3 Things You Need to Do to Close the Prize Hire (Confessions of a Recovering Headhunter)

Some good ideas here for corporate recruiters…..

3 Things You Need to Do to Close the Prize Hire (Confessions of a Recovering Headhunter)

by

Adem Tahiri

 Nov 28, 2012, 6:21 am ET

I’ve always thought corporate recruiters could learn a lot from “headhunters” — not because I’m biased due to years spent in third-party recruitment (both as a recruiter and manager). It’s just that when I came to the “other side” I noticed one glaring weakness.

Corporate recruiters are very “process driven” and not very good, well, “hunters”; at least that tends to be the case for corporate recruiters newer to the profession. They get the procedures down quickly but they just haven’t been exposed to the world of recruiting and closing higher-level talent. More senior corporate recruiters, on average, have been exposed to both sides and may already use some of the principles I’ll discuss.

A few quick facts about recruiting top talent in the U.S. Currently in the U.S. unemployment is hovering around 8%, yet, more than 52% of employers (according to the Wall Street Journal) say they cannot fill their positions. How can this be? How can we have, in this economy, a jobs gap of nearly 4 million?

We have a lack of talented folks out there. In the U.S., we graduate nearly five times as many liberal arts majors as we do engineers. What this means for you (Mr. or Mrs. Corporate Recruiter) is that top talent is hard to find, and it’s only going to get harder. Before the “great recession” one of the greatest worries in recruitment was the “coming shortage of a skilled workforce” due to retirements of baby boomers. With Wall Street and 401(k)s rebounding, it’s no surprise to see that, in this market, a machinist can essentially “write their ticket.” Stop for a moment, read that again and let it sink in. Wow.

What this means for you, the corporate recruiter, is that Jane Engineer is in demand and knows it. Yes, unemployment is high, but for a Petroleum Engineer? It’s less than one half of one percent; wow. Your organization is depending on you to find these skilled folks and to close the deal on an offer. This is where “thinking like a headhunter” will help you. Headhunters only know recruiting the skilled, the sought after. If they didn’t, no one would pay their outrageous fees. While we can’t go over every trick and tool to snag top talent, here are three simple things you can do in your next interview to land the “prize hire”:

Ask Open-ended Questions

There are two types of questions (as anyone in sales can vouch): open- and closed-ended. Closed-ended questions are “yes/no” questions like, do you have a dollar to spare? Open-ended questions are of the philosophic variety (call me the recruiting Socrates!) and have no definite answer.

The reason this is so important to landing the “prize candidate” is the same reason it’s important in sales: open-ended questions get people talking. Ask questions that are pointed, but open, like: “If there were a handful of things you could change about your current position, what would they be”?

You can’t be afraid to ask that. As they indulge you, take notes, as these are what I call “doctor questions.”

Just like a doctor asks you “where it hurts,” you want to find the pain and write it down. The pain is what you will use to close the deal.

Side note: open-ended questions are great tools in general. Not just in landing a “prize candidate” but in increasing the quality of your talent pool and avoiding mistakes. They essentially give bad candidates “enough rope to hang themselves,” which is good for you.

The Most Important Words in Recruiting Are…

A mentor (and a boss) of mine, years back, found me on a day when I was unusually ornery. He wanted to know why I was feeling so melancholy. When I told him I had had yet another in-demand candidate back out of a job on me, he gave me invaluable advice in this simple phrase: “the most important words in recruiting are: If, Then, is that Correct”.

I can’t tell you how much those words have helped me. In the short term, I stopped feeling like a victim but in the long term they meant much more.

Likewise, I hope they will for you too. The reason these words are so powerful is because it not only “closes” the candidate but it finds any objections they may have while you still have a chance to overcome them.

As you ask your open-ended, “pain” questions and find the pain along the way, you should try minor closes: “so it sounds like, Mr. Candidate, if you had a job with XYX then you’d make a change, is that correct?”

Those small yes’s will lead to the big one at the end when you finally ask for the offer. Just remember to use those magic words: “If, then, is that correct.”

Let Me Paint You a Picture

Finally, you’ve done it. You closed the “prize hire.” They’ve accepted. Well done. Your work is still not done, since 1 in 4 employees making over $60,000 accepts a counteroffer. Know the math — don’t fool yourself. Before I end an interview I always address the issue of a counteroffer; again it goes back to those “pain questions,” which are like ammunition.

This isn’t exact, but my conversation to a candidate is kind of like: “Mr. CFO tomorrow, you’re going to go into work and tell your boss you’re quitting, so let me paint you a picture of what it’s going to look like. All of the sudden all will be well, the XYZ issues you told me about will be solved, and your boss will probably offer you a raise. When he does, I hope you ask yourself, ‘why didn’t he or she offer me this before? When this happens, what do you intend to do?’”

