Get them to say I do

Get them to say I do

With enterprises actively competing for the best candidates, how do you make sure your chosen one would say 'yes'? Specialist IT recruiter absoluteIT provides some answers.

Research shows the number one reason why job offers are rejected relates to how candidates are treated during screening and selection. absoluteIT says there are 10 actions employers can take to help improve job offer conversion rates. 1. Identify and address key decision-making factors

Treating the recruitment process as a sales challenge means you are more likely to present the candidate a persuasive offer. As much as half the interview should be spent selling the offer - so only those with the best sales skills should be present. You should also try to discern the candidate's key influencing factors in the early stages of the recruitment process.

2. Promote non-financial benefits

There are three key non-monetary areas that can have a large impact on the attractiveness and acceptance of any job offer:

The direct report: Most people don't quit jobs, they quit their bosses.

Job flexibility: Choice of schedule or team, working from home, job-share, study leave, self-management, etc.

Development opportunities: Oppor-tunities to work on challenging projects with cutting edge technology is especially important in IT.

3. Paint a clear progression path

The communication of a clear and achievable progression path is typically a very important factor in a candidate's employment decision.

Demonstrate, by using concrete examples of previous hires, how high achieving employees have progressed rapidly through the ranks. Provide a projection of where candidates might reasonably expect to be in the company in two to three years if things go well.

4. Quantify what's on offer

It is easy to make claims about what may happen to the candidate, or what benefits they may receive, but high achievers will be looking for concrete examples to quantify claims made.

For example, using subjective terms to describe the benefits such as 'work/life balance' or 'growth opportunities' may fall on deaf ears. Instead, be more specific. Quantify each claim, show how frequently they occur and cite specific examples.

5. Involve the candidate's 'circle of influence'

The second greatest reason why people do not accept an offer is that their 'circle of influence' told them not to. Just as candidates must be sold, their influencers must be sold too.

For example, candidates will often speak with referees after you have made contact to get their feedback, hence it's important to leave a strong, positive impression in the mind of an influencer.

6. Seek agreement at every stage

As a candidate advances through the interview process, get their agreement on aspects of the offer at every step. This way, closing is a natural progression throughout the interview process - not just at the end when you have less leverage.

7. Align the pace of the offer to the candidate's level of urgency

Pressuring candidates into quick decisions is a sure-fire recipe to frighten away good candidates. A job change requires thought and is often considered a big decision. Let candidates absorb the opportunity at their own speed. At the same time, it is important not to delay offers once a decision has been made. Make verbal offers quickly and follow up with a written letter right away.

8. Get top-level involvement

Arrange for the CEO, a senior manager or future team member the candidate has not met to contact them personally and communicate their enthusiasm for the candidate's application and interest.

In doing this, they are communicating to the candidate, "You matter to our organisation. Join us, and let's succeed together."

9. Be well-versed in overcoming common objections

Typical objections you will encounter include "lack of promotional opportunities", "not enough money", "no appealing long - term opportunities" and "lack of challenge". Being able to overcome each of these concerns is a vital aspect of successfully improving any job offer conversion rates.

10. Build a compelling employment brand

Does your organisation have clear strategies in place to build a compelling and engaging work environment?

You need to create a "buzz" around your company to help position it as a place that people want to work at. A focus on employment branding will have a long-term payoff as high achievers are "warmed" to the company well before a formal job offer is made.

Editor's note:

Grant Burley, director of absoluteIT (, welcomes comments and suggestions to this column. He can be contacted at or 04 460 0515.

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