Most of the time this question is asked in reverse, but for today, let’s assume that you are in charge of the hiring at your company. So you are either an owner, manager, or HR pro and you are all too familiar with the stacks of seemingly identical resumes that appear when you open up a key position. Perhaps you even enlisted the services of a recruiter to be sure that you find your perfect fit. Then…it happens.
You crumble up the resume in your hand to read the next and there it is (imagine a soft light shining down and angel singing in the background). This is your perfect fit with all the skills and experience you could ever ask for. The candidate only asks for a reasonable salary, and you don’t know if it’s delirium or not, but the resume paper smells of lavender and babies. You ask for an interview and put the person through the ringer with the happy result of measuring up on all accounts. You discuss the hire with your team and you all agree to move forward. With eager excitement, you call with the good news and then you get hit with the rejection 2×4. “Thank you so much for the offer, but I have decided to go a different direction.”
It does not take many of these to totally kill your morale and it usually is followed by a form of corporate grieving. Not like you lost a loved one but you certainly internalize the rejection a bit. Step 1: Defense. “What a punk, what a waste of our time and who would not want to take this job?” Step 2: Denial. “Well, this clearly wasn’t the right candidate, would have been bad for us, and obviously didn’t see how awesome we are.” Then Step 3: Settling. “Just call the other guy we interviewed and hire him. I’m sure he will be a quick learn.”
Unfortunately, we very seldom sit down and ask ourselves, “what did we miss?” or “what does the “other direction” have that we don’t have?” In a sales position, we always encourage people to have a process. This does 2 things, 1) it makes things replicable and 2) if something goes wrong, we can analyze the when/where and fix it before the next time. Hiring people should be no different. Your hiring process should replicable and when you lose a good hiring prospect instead of internalizing it, you should stop and analyze what happened. Start by asking these 3 questions:
1) Was it something I said? Okay, not really, but the first analysis should be of the company and the process. Did we miss a step in showing our company culture? Did we truly convey the vision and mission that we have? Did the task we needed to be complete actually fit into the candidate’s long term goals?
If you answered all the questions and still do not understand what went wrong move to questions 2.
2) What do they have that we don’t? Where did the recruit go instead of our company? This shouldn’t be too hard to figure out as obviously you are connected with potential hires on LinkedIn by now. Once you know where the prospect went, you can start to analyze those questions. What did the other company offer that we didn’t? What box did they check for this candidate that we didn’t offer to check? Uncovering these facts will help you alter your process or the offering before you hire again.
3) What do we need to change? Let me be clear here, the answer to number 3 in most situations will be NOTHING. Sometimes the only way to know why a person made a certain decision is to drug him/her with truth serum and ask. If, in answering questions 1 and 2, you discover something that you can control, then you must take action! Do not settle with not always landing the best talent.
This goes back to my blog on how your people are your second most valuable asset. Once you have your bus built, it is imperative that you get the right people on that bus.
I think it goes without say that we are biased on what sets companies apart (employee development, company culture and vision, and benefits) to top tier talent, but ultimately each person will be different. Control what you can control, change what needs to be changed and remember, if you want to go somewhere fast, go alone. If you want to go somewhere far, build the right team.
Caleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242