Master the Art of Closing Candidates


Dan Nielsen
Recruiting Initiatives Leader
Towers Perrin
Agenda

  Opening words about Closing

  Developing a Closing approach
    Closing skills at each stage of the process
...
Closing: gathering and interpreting
  information and using it to fill the role

                Objective: Fill the role
...
Always be closing
  Permeates every part of the process

  Starts before you have a candidate in play
  Applies to all ...
Effective closing works in the best
interest of all parties
  Helps candidates and hiring managers define, focus
  on, an...
Timing is everything
  Watch your pace
    By default, move processes swiftly
    Recognize times to slow the pace

  ...
Developing a Closing Approach
Step 1 – Craft a powerful Employment
Value Proposition (EVP)
  The EVP is the foundation for all future efforts

  Your ...
Draw on broad information to create
the EVP
  Business plan

  Sales/marketing materials
  Intra/internet research
  I...
Document and disseminate your EVP
internally and externally
Internal document has   External “marketing”
     details to p...
Step 2 – The importance of resume
  screening
                    Challenging commute             Breaking
               ...
Step 3 – Phone interviewing sets the
tone for your relationship
  Engage the candidate with your value proposition

  To...
Deal with compensation head-on from
the start
  Gather facts about current compensation

  Ask if current employer compe...
Patiently wait for answers and clarify
ambiguity
  Wait out any silence that comes after your question

  Listen critica...
How might you react if your candidate
made these statements?

  “My next review is in December.”
  “I worked with my bos...
Step 4 – Prepare the interview team
  Review strengths/weaknesses of candidate

  Assign selling points to ensure the ap...
Step 5 – Debrief both sides, continuing
to confirm the basics
  Agreement on key criteria

  Desire to work together
  ...
Step 6 – Avoid surprises
  Thoroughly confirm total rewards issues with candidate
    Draw out anything the candidate co...
How might you react if your candidate
made these statements?

  “My boss will be totally shocked when I resign.”

  “I g...
Answer all questions and focus
   negotiations where you have flexibility

                       Role, Responsibilities, ...
Step 7 – Develop a “cushion” between
expectations and actual offer
  Creates “insurance” against last-minute cuts to an o...
Use “If I/will you?” questions and clarify
answers
  Recruiter      If I get $77,000 for you will you accept?
   Candidate...
Pick the best way to extend the offer
  Ideally, the recruiter can simply call back and
  congratulate the candidate on g...
Never revise an offer that’s been
extended without an acceptance
  Don’t let a candidate say “try again” without their
  ...
Step 8 – Help the candidate control the
resignation process
  Ask how other resignations have gone

  Ask if they are no...
Step 9 – Create accountability and
maintain contact after the resignation
  Ask the candidate to call you or the hiring m...
“Closing” Words

  Add real value to your business with this
  approach by improving:
    Acquisition of top talent
   ...
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Master the Art of Closing Candidates

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Presentation from the ERE Expo Fall 2009, presented by Dan Nielsen.

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Master the Art of Closing Candidates

