At ECA, we often find that our partners and clients are interested in best practices for executing a search. So, we’ve surveyed our Managers and Directors to compile the 10 best practices we keep top of mind to ensure a successful search.
1. Always be…Personable
The pool of rock star candidates is limited, so approach every interview as if you are about to talk with your dream employee. Hiring managers should always engage with candidates in a way that conveys that they are invested in the candidate’s success. We find that it is important that candidates feel that the hiring managers want them to win. We recommend to our clients that they demonstrate a willingness to listen to candidates’ interests and motivations. This builds trust, which allows you to dig deeper into a candidate’s experience more easily without coming off as invasive.
2. Provide as much information as possible, as soon as possible
Ambiguity is not your friend. The more information the candidate has when making their decision, the better. Any lingering confusion about company culture, work expectations, etc. only incentivizes your rock star candidate to consider other positions. Keep them out of the dark, even about some of the less exciting parts of the organization, and they will be able to make a quick and confident decision.
3. Confirm Compensation Throughout the Process
If negotiations start after the offer is extended, then you’re in trouble. Talks around table stakes should be conducted early in the process. If we can ensure candidates are comfortable with the table stakes, we can be more confident in their likelihood of accepting an offer.
4. Consistent Follow-Ups
Nobody wants to be hounded. However, strong candidates often have multiple offers to consider. Make sure they feel valued and sought after. A strong, consistent follow-up system is crucial in keeping your position and company at the forefront of their minds. Even after they start the position, check in to see how they are adjusting. A genuine check-in goes a long way, just don’t go overboard!
5. Extend a Verbal Offer
Remember that the name of the game is to be personable. Extending an offer via email or fax (remember those?) is too impersonal for great candidates. Hiring managers should extend the offer to the candidate verbally, whether it is via phone or video call.
6. Tag Team the Verbal Offer
Moreover, the verbal offer should be a tag-team effort, with another member of the leadership team or human resources joining the call. A verbal call allows the candidate to ask any initial questions and permits further relationship building conversations.
7. Sell the Opportunity
Now that you have chosen them, forefront the things about the company that would make them choose you. Highlight the alignment in mission and the potential for growth in the position. Promote the benefits!
8. Anticipate Pushback
If you have identified a strong candidate, they’ll likely negotiate hard during the offer stage. Don’t let this deter you, you want great negotiators on your leadership team. Lean on executive search members to handle the negotiations. Since they’re an outside party, candidates often feel comfortable responding to the hypothetical compensation packages that recruiters propose. Knowing which parts of a compensation package are most important to a candidate goes a long way when preparing the offer and counteroffers.
9. Be Prepared for a Remote or Hybrid Model
Be adaptive and willing to adjust to the new working styles of the world. Remote and hybrid work is here to stay, and these options are often worth a cut in pay for some candidates. If your work culture allows for it, don’t miss out on top talent for the sake of keeping your team in the office.
10. Streamline the Process
Our final best practice is far from the least important. Many candidates drop out of a search because the process simply took too long. Automate forms, be swift in communications, and convey a sense of urgency. Expressing your eagerness for them to join the company through moving things along quickly will help the candidates feel welcome and wanted.
Tr’Vel Lyons, Ed.M. is a Project Manager of ECA Partners. He can be reached at [email protected].