Selecting candidates and making job offers: a new approach

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selecting and making job offersManagers recruiting staff need to beware; selecting candidates and making job offers has never been so complex. Never before has landing the new hire been more difficult. Maybe it’s something unique to ‘Generation Y’ that brings recruitment problems into focus. Or maybe it’s just that we all have greater expectations and less tolerance of poor performance by managers and firms. Either way, sending an email offer and waiting for a bum to appear on a seat is just not good enough!

Whose market?

When it’s a firm’s market, new recruits are eager to join. There can indeed be a presumption that the candidate wants the job and will join. However, today, there’s a skills shortage and it’s the candidate’s market. It’s difficult hiring HGV divers and tradesmen. And the skills gap gets worse when recruiting to the professions. Today, candidates need to be convinced to move firms.

There are two problems. The first is around the structure of the interview itself. The second is the management of the period from offer to arrival (of the new employee).

Taking the bait

Just as it’s always been, the firm needs to be sure it has selected the right candidate. And all candidates need to individually be convinced that the firm is the one for them – because any skilled individual has multiple parallel opportunities. The interview must therefore spend equal time on selecting and convincing.

Selecting involves determining which candidate will do best when in post. TimelessTime consultants have written lots on how to do this and readers should refer elsewhere on our website.

Convincing involves providing enough evidence to the candidates to suggest that the firm is truly excellent to work for and offers a great future.

If the ‘interview’ is to be truly bi-directional, it must also allow roughly the same time to each of those activities – selecting and convincing. Again TimelessTime has written extensively on this and readers should refer to other blogs and articles. There are specific techniques and strategies that managers can use to manage this balance.

Landing the fish

The law says that all staff must be provided with the main terms and conditions of their employment within eight weeks of starting with a firm. Many firms take this literally and phone or email the successful candidate with what amounts to a headline offer. They then provide the main terms on starting or as required by law. This is just not good enough.

In essence, the hiring manager has had the candidate jump through hoops. The firm must now do likewise.

There are a host of possible strategies to ‘land the fish’. The first and most obvious is that the hiring manager must make an offer in person. To hear the person the candidate will report to make the offer has a powerful trust-building effect. The verbal offer must be followed up immediately by a full written offer with accompanying detail of pension, health insurance and other components of the total reward package. There are many other tricks to use at this point.

That’s a good foundation, but it’s still not enough. There’s a high risk of resignation in the period from offer to arrival; after all, the future employee need only give one week’s contractual notice of resignation before arriving at the new firm to keep their part of the contract. The hiring manager must keep in touch with the new employee while they work their notice. Strategies here might include inviting them to company meetings, training opportunities and social activities. Again there are a lot of options.

There must be no opportunity for the new employee to look elsewhere. The hiring manager must have the new hire on the hook without them having any reason to want to wriggle free.

Significant improvement

There’s nothing worse than gearing up a recruitment, interviewing a shortlist and making an offer, only to have to start all over again when the selected candidate fails to turn up on the first day. It’s a huge waste of management time.

The focus here has been the management of the interview, offer and period from offer to arrival. There’s a lot more to it than this but at least if managers get these two parts right they will enjoy a significant improvement in the chance that a new hire will actually start.

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