The result of the selection process is hiring a talented person in your company. The process doesn't end with the last interview and your decision on candidates. It concludes when the desired candidate is working in your company.
Certainly, you can't make the decision for them, but you can increase the chances of their decision favoring you: you can sell them the position.
What does selling the position mean?
It doesn't mean manipulating the candidate. It means listening carefully to their answers throughout the selection process, identifying what matters most to them, and presenting the job offer in terms relevant to them. Selling the position means, to some extent, putting yourself in their shoes, seeing things from their perspective, and presenting the offer accordingly.
Why is it important to sell the position?
You might wonder: why is it important to sell the position? If they attended all the interviews, it's clear they're interested... and you're right! But interest in the position doesn't guarantee action, the signing of the employment contract. After a long and demanding selection process, you might still lose the candidate. Talented individuals often have multiple attractive offers simultaneously. Don't fumble, and don't relax too much after finishing the interviews. This is the moment when you can differentiate yourself from other job offers on the market.
What does a position-selling offer look like?
The offer is in writing. Even if you discussed expected results and job details with the candidate during the interviews, it's crucial to provide a written offer at the end. A clear and comprehensive document covering both legal aspects and job specifics, as well as the company's culture. A written offer conveys seriousness and assurance, serving as an objective reference point for both the candidate and the employer, preventing subjective interpretations that can arise in verbal communication.
The offer is personalized. It's not a standard, impersonal document generated automatically. It's an offer that communicates to the reader that they are valued and desired in the company. They are not just candidate number 283.
Reports on top employers and employee criteria can give you insights into what matters most in hiring decisions. However, preferences vary from person to person, so it's crucial to identify the candidate's priorities and structure the offer accordingly.
The main criteria influencing a candidate's decision to accept an offer are:
Fit - the connection between the company's vision, needs, culture, and the candidate's goals, strengths, and values. A selling offer clearly conveys: This is what we do as a company, and this is how you fit in. Fit is by far the most crucial aspect of selling. Just as employers seek individuals who can excel in a role, candidates look for roles where they can excel. When you show genuine concern for how well a candidate fits into your company, you differentiate yourself from the competition. 99% of your competitors may not do this. Most are only concerned about how well a candidate fits them, not the other side of the coin.
Family - the broader implications of changing jobs. A selling offer communicates: These are the steps we will take as a company to make this change as smooth as possible for your family. The candidate's family plays a significant role in the decision to accept a job offer. Therefore, it should be treated with importance. Sometimes, partners or children may be unwilling to undergo a major change that a new job may bring, especially if it involves a different location or significantly different working hours. The job offer should realistically consider the impact of the change on the candidate's family and provide concrete solutions. Family is even more critical when hiring in a small company. There needs to be a much greater transfer of trust than in the case of a large company.
Freedom - the autonomy the candidate will have in decision-making. The selling offer clearly states: I will give you a high degree of freedom. There will be no micromanagement. Autonomy is one of the most significant values in today's workforce. Talented individuals will never accept micromanagement. It goes against their nature, against the characteristics that differentiate them from the average. This is especially true for those in Generation Z. Nothing repels them more than the idea of working for a directive boss. They seek positions where they have autonomy and can excel.
Material value - the stability of the company and the financial benefits it offers. The selling offer clearly states: If you achieve your goals, your earnings will be... in the next year, and... in the next 5 years. Research shows that while money is a demotivating factor if it's insufficient or not correlated with performance, it's rarely a motivating factor. Money is an essential factor in the hiring decision, but it's not a standalone basis. When financial benefits are correctly and transparently linked to performance, you increase the chances of employees staying long-term.
Atmosphere - the working environment and personal relationships the candidate will develop. The selling offer communicates: We enjoy working together, doing... I think you'll enjoy working here. An employee spends more than a third of their time at work. It would be desirable for them to enjoy it.
When do you sell the position?
Selling is a continuous process that requires constant attention from the first contact with the candidate.
Sales start with understanding a person's interests, the stage they're at, what they're looking for, and what they truly desire. This can be done in the early relationship-building meetings with talented individuals.
Sales continued throughout the interview. In the first part, time is used to get to know the candidate and gather information. In the second part of the interview, the candidate is given the opportunity to ask questions about the company and the role. If you listen carefully to their answers, you already have an idea of what is important to them, and you can tailor your responses accordingly. You sell them what interests them.
Another sales opportunity is in the time between offering the position and the candidate's response. Often, managers withdraw during this period, thinking that the prospective employee needs time to think. While true, that they might need time, this interval can be used as an extended courtship period. Stay in constant contact with them.
The goal of sales is to get the candidate to say YES as quickly as possible. But don't assume that when you get the answer, the race is over. The candidate still has time to withdraw. They still have other offers, and their family might still be concerned about how this change will affect them. Until they are 100% committed to this decision, the risk of changing their mind is real. Even after receiving a positive response, continue to stay in touch and pay special attention to the areas that matter to them.
Finally, the day comes when the new employee actually starts working for you. The sales process is still not over. The failure rate in the first 3 months of employment is alarmingly high. New employees have doubts about their decisions and try to minimize their losses. This could even mean quitting the job. At this stage, the solution is to invest in a robust induction program. This program involves more than a welcome lunch or orientation provided by the human resources department. It means ensuring that the new employee is given all the opportunities to succeed in the first months. The good news is that considering the process and tools used so far, you have all the information needed to create such a program.
What is the most important aspect of selling the position to a candidate?
Perseverance. Don't accept the first refusal as the final answer. Invest consistently in the relationship with a talented employee. Apply positive pressure until you bring them into the company.