Compel IT candidates to accept your offer by making a personal connection

Here’s a news flash – finding top IT talent is becoming increasingly difficult as budgets loosen up and employers are desperate to fill positions requiring high demand skills.  The problem seems to be that there are more jobs (believe it or not) than qualified candidates (who are actively looking for a career change).
Finding top talent can be a bit challenging in today’s market, but that’s what IT recruitment agencies like Agile do (although we admittedly do it better and faster than other agencies).  But what we’re finding to be the real challenge now is when the candidate’s current employer makes a counter-offer to keep the top performer from leaving.

Recently, one of our candidate’s interviewing at a client company received a counter-offer from his current employer. The candidate was really impressed with our client, but he was just a little nervous to make a move and decided to stay put. The client was disappointed because the candidate was a perfect fit. The hiring manager at the client company was empathetic though, because he had been in a similar position earlier on in his career.  He decided to write the candidate a message to share his experience and offer a persuading argument as to why the candidate should reconsider. 

The email goes something like this (names have been changed to ensure the privacy of all individuals and entities):


I can’t say that I am not disappointed, but I do understand that everyone has their own circumstances and must do what’s in their own best interest.  I will say this, my circumstances were very similar to yours when I made the decision to leave my last company to be a part of Acme Enterprises. I was working for a very successful company, I was well respected, making a huge business impact, big salary plus bonuses, office with a view, great people, etc.  But there were several things that, regardless of my compensation and my environment, were not going to change. I was the biggest fish in the pond.  I had no peers, and no potential to really learn from others.  I found myself implementing the same technologies\techniques\patterns – occasionally introducing something new, but no peer validation that these were great decisions and implementations.

I can honestly say that I have learned more in the last 12-18 months through the process of designing this platform from the ground up than I have in the last 5-10 years working on legacy technology and enhancing existing platforms.  Another factor for me was the “Acme Enterprise” opportunity itself. At my previous company, I could begin to see the end of the runway from a technology roadmap perspective. I spent several years getting them on the right path and putting the right pieces in place which in my opinion covered about 75% of the “runway”.  The remaining 25% would be spent making minor tweaks, maybe integrating a few new technologies here and there.  I could see that final 25% dragging out for quite a while and I could see myself getting complacent – which can be very dangerous from a technology career standpoint. 

Acme Enterprise, on the other hand, was a blank slate, with easily 6-10 years of runway.  We have been working on the core platform and client for about a year and a half and have only begun to scratch the surface.  As we present this to future customers, we learn more about the business potential and the opportunities, and the runway keeps increasing – which is very exciting!

The last factor for me was the core competency and the attitude of the team itself.  Every member of this team is a winner.  Each one of us has been successful in the past and this company will be no exception.   

Sounds like you have made your final decision, but If there is anything else you would like to discuss before completely closing the door, let me know.  If this is the end of the road, I wish you the best.

What an impactful message. After the candidate read the email, he had a change of heart and decided to accept the company’s offer because he was so impressed, and could so relate to, what the hiring manager had written. The key point is how the hiring manager had the ability to see things from the candidate’s perspective. He then provided an honest and compelling story that resonated with the candidate – so much so, that it convinced him to reconsider and accept the client’s offer.

Long story short – if you want to hire top talent, you have to impress candidates. Sometimes that may require a deep understanding of where the candidate is coming from and what some of his concerns may be.  Once you are able to relate to the candidate, build a compelling case that will convince him why your opportunity is the better career choice.

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