A company’s success greatly depends on the quality of talent they hire. Better the talent, more their chances of beating the competition.
Interestingly, our candidate-centric market has put the spotlight on the top performers. Now they have the upper hand in selecting the employer of choice. And this tough competition between companies is leading to low joining ratios.
As a result, companies are splurging on counter offers to hire and keep their top performer than trying to find a new one. Obviously, nobody wants to lose their best people.
So, when everyone has their eyes set on the same pool of talent, how do you fight the competition?
As the Founder of Instahyre, here are a few pointers I would suggest to Hire top candidates, based on data from hundreds of offers we’ve seen through the Instahyre platform, to make sure a unicorn candidate accepts your offer!
Here’s how to Hire top candidates:
Recruiters need to play the role of a ‘strategic talent advisor’
In addition to finding great candidates, recruiters are often the first impression of an employer’s “brand” for candidates. Here’s how they can improve their hiring quality and metrics:
- Hire the best fit: A great recruiter is not one who forces a candidate to say “yes”. Rather, it’s one who finds the best fit for the company. Don’t hesitate to say “no” to candidates who don’t seem like a great fit at any time during the process as you want to Hire top candidates.
- Personalize: Recruiters have a lot on their plate. When you’re dealing with hundreds of resumes daily, it’s easy to forget that each resume is a person. And this mass approach leads to low quality of hires as the best candidates avoid engaging in a mass approach. This will help you Hire top candidates.
Remember to focus on each candidate individually if you really want to hire a top performer. If you don’t have the “time” to do so, don’t expect you can make top candidates join your company just because you want to Hire top candidates.
Candidate experience starts well before the interview
Perception is everything, and your employer brand is the glue holding the candidate to your company. As per a survey we did, more than 50% of the job seekers deem employer brand and workplace reputation as a deciding factor when choosing an employer. To start off on a strong footing, provide a great candidate experience to your potential hires to Hire top candidates by using these approaches:
- Clarity of role: Stop filling JDs with corporate jargon and industry buzzwords. Confusing and unclear descriptions lead candidates off course and they lose interest quickly. Here’s a short guide if you want to do it right. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Brand matters: Most white-collar candidates today research a company before deciding to accept an offer. From a great Glassdoor review to an engaging job description, every positive interaction with your brand pulls the candidate to your job and vice versa. Work on your digital real estate and half your work is done. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Swift communication: As soon as you get an application, get busy. Send a response to set up an introductory call. Include information about the role, links to the company blog and more. At Instahyre, we found companies that respond within 48 hours have 70% better odds of closing a candidate. This will help you Hire top candidates.
Following the above practices will ensure that you receive a steady supply of talent, and thus an automatic advantage over your competitors and you can Hire top candidates.
The introductory call
Don’t oversell the job on the first call. Offer this opportunity to candidates to sell themselves. That’s right, it sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? But remember, at this stage, you’re building candidate persona and looking for clues to his/her motivations. Selling the job, in fact, comes later. Here’s what it takes to maximise this call:
- The basics: Ask the candidate about their career goals. Is the role they’re looking for aligned precisely with the job you’re offering? If not, politely explain so and discontinue the process, saving your time and theirs. Likewise, ensure they are willing to work where you’re located and that their notice period is suitable for you. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Reason for change: Why is the candidate leaving his current job? The reason will give you a strong cue as to whether this candidate is a good cultural fit for your company. If they’re switching jobs because of long work hours, then that’s clearly not what they are looking for in their next job. Conversely, if your company offers what they’re looking for, then use that as a selling point. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Company vision: You represent your company on this phone call. Everything you say will be assumed to have come from your employer. Grab this opportunity to explain what your company stands for, your values and long-term mission. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Compensation: For most candidates, this is what it all boils down to. Ask the candidate what they’re expecting. If it’s higher than what you can offer, tell them your limit and ask whether they’re okay with it or not. If not, thank them and move on, otherwise in our experience they almost certainly they won’t join, wasting possibly over 10 hours of your interviewers’ time and substantially increasing your time to hire. This will help you Hire top candidates.