It’s not a comfortable conversation, but I’d rather put the very real scenario that they probably haven’t thought about in their head before they get there. When they do, I don’t want surprises.

No recruiting process will ever be perfect, and there are tools that both corporate and third-party recruiters could learn from each other. However, a lot of the corporate recruiters I’ve managed tend to treat interviews like interrogations. They focus on questions directing a candidate to proving themselves, such as “why did you leave your last job” or “why should we consider you?” They’ll mention some selling points about the company, but the real psychology of a sale lies in asking questions and listening, and then using that information to close your target.

If you’re a corporate recruiter and take anything away from this article, I hope it’s that in order to get the “prize hire” you need to sell them (and close them) as much as they need to sell you. If you take nothing else away, you’ll be a better recruiter for it. Best of luck.

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The 3 Most Universal Tells in an Interview | SmartRecruiting

http://www.smartrecruiters.com/blog/the-3-most-universal-tells-in-an-interview/

The 3 Most Universal Tells in an Interview

by Jessica Miller-Merrell

Aside from the actual job offer itself, interviewing a candidate is the single most important part of the recruitment. While sourcing and posting your online job ad is never easy, the interview process can be long, intense, and complicated. The interview relies on two people, typically the hiring manager and the job seeker to meet, engage, share, and develop a relationship with one another. Not every job seeker that meshes well with the interviewer is the ideal candidate for the position. Sometimes personal preferences, interests, and commonalities get in the way of a great hire.

Candidates are also becoming increasingly aware of how to game the hiring and recruitment process being coached with the right things to say and keyword stuffing their resume. Unfortunately, job seekers are being coaxed and encouraged to lie and fake their way to a promotion or new job opportunity. In my experience, job seekers most often exhibit tells like a poker play does with an interview. Here are three universal interview tells recruiters can use as part of their interview evaluation process to sniff out the best and most qualified candidates for the job:

  • Shifting. Shifty eyes, shifting feet, or just nervous twitch can be a tell that something is not right with the prospective employee. They are uncomfortable or nervous with the new job’s responsibilities, requirements, hours, or their previous job history. Interview TellShifting or fidgeting happens because the job seeker wants or needs the job but their body responds differently. They may not be giving you the whole story. Move on or probe for more information.
  • Nose Touching. Scientists believe that lies or untruths said are often accompanied by a touching of the nose with the person’s fingers or hands commonly referred to as the Pinocchio Effect. Depending on the time of year you are conducting the interview, you could write off the nose touching to allergies, but as a hiring manager you have to ask yourself if this hire is worth the risk.
  • Possessive Phrases. When it comes down to it, we’re all selling something either a product or service or ourselves for the job. Job seekers don’t often think of themselves as in the sales business even though they should. The job market is competitive and as recruiters we don’t want to loose our best candidate option. Qualified job seekers have choices too. Recruiters can gauge a top prospects interest by their tells if they speak using possessive phrases like, “my desk” or “my sales team.” Using possessive phrases means they are more likely to accept the job offer when you present.

Every aspect of the interview and selection process is a negotiation. Job seekers want to learn about the job openings and organization while also marketing themselves for the job. Companies are doing the very same thing. It’s the dance we do to learn, evaluate, and understand if the job or job seeker is right for you or you are right for them. It’s the subtle and often non-verbal cues and patterns that really give away our true intentions and/or facts about who we really are. Recruiting and hiring managers can look for these interview tells during the candidate selection process and throughout their career as they interact with team members, peers, employees, bosses, clients, and more.


@blogging4jobs blogsJessica Miller-Merrell
, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. When she talks, people listen. Photo Credit
IndiaBix.

Schedule Interviews that your Colleagues think will be Beneficial Interviews. SmartRecruiters has been known to turn all employees into Smart Recruiters.

The 3 Most Hated Interview Questions – and How You Can Juice Them Up

The 3 Most Hated Interview Questions – and How You Can Juice Them Up

123RF Stock Photo

When you’re asking interview questions day in and day out, it’s easy to fall into a rut.

Even the most intuitive and engaging hiring managers may find themselves rattling off the same set of stock questions every day, and thanks to Google, these prompts are less effective than ever before. Applicants search online for common corporate hiring questions and then simply memorize their responses. It’s hard to learn anything about your candidates when they’re telling you exactly what you want to hear.

If your company could use a little help making better hiring decisions, it’s time to give your stock interview questions a badly needed makeover. Try these creative alternatives to break through the scripted dialogue and assess candidates for who they really are.

Hated Interview Question #1

Bad: Tell me about yourself.

Better: What’s the most exciting thing that ever happened to you?

As one of the first interview questions posed to most applicants, this opener is meant as an ice-breaker.

