By Peter Weddle on the TAtech Blog
Many employers move directly to onboarding the minute a candidate says “yes.” The sourcing is done, the evaluations have been completed, and the selected candidate has been convinced. The offer is made and accepted, so those employers assume, the role of recruiting is over. The process can turn to filling other requisitions. That workload never lets up, so it’s a reasonable next step, but one that can backfire, at least if you’re trying to recruit high performers.
As I discussed in my last post, high performers have a different outlook and a different set of expectations when they consider changing jobs. Indeed, that’s the first and most important difference – they’re changing jobs. In the vast majority of cases, they’re already employed.
Not only do you have to convince them to do the one thing we humans most hate to do – change – you have to compete with their current employer in order to get them to actually move. Add that to the normal competition you face in the talent market, and it’s clear that the recruiting process, itself, must be adjusted. You can’t move directly from a “yes” to onboarding because you can’t assume that “yes” won’t become a “no.”
Here’s how it often plays out. You go through all the time and effort to get a high performer to the point where they decide to accept your offer. Their affirmation is your return on that huge investment you’ve made. You have a right to feel good about what you’ve accomplished, but then, their employer enters the picture.
They want to hang on to that high performer as much as you want to recruit them. So, what do they do? They make a counter-offer. A sweet one. And then, remind the candidate that it’s safer to stay with what they know than to roll the dice with something that looks better but they don’t know, at least very well. And, that tactic often works. The high performer changes their mind and decides to stay right where they are (usually with a raise).
Countering the Counter-Offer
The only way to win the War for the Best Talent is to adopt tactics that acknowledge and adjust to the very real differences among high performers. No organization says its recruiting process is designed for the “average” candidate – no one consciously recruits for the satisfactory performer – but the practices that are used often virtually guarantee that is what happens.
One way to change that outcome is to introduce reRecruitment into the process. It’s composed of steps that implicitly recognize two facts about high performers: first, they are highly sought-after assets – not only by their current employer, but by every other employer seeking to fill openings. And second, they’re vulnerable right up to the minute they walk through the door (and after it, as well, but that’s another subject).
ReRecruitment acknowledges those facts by consciously continuing the process of convincing a high performer to join an organization, even after they’ve said “yes.” It can be performed by recruiters, themselves, or by the team the candidate will join or by a combination of the two.
The actions they take will obviously be idiosyncratic to the culture of the organization, but all have the same goal: to reinforce the high performer’s “yes” decision. To convince them that they’ve made the right move. To reassure them that what attracted them to the organization will, in fact, actually happen for them.
The best way to do that is to understand which of the five key factors that motivate high performers to make a job change most influenced their decision and then to emphasize that factor or those factors over and over again. The five factors are what they will get to do, what they will get to learn, what they will get to accomplish, with whom they will get to work and how they will be recognized and rewarded.
Emphasizing the appropriate factor(s) for each high performer offered a job by an organization is the best counter to any counter-offer a high performer may receive and to all offers by other employers. It acknowledges that an organization both understands and respects that those individuals are different and must, therefore, be recruited differently. They have to be recruited twice.
Food for Thought,
Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can check out his latest books on Amazon or in the TAtech Bookstore.