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Pippa Drew 20-Nov-2015 14:55:40 7 min read

How to get your perfect candidate to say ‘yes’!


Congratulations! You’ve finally found the perfect candidate for that key role in your organisation. But now you have to wait to see if they are going to accept. So how do you make sure they answer with a resounding ‘yes’?

There are two key factors which now come into play: offering the right package and ensuring you follow an effective process:

The right package

Offering the right package to secure your chosen candidate is not simply about a generous salary, it’s important to understand all the elements that will create an attractive complete package for your ideal candidate.  These include:

  1. Benchmarking the salary: Understanding the market value of the role you are recruiting for can help to prevent you making an expensive mistake. Setting the salary too low may mean you don’t get the quality candidate you deserve, but setting it too high may mean you end up over paying your new employee or causing tension in your existing team.  Every week, good recruiters hold hundreds of conversations with organisations that are recruiting and because of that, are able to provide advice and recommendations to help you avoid this pitfall and ensure your offering is competitive.

  2. What the candidate values: Offering the right package to candidates doesn’t come down to just salary, sometimes the additional perks your organisation can offer, from the ‘right title’ to a travel allowance or medical cover, can be what clinches the deal.  Your recruiter needs to help you open a conversation with the applicant to understand not only what their current package is but what is most important to them about it and what will help them feel positive about making that move.

  3. Clarity: We frequently see a candidate and a line manager with very different expectations regarding the salary attached to a position and this should be addressed early in the recruitment process.  Your recruiter should be very clear of everyone’s expectations and be able to negotiate on your behalf.  A good recruiter may challenge both the employer’s and candidate’s perception of the value of the role or individual, but will ultimately understand that there is not much value in putting an employer and candidate together in the recruitment process if there is little chance of an agreement being reached.     

The right process

Sometimes you feel you have put together the perfect package yet you still fail to secure the candidate.  This often comes down to not having the right processes in place to begin with.  It’s vital that you consider each step in your recruitment process, from the way you engage with the applicants on a daily basis to the time you take to respond to the candidate with the offer.

Key processes to formalise and ‘get right’ are:

  1. Response times. Ensure you have evaluated your response times to candidates.  Contacting them no later than 48 hours from interview can show the candidate you know what you want and you’re keen to close the deal fast.  Crucially, this will also narrow the window for the candidate to receive any additional offers from other potential employers with whom they may have been going for interviews.  Sometimes employers feel that it isn’t appropriate to let the candidate know how keen they are, but in today’s candidate led market this isn’t a luxury employers can afford to have.

  2. The engagement process. Think about how you will speak and write to the candidate at each stage of the process.  Each time you engage is an opportunity for you to put forward what makes your organisation special from your culture to the benefits the organisation has to offer.  Every time you contact them is a chance to reinforce your employer brand and values, as well as how your position is competitive within your market, helping them to understand why your organisation could be their ideal workplace.  Do remember, however, not to over sell to your candidates. Once they are on board, they will soon realise if there is integrity in the dream they have been sold compared to the reality, and often will not stick around if the two do not match up.

  3. The on-boarding process. Your candidate said yes and you think you’ve sealed the deal when suddenly, your new employee appears to be having doubts.  You responded fast and your engagement was thorough, so why is your candidate having second thoughts AFTER the first day at work?  There are many reasons this could happen and questions they might be asking themselves.  For example, is this the right location for me?  Do I really want to work for this manager?  Will I be able to grow in this position?  They could have had a counter offer or simply not have had a successful first impression of your organisation.  Address some of these potential hurdles before they happen by delivering an on-boarding process which creates a powerful first impression in which the employee gets to feel part of the company quickly and is embraced into the culture.  Sometimes, just the change itself can be unnerving, so make sure your new employees have opportunities for open communication about their perceived challenges, so wherever possible they can be addressed quickly.  Finally, remember that you can’t win them all, and sometimes, despite the right offer and the right process your ‘perfect candidate’ may just decide they would rather be somewhere else. In this situation, your best response is to wish them all the best, keep calm and carry on recruiting.