  1. 1. Master the Art of Closing Candidates Dan Nielsen Recruiting Initiatives Leader Towers Perrin
  2. 2. Agenda   Opening words about Closing   Developing a Closing approach   Closing skills at each stage of the process   Role playing – reacting to candidate statements   “Closing” words 2
  3. 3. Closing: gathering and interpreting information and using it to fill the role Objective: Fill the role Helpg der Hin ng fillin ? filli ? role role All Information: Act Ask clarifying questions 3
  4. 4. Always be closing   Permeates every part of the process   Starts before you have a candidate in play   Applies to all parties and circumstances   Goes beyond “selling”   Heightens awareness of potential obstacles 4
  5. 5. Effective closing works in the best interest of all parties   Helps candidates and hiring managers define, focus on, and achieve realistic goals and desires   Helps recruiters and hiring managers avoid candidates who are not desired or will not move 5
  6. 6. Timing is everything   Watch your pace   By default, move processes swiftly   Recognize times to slow the pace   Focus on right activities at each stage   Prospect development   Interviews   Post offer extension 6
  7. 7. Developing a Closing Approach
  8. 8. Step 1 – Craft a powerful Employment Value Proposition (EVP)   The EVP is the foundation for all future efforts   Your EVP should articulate a crisp message on why a candidate should join your: Industry What sets Company you apart in Unit each category? Job 8
  9. 9. Draw on broad information to create the EVP   Business plan   Sales/marketing materials   Intra/internet research   Interviews with:   Leadership   Hiring managers   Long-time employees   Recent hires - especially from competitors   Don’t lose sight of “intangibles” such as on-site gym, proximity to public transit, continuing education, etc. 9
  10. 10. Document and disseminate your EVP internally and externally Internal document has External “marketing” details to prep piece used for interview teams prospect outreach 10
  11. 11. Step 2 – The importance of resume screening Challenging commute Breaking company loyalty and relationships Company with Glen Ross may be difficult different culture 101 S. Hanley Hyde Park, NY 12538 XYZ Consulting Firm, Bayside, NY July 1998 – Present Executive Vice President •  Lead consultant on $3 million of annual revenue •  Foremost company expert for Sarbanes-Oxley related issues Title your firm Expect a relentless doesn’t offer counter-offer 11
  12. 12. Step 3 – Phone interviewing sets the tone for your relationship   Engage the candidate with your value proposition   Touch upon the fundamentals of the selection process   Career aspirations   Decision drivers   Skills, interests and   Obstacles to joining abilities   Current/desired   Pros and cons of current compensation role   Directly address any potential barriers from the resume or the phone interview 12
  13. 13. Deal with compensation head-on from the start   Gather facts about current compensation   Ask if current employer compensates fairly   Why do you believe that?   What would be fair compensation?   Address disconnects regarding compensation expectations 13
  14. 14. Patiently wait for answers and clarify ambiguity   Wait out any silence that comes after your question   Listen critically for what is said, not said and implied   Follow up until you have a clear, acknowledged understanding with the candidate   Recognize when candidate doesn’t have reasonable motivations for moving 14
  15. 15. How might you react if your candidate made these statements?   “My next review is in December.”   “I worked with my boss at a former job and followed him to my current company.”   “I have no one to delegate work to here.”   “I don’t have faith in my company’s Senior Leadership.”   “I rode my bike to work today.” 15
  16. 16. Step 4 – Prepare the interview team   Review strengths/weaknesses of candidate   Assign selling points to ensure the applicant gets a broad perspective of the firm   Direct probing questions on the primary issues   Candidate’s ability to be successful   Any negative impressions from the hiring team   Confirm threshold criteria needed to make the hire 16
  17. 17. Step 5 – Debrief both sides, continuing to confirm the basics   Agreement on key criteria   Desire to work together   Compensation expectations are aligned   Discuss start date with candidate 17
  18. 18. Step 6 – Avoid surprises   Thoroughly confirm total rewards issues with candidate   Draw out anything the candidate considers remuneration or other rewards   Even if every element isn’t matched, candidate needs to know you had complete information   Stock/options   Retirement   Parking/commute costs   Paybacks   Perks   Blackberry/laptop   Office vs. cube   Expected raise 18
  19. 19. How might you react if your candidate made these statements?   “My boss will be totally shocked when I resign.”   “I got passed over for a promotion last year.”   “I’m getting pulled into a new project at work.”   “How quickly will I hear back from you?”   “How much vacation will I get this year?”   “This is my first time resigning.” 19
  20. 20. Answer all questions and focus negotiations where you have flexibility Role, Responsibilities, Title Relocation, Non-Compete Answering these Benefits, Vacation questions… Target Bonus % Goals …focuses negotiations on Base Salary and Hiring Bonus $ 20
  21. 21. Step 7 – Develop a “cushion” between expectations and actual offer   Creates “insurance” against last-minute cuts to an offer   Feeds the excitement that accompanies acceptance, and helps sustain candidate through counter-offer   Revisit initial discussion about compensation   A third-party recruiter can add value at this stage 21
  22. 22. Use “If I/will you?” questions and clarify answers Recruiter If I get $77,000 for you will you accept? Candidate I was hoping for more than $77,000. Recruiter If the offer is $77,000 will you reject? Candidate I was hoping for closer to $80,000. Recruiter So, at $77,000 will you reject? Candidate Yes. Recruiter If I can get $80,000 will you accept?...   Objective is to get permission from the candidate to accept   Keep overall focus on the role and opportunity 22
  23. 23. Pick the best way to extend the offer   Ideally, the recruiter can simply call back and congratulate the candidate on getting the job   The only surprise should be that the offer is a bit higher than expected   If an acceptance is not yet confirmed, the hiring manager is usually the best person to extend the offer 23
  24. 24. Never revise an offer that’s been extended without an acceptance   Don’t let a candidate say “try again” without their expressed acceptance   If I make this change, will you confirm a start date?   If I make this change, is there anything that would stop you from joining? 24
  25. 25. Step 8 – Help the candidate control the resignation process   Ask how other resignations have gone   Ask if they are notifying their boss of a decision, or starting a dialogue about it   Role play by asking what happens when (not “if”) the boss:   asks about the terms of the offer   offers to match or beat the compensation   asks what it would take for the candidate to stay   asks the candidate not to discuss the resignation before a counter-offer is made 25
  26. 26. Step 9 – Create accountability and maintain contact after the resignation   Ask the candidate to call you or the hiring manager immediately after the resignation   Schedule “spontaneous” outreach calls from interview team to candidate until start date 26
  27. 27. “Closing” Words   Add real value to your business with this approach by improving:   Acquisition of top talent   Acceptance rates   Offer/interview ratio Contact me with questions Dan.Nielsen@towersperrin.com 314.719.5898 27

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