Why Can’t I Hire My First Choice Candidate? Five Factors to Consider

How to win and influence your top candidates.

Undoubtedly, it is always a competitive employment market for top talent. Salaries are increasing, traffic is worsening, and top talent often has multiple choices and is likely comparing 2-3 offers at once. The business climate does not impact this for top performers. Candidates are more educated than ever and often have unprecedented access to information about you, your technology, the market for your technology, who you personally have worked with, and who works with you now. Like you, candidates are doing their homework on you and your team/ board of directors/ investors. These “A-Listers” will also possess a strong network and ask for input on their top choices. There are many factors in a top candidate’s decision regarding a new role. How can you influence YOUR top candidate to choose you and your company as the obvious best choice for them?

Here are 5 Factors that have the most impact:

1. Your reputation as a leader.

Great people attract and are attracted to other great people. Not just in performance and results but also in how they engage each other, lead, develop people, and treat others. Your potential total impact and your integrity matter to them. What do people say about you?

2. Your team.

Not just the level of talent and capabilities. You want your team to welcome all new potential team members. This can be difficult for science or technology-driven organizations. Your team must possess high Emotional Intelligence and display this capability in the interview process. The candidate needs to feel comfortable with the entire team, even if that candidate is not your first choice.

Your Business Model Can you articulate what you hope to accomplish with your company and the impact this hire will make? Is it compelling and enticing enough that

the candidate can understand your vision for the future and see themselves as a contributor to your success? Being a part of a strong team and taking you over the finish line? Strong candidates want to know that they are a part of a bigger plan and want to be able to view themselves as an integral part of your success.

3. Your brand

Your image says everything – it gives people a feel for what it is to work with you and a feel for how you approach people. Your website, marketing materials, slide decks, videos, etc. It may not seem all that important, but your website is the first place people go to check you out besides LinkedIn. It is very difficult to recover from a bad first impression. You don’t even need much information, but you do need enough to describe what you are doing and why, and you need a good look and feel. It is all part of your brand, and it is what enables you to attract people who will naturally resonate with you.

Your Physical Office Atmosphere. Fresh paint, clean carpet, and pleasant smells. This may sound very basic to you, but many office environments do not comply with this basic standard and are not welcoming. Beyond the physical office, people can sense your business’s “vibe” or “energy” when they enter the door. Be sure you hire an interior designer to help you with this. In the past, people would often give up creature comforts in exchange for cashing in on stock options, but no longer. Good people want to work in a place that feels “great.”

4. Your recruiting process

When clients have trouble closing on any candidate, it is because of a breakdown in their recruiting process. You must know who and when and communicate the next steps with timelines to all prospective candidates. The entire process gives the candidates a taste of what it will be like to work for you.

Attracting talent is as much an art as it is a science – getting people to feel great about you, your company, your technology, and your vision are all a part of your recruiting process. Think about how you can be more attractive. Your process is your tell. It is a live demonstration of how you get work done, the culture you have built or are building, and how organized and efficient you are. It is also very telling about how focused you are.

We work with companies to identify, select, and hire high-functioning leadership teams. We specialize in placing CEOs and Vice Presidents who perform to or beyond the expectations of the board that hires them, and we guarantee it. Call for a free consultation regarding the hiring of your next executive.