This article originally appeared in the Sunday Business section of The Cincinnati Enquirer on June 9, 2013.
The best candidates are attracted by the intangibles. They expect the tangibles – compensation, benefits. From the very beginning of your search it is important to understand the intangibles your organization has to offer and to make certain they are consistently communicated. Communicate them early and often – not in response to the candidate’s question but up front so they believe they truly are part of your culture and not just a convenient response to their questions.
The three recurring themes I’ve heard in my practice whether I’ve been recruiting a Financial Controller or a Sales Executive are:
1) Will I have the chance to be involved in decision making? They don’t need to make the decisions they simply want to know you have an environment where input is valued.
2) Is there a mentor available? Top shelf candidates, especially those early in their career, want to learn and they realize it is about having a willing, capable and active mentor.
3) Is there an environment of professional flexibility? They don’t want flex-time or to be treated differently than others. They want to know that throughout your organization professionals who are achieving and exceeding goals are free to occasionally veer from a standard schedule to meet a personal obligation.
Attracting the best into your interview process is important, but now can you close the deal? Have you been gaining knowledge about each candidate’s real motivations since the beginning of the interview process? No surprise, money is part of it but money is by far not the key motivation to change for a top performer. Why? Because their current employer recognizes them as a top performer and compensates them competitively!
So how do you get them to open up and share their real motivations? Open up yourself. Move beyond the “About Us” and “Executive Profiles” sections of your website and share with them how you feel about your company and who you really are. Move beyond the questions focusing on the “Required” and “Preferred” sections of the position profile and really endeavor to get to know them. You’ll be much more successful in getting to know a top candidate’ motivations if they trust you, and for that they need to know you trust them.
Unless it is confidential information, share freely – about you, your company, the people they will meet in your interview process, the group they will be joining. Under the theory of reciprocation they will share with you and you will begin to understand if you can, and should, close them on your opportunity.