Much has been written and said recently about the incidence rate of job candidates’ outright refusal of job offers, and the unprecedented ghosting of interviews and start dates. Anecdotal evidence suggests that one central cause of this behavior rests outside the terms of the deal. Rather, many candidates are balking because they’re not particularly wowed by your story, especially the part about the organization’s core purpose, where you’re going, and the chance that they’ll actually get to make a difference. I think we can agree that recruiters are having to work too hard to face this headwind. So, what can you do?
In his book, Beating the Street, legendary money manager, Peter Lynch posited that investors who can’t explain a company’s core purpose and strategy with a simple blunt instrument, a crayon, have no business investing in the company because they don’t understand it well enough.
Lynch’s investment advice is solid, and it works here as well. If our talent pros and line managers can’t quickly articulate a compelling (but credible) picture of what the organization is about and why that matters, candidates will get a case of lockjaw just like a wily trout that passes up the fly on the end of your line because it isn’t moving naturally in the current. The trout is hungry and it wants to eat, but a sixth sense says wait, a better, more believable meal is coming. Three suggestions:
- Engage with people earlier in the process by listening (really listening) to them and begin telling your story, NOT with slick, glossy puff pieces that describe what you’d like to be, but who you really are, what you stand for, where you’re going, and what it’s really like working there. Do it with the modes and devices of their choice, not yours.
- Meaningfully involve both front line employees and senior execs (yes) in the storytelling process. Each has an important perspective that serious job candidates are eager to consider. Don’t make them wait or beg for it.
- Be thorough in your vetting, but pick up the pace, take the slack out of it. Run a disciplined recruitment & selection process, vest people with ample decision latitude, do pre-interview reference checks, and most importantly, lose the arrogance by keeping candidates well apprised of the process and progress. The days of the old, “we’ll get back to you (sometime, maybe)” are over.
Happy hunting, and best wishes for a terrific Independence Day!