deal – any kind of deal.
– Robert J. Ringer
These words are as true today as they were when Mr. Ringer wrote them in his bestselling 1973 book Winning Through Intimidation.
Daily I receive calls from recruiters who want to know how they can get their clients to move with a greater sense of urgency throughout the hiring process. A good starting point is to remind them that, the state of the economy notwithstanding, the very best employees are always in short supply and in high demand. Companies have to move quickly if they hope to successfully compete for the most sought after talent. As one recruiter stated, employers fit into one of two categories, “… the quick or the dead.”
As important as it is to move with a sense of urgency, employee selection should not be undertaken at the expense of a properly focused evaluation component. If this occurs, the hiring process will be compromised and desired outcomes may not be achieved.
Nevertheless, timing is everything. If the hiring process moves too slowly, the candidate may lose interest or pursue other options. On the other hand, if the hiring process moves too quickly, the candidate may not be ready to accept an offer and in fact, could turn it down because they feel pressured into making a premature decision.
Remember: Your client cannot hire someone who does not want to work for them.
Therefore, a properly structured hiring process must accomplish a minimum of two objectives:
First, it must execute a balanced evaluation component that accurately measures the candidate’s capability to do the job, willingness to do the job, and ability to positively interface with management, peers and subordinates.
Secondly, it must build within the candidate a strong interest and willingness to become part of the organization. The client must know how to properly sell their company and the opportunity to the candidate.
The greatest likelihood of your client having their offer accepted is for them to extend the offer at that point in the hiring process where the candidate’s interest is at its peak. However, this should only be attempted if the evaluation component of the process has been completed.
Emphasize Timing Importance
During the initial discussion with your client, at the point where you are qualifying the order and establishing the hiring process, you need to emphasize the importance of timing. Consider asking questions that incorporate the principles and concepts of the following scripts:
In order to achieve our objective, we need to properly measure each candidate against our agreed upon selection criteria. At the same time, we must build an interest in the candidate on wanting to work for your organization. After all, you can’t hire someone who does not want to work for your company. Does that seem reasonable?”
(If “yes”, proceed. If “no”, find out why not.
“In this competitive hiring environment the best outcomes are achieved when we can issue an offer at that critical point in time when the candidate’s interest is at its peak and the evaluation process has been properly completed. To make an offer at any other time, except when these two events simultaneously occur, may seriously compromise the likelihood of a successful outcome. Can you appreciate the importance of this approach?”
(If “yes”, proceed. If “no”, find out why not.)
At this point in the discussion, it’s imperative for you and your client to agree on a unified strategy for evaluation and interest building. You must accept joint responsibility for properly completing these most important steps in the hiring process. Stress to your client that anything inhibiting the timely accomplishment of these two steps must be eliminated from the process while anything that enhances the effectiveness of the process should be included.
You are the most critical component in the entire process. It’s your mandate to locate, evaluate, interest, and position qualified candidates within a properly structured hiring process. It’s also your responsibility to establish the timeliness of that process. This must be accomplished at the front end, when you are qualifying the search.
Standing Your Ground
By properly executing this strategy you are in fact working in the best interest of everyone involved, including yourself. However, it takes confidence to stand your ground. If your client resists or outright declines to willingly participate with you in this process, it may be time to use the ultimate qualifier by asking them:
“If our roles were reversed, why would you agree to work within a process that by its very design, compromises the likelihood of a positive outcome? That doesn’t make sense for either of us.”
Remember, once the process begins, timing is everything.
As always, if you have questions or comments about this article or wish to receive my input on any other topic related to this business, just let me know. Your calls and emails are most welcome.