How far do you roll out the red carpet for candidates?

red carpetIt’s tough out there for companies looking to hire good people. In most industries, it is extremely competitive and a good candidate who is active in the market will probably find themselves with numerous offers. In fact, they can probably just sit back and wait to be head hunted. To a large extent, a good candidate has the power… and this can leave companies in a tricky spot when they inevitably find themselves competing for someone.

On the one hand you want to do everything possible to get your chosen person. But at the same time, how much should you roll out the red carpet to someone?

“Rolling out the red carpet” is not necessarily just about offering more money than everyone else, better benefits or anything to do with their package. These things are obviously more than important, but in a competitive market you can assume that your competitors will be doing the same. Often the difference between winning and losing in this game comes down to how much love you show the person during the process….and  that can be a difficult balance to find.

There are those companies who go with the theory that people should want to work for them… .and if they choose not to then they weren’t the right person in the first place. Then there are others who will shower their chosen candidate in love and attention in an attempt to get them across the line.

I know that I have lost out on a placement because a client couldn’t be bothered making a phone call to a candidate over the weekend to answer some questions about the offer they had made. Inevitably the candidate didn’t feel very loved at all and accepted another offer. I have also managed to close out deals where the offer was significantly less, but my client met with the candidate on a Sunday and that was enough to persuade them that that is who she wanted to work for. I even managed to get someone to re-consider an offer which they had initially turned down, after I asked my client to send her some flowers thanking her for her time and wishing her good luck in her new job.

Personally, I think the more you can do to build that relationship with the candidate, the more likely you are to get them across the line.  Different situations require different tactics but the balance is always somewhere between doing nothing and not begging (you don’t want to end up with an employee that arrives with an over inflated sense of themselves who you then struggle to manage).   In a very competitive talent market, there are no guarantees that you can hire who you want every time, but if you show some love when recruiting, then you will probably win more than you lose.

So, how far do you roll out the red carpet?


Luke Collard 


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