Never have another offer declined again!

There is very little in the world of recruiting that is more disheartening or frustrating than having an offer declined. After all the work that was done to source the candidate, sell them to the customer, arrange interviews, and negotiate an offer, the whole deal falls through and you're back to zero. It stings, most notably in the wallet area for my compatriots on the independent/agency side. As a result, developing a method to boost offer acceptance is key for any recruiter.

There are a variety of tactics currently employed to close a candidate. You can implement the 'yes' method of using many little yeses to increase the odds of one big yes at the end. You can use the ABC method of closing, and re-closing the candidate on the offer amount, opportunity, etc. at every step of the process. You can even go really old-school and use the Ben Franklin two column pro/con approach. All of the above have their merits, but each one has downsides as well.

The fact is, none of these methods are perfect, and I can only think of one surefire way to avoid getting turned down: never make the offer.

Clearly this is not a very good solution if you plan on getting people hired, making money off of placements, or keeping your corporate job. So offers must be extended at the risk of having them turned down. It seems as though we're no further along than we were before! However, there is a lot that can be done to better your odds, and it doesn't involve using any closing tricks, tactics, or techniques.

Simply put - be the candidate's career coach.

The ultimate goal for the candidate/recruiter relationship should be one of mutual trust and respect. Ideally, the recruiter should know enough about a candidate to give actual consultative advice to them regarding career decisions. This takes a lot of work, hours of phone time, and a concerted effort to know what makes your candidate tick. This is why recruiting is hard work - you need to crack the shell of each and every person you get deep into the process and actually understand them.

Everybody has several spheres of influence and our job as recruiters is to make sure we make it into one of them. Which one we enter is largely dependent upon the approach taken during the recruiting process. If we give sound, honest advice, take time to listen to the candidate's needs, wants, and desires, and treat them accordingly, their stock in us will increase rapidly. In all reality I truly feel that a candidate who has been recruited properly will need almost no closing at all. The relationship you have built will do it for you.

When I look at the approach I take to recruiting, I am very hands-on with my candidates and do my best to be their confidant, advisor, and go-to person in the job search process. In fact, if I get a candidate to the offer stage and have failed to memorize every active phone number they have chances are very good that I have not built a strong enough relationship. This isn't because I'm necessarily a numbers guy, I just haven't spent enough time on the phone with them! If this happens they take advice less seriously, don't instill as much trust in me, and I have less influence over the end result.

Essentially you don't want to be closing your candidate at the end of the process. If you've made it that far without gaining their trust it is unlikely they will suddenly turn to you for advice on a decision as important as a career move. This is why I truly believe the best closers don't close the candidate, they advise the candidate beginning with the first phone call.

Views: 101

Comment by Dan Nuroo on March 26, 2009 at 9:25am
Gino, the ONLY way to never have an offer declined again, is TO GIVE UP and not make another offer!

We deal with people, there will always be strange nuances and just plain general stuff, which we won't have thought of or the candidate won't have told us about. I'm sorry, I don't think I can be convinced this gig is ever 100% done! Obviously your influence will be important, and help point in the right direction, is a skill. The uncertainty is also part of the fun of this game :)
Comment by Gino Conti on March 26, 2009 at 9:36am
Couldn't agree more, Dan. Obviously the title is a little sensationalist, but that's probably because I had an extra cup of tea this morning...

I said it in the post and I'll say it again, not making the offer is the only surefire way to avoid having it declined. You and I are definitely on the same page there, my friend. I do put a premium on building the relationship because I have a major fear of sounding like a salesman to my candidates. The last thing I want is to have them feel like I'm closing them, so I try to cultivate the relationship accordingly. I just feel like if you use a tactic or technique, it is going to sound that way no matter how good your delivery is.
Comment by Mike Stallfus on March 26, 2009 at 3:35pm
Being a career counselor seems an intuitive part of the job. Just being honest with a candidate goes a long way to close, but as long as this business involves a product with a mind off it's own 100% closing is a dream. Dan had it right - that's what makes it fun. if not you better sell vacuum cleaners.
Comment by Gino Conti on March 26, 2009 at 3:39pm
Exactly. I can't imagine there would be much of a rush when a candidate accepts if it happened every single time. We must have failure in order to appreciate success!

Just to be clear, I don't expect that developing a strong relationship with candidates will ensure a 100% close rate. I fear that I've been a bit misunderstood here. Perhaps less sarcasm in my next title...
Comment by Mike Stallfus on March 26, 2009 at 5:32pm
while i consider sarcasm a key part of my own personality i have discovered that it doesn't travel well through the internet. Turns comments that should be chuckled at into "duh" statements.

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