Have you ever tried to hire a superstar candidate and lost them to another opportunity? Has it happened more than once? Why do you think that happened? Do you think your offer was less money than the winning company? Is your culture not as strong? Is your company not as competitive as others?
There are many reasons that you will lose a candidate to another company’s offer, but it may be for completely different reasons than you would think. Let me elaborate with some of the most common issues I encounter when trying to help my clients hire sales candidates.
- Let’s start with what we have already mentioned, MONEY. Let’s face it, money is not everything but it is something. You can reduce the chances of losing a candidate to a low offer in the qualification process rather than in the final steps. At some point in the interview process, ask them about their last few W2s. Educate them on what your reps make and what they can expect to make in their first year. The more conservative, the better.
- Culture. This is pretty basic, but is often overlooked. Remember, candidates are going to do what it takes to give a good impression and that could include feigning interest in your opportunity to get an offer. A way to vet out whether your candidate is a true culture fit is to not paint them a picture of the best days at your company. Instead, tell them what the worst days look like. Look for changes in their body language – do they get fidgety, big sighs, avert eye contact? This means that they are uncomfortable. Don’t let this be the ultimate deciding factor, but let it be a launching pad for you to discuss what they are truly seeking in their next role, and ask yourself does it fit with your company.
- Commute. Candidates will tell you that they will travel 3 hours each day to work for your company. They won’t. After the first snow storm, they will be in your office asking for work from home options. Google map their location before taking an interview and if is borderline, schedule a meeting at 8:30am and see if they are on time.
- Some companies pride themselves on the complexity of their interview processes but sometimes companies confuse complexity with clunky. Understand the steps of your process. For example: Step 1) Phone call with Manager. Step 2) Face-to-face with Manager and Director. Step 3) Meet with Team and CEO. Step 4) References and Offer. If your process is not this easily defined, re-approach it and figure it out. Candidates who are asked to come back to the office multiple times without traction in the process will become frustrated and will have the impression that if your interview process is this inefficient, so is the company as a whole.
- Personality tests. They are a very useful tool for some companies but not for all. If you use one, let it be a tool for data collection. Do not let it be the deciding factor on whether to hire someone or not. A lot of superstars are over looked because of personality tests – it’s a shame.
- This is a tough one to own up to as a company but make sure you understand how everyone on your interview panel is interviewing – you may have a bad interviewer. They may be doing the wrong things in the interview and may potentially be turning off your superstar candidate. Your candidate may love the company, role, money, culture – but if they were turned off by the negative sell during the interview with your Senior Account Rep, that is unfortunately a loss. If someone on your team is new to interviewing, have them sit in on a few with you to have a better understanding.
- I’d say the most common reason that a candidate is lost is timing. “Time kills all deals.” If you get a superstar candidate through the process and you want to hire – HIRE THEM! Don’t wait, instead vet out compensation, make a verbal offer, negotiate if necessary, get a start date, gain verbal agreement, give them an offer letter, get the signed offer letter back, and get them on board! There are no lay ups at offer stage. Your superstar candidate is a highly sought after asset. Do not assume you are the only one looking to hire this candidate. Even if you are the only company in the loop, act like this candidate has multiple offers and get them on board. The alternative is to lose them and start the search from scratch.
All of these reasons are based around the competition in the market for your open role. Never assume that the candidate is ONLY looking at your company. Through your process you should be asking your candidate what else is in their pipeline. That will help eliminate a few of the above. If you want more insight on effective hiring practices, never hesitate to reach out to Treeline.