The problem? Most candidates will recite a response that tells you nothing you didn’t already know from the cover letter and resume. To help them ditch the script and open up, ask interviewees about the most exciting thing they’ve ever experienced instead. The answers you get might surprise you.

A candidate who talks about the birth of his son shows that he’s committed and loyal. An applicant who beams while describing his first published piece of poetry gives you a glimpse of his creative side, and someone who’s gone sky diving or deep sea diving reveals that she’s not afraid to take chances and try new things.

Remember, when your questions are interesting, your answers will be, too.

Hated Interview Question #2

Bad: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Better: What do you want your job title to be when you retire?

Some interview questions have no good answer. This is one of those questions.

If candidates say, “Right here,” they seem ambitionless. If they reply, “Moving on to the position I really want,” then they seem uncommitted. If they say, “Sitting in your seat,” they come across as predatory, and if they steal Mitch Hedberg’s line and answer, “Celebrating the fifth anniversary of you asking this question,” they might get points for humor, but you won’t learn anything about their passions and goals.

Making the time frame less immediate will help you to uncover what applicants truly enjoy and what drives them to succeed. That’s the kind of information you need to make the best employee selection decisions you can.

Hated Interview Question #3

Bad: Tell me about a time when you had to overcome an obstacle.

Better: Let me describe a problem you might encounter while working here. How would you solve the problem?

Most applicants are prepared to tell you a story that paints them as the business equivalent of a superhero flying into a burning building to rescue orphans. Sometimes these stories provide valuable insights into a candidate’s character, but often these tales are unrelated to the kind of work the new position requires.

To get an idea of how your new hire would handle the decisions she’d have to make in her new position, use a real, concrete example and ask her what she’d do. You can even formulate questions designed to reveal different qualities.

For example, the question “What would you do if you found out a colleague was fraudulently inflating his sales numbers?” is a lot different than “If your business to business sales took a dip a few weeks before your performance review, what would you do?” Pointed questions can tell you a lot about a person’s social skills, integrity, technical knowledge and expertise.

Conducting an hour-long Q&A session that’s stuffed with clichéd interview questions is no way to start a business relationship. It’s trite, it’s uninspired and above all, it’s boring, both for you and for your interviewee.

Energize your interview sessions by revamping your questions. Not only will the process become more enjoyable, but you’ll get the information you need to make even better hiring decisions.

Remember what Tony Robbins once said: “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

Job Interview Preparation – How To “Tell Me About Yourself”. « Above The Rim Executi ve Coaching

Job Interview Preparation – How To “Tell Me About Yourself”.

Almost every job interview begins with the interviewer asking the interviewees to tell about themselves. This seemingly innocent and obvious question sinks more interviews than any other part of the interview. Everyone knows this question is coming, however, very few candidates prepare for this. They assume that they know their background, and so they can just talk about it. However 90% of candidates talk themselves right out of a job just in telling about themselves. Because they have not prepared they:

  1. Ramble
  2. Bore the Interviewer
  3. Say irrelevant or even damaging things
  4. Do not demonstrate relevancy to the company or the position
  5. Do not demonstrate track record of success

Nailing this part of the interview makes the rest of the interview so much easier. If you strike out on this, recovering is almost impossible. Since you know they are going to ask the question, wouldn’t it make sense to prepare? I have heard recommendations to respond by asking the interviewer to first explain what the job entails. If I am interviewing, and a candidate asks this question, I will wonder why they did not read the job description, and assume they are unprepared. So how do you answer this question? Keep in mind, when interviewing, your primary objectives are to:

  1. Answer “What is in it for the interviewer”?
  2. Demonstrate how your values and culture align with the company values and culture.
  3. Articulate what you are known for, and how that is a benefit for the company.
  4. Articulate your value proposition.

Also you need to be concise and to the point. In preparing for the “Tell Me About Yourself” the following tips will help you nail the shot when the game is on the line.

  1. Read and understand the job description.
  2. Research the company.
  3. Total time should be between 1½ and 3 minutes.
  4. Give a BRIEF synopsis of your career. Shape your synopsis to the needs learned from the job description and prior research.
    1. Do not list every title and company you have worked for, but give a range.
    2. Do not give a laundry list of responsibilities tasks or processes you performed, but give a range.
  5. Based on the job description, as well as the required skills and experiences, give 2 or 3 SHORT accomplishment statements to demonstrate your success.
    1. Do not go into details.
    2. Do not take time to “set the stage”.
    3. Give a simple Quantified Result and action statement including key skill or experience.
    4. Should be 20 words or less.
  6. Summarize skills and experience inferred from the accomplishment statements focusing on skills and experiences required in the job description.
  7. Say why you want the job! Why are you interested in the company, and their products or services?
  8. Solicit their agreement that your background and experience enable you to meet the objectives of the position and the company.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the interview “Tell Me About Yourself” and how you prepare.

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