Note down everything discussed on the call. Go over it (with your colleagues, if needed) and respond to the candidate with a “proceed” or “reject” within 24 hours. If salary or location is not a fit, say “no” or risk non-joining. The candidate has nothing to lose by interviewing and taking the offer. This will help you Hire top candidates.
The main interview
Most of us take an interview to be a one-way street. However, the interview is as much a reflection of candidate’s talent as your employer brand. A bad interview experience results in social media rants, bad reviews, and overall bad publicity. A study claims poor candidate experience cost Virgin Media £4.4m in 2014. Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- The schedule: Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) such as Recruiterbox, Lever or Greenhouse to schedule calls or meetings with the various interviewers, and ensure that everyone sticks to it. Avoid rescheduling from your end, and if a candidate asks to reschedule, make it clear that you will only reschedule one time before dropping them.
- Be respectful: Regularly educate your interviewers to be punctual and courteous. At Instahyre we regularly see strong candidates declining offers from various companies due to a single unruly interviewer. Take such feedback seriously and discharge such interviewers from further interview duties.
- Interview structure: Have each interviewer go through the resume beforehand and ask questions relevant to that particular candidate. Each team should have a clearly defined interview process which ensures that various interviews test the candidate on different aspects and skills.
- Show the culture: If the interview is on-site, give the candidate an office tour and offer them lunch with a few employees. Giving a peek inside the company has proven to leave a lasting and positive image on the candidate.
Ensure that all interview feedback is recorded on your ATS for review. By providing a pleasant interview experience, even if the candidate does not pass your interviews, he is likely to leave positive feedback on your interview process. This will help you Hire top candidates.
Although every step you took to bring the candidates here was crucial, this is the time to pick up steam. The following steps will make sure that you can bet your bottom dollar and hit the right note with the candidate.
- Make it quick: Extend offer or rejection within 7 days, ideally sooner – the quicker you reach out with your decision, the less risk you face of your candidate getting poached by competition. Plus, a quick reply shows the candidate that you find them a great fit. Our data shows that offer to joining ratio drops quickly when the decision date goes beyond 7 days from the initial conversation. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Confirm verbally: Before extending an offer letter, confirm the salary verbally and ensure that the candidate has a strong interest level, so there’s no back and forth in the actual offer. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Reference check: Conduct a reference check before rolling out the offer – ask the candidate to provide a past manager’s contact information. Call or email the manager and ask them concise questions about the candidate’s performance and demeanour.
- Delay means “not joining”: Tell the candidate beforehand that you will drop the offer if the candidate doesn’t stick to the original joining timeline, as in such case they typically won’t join regardless of the excuse. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Avoid long notice periods: The longer the notice period, the lesser the chances of joining after accepting your offer, as it gives the candidate a chance to look for other offers while using yours as bait. As per our data, immediate joiners have a close to 100% joining ratio, those on a 1 month notice period have about a 75% ratio. Beyond that, it drops alarmingly. This will help you Hire top candidates.
- Now’s the time to sell: If the candidate is uncertain (or even otherwise), have a senior person in your company speak to him. For a small to mid-sized startup, it should be a CXO, while for a larger company it should be at least a Director level person. Someone from the leadership talking to the candidate exudes confidence and respect for the candidate. They feel a valuable part of the company.
Frankly, even playing all your cards right doesn’t guarantee that you can make top candidates join your company or even get them to consider your offer. You can’t ever be 100% sure. Your best case scenario is to avoid the counter offer before it happens. You will win mostly, but not always.
Here at Instahyre, we follow the above guidelines while hiring, and see not just very high joining rates as compared to other companies, but also very high engagement rates during the interview process. For instance, 90% of candidates completing our coding assignments.
In conclusion, the finest recruiters close their candidates by being proactive and following their unique best practices. What are your best practices that can turn a “maybe” into a “yes”?