Tips for recruiting and landing top candidates: Selling and closing are key to your success

Successful startups know how to pitch their company, job, culture, and compensation and benefits programs. As importantly, they know how to uncover a candidate’s unique decision criteria and to build and deliver a tailored pitch during the selling and closing stage of recruiting. The difference between landing or losing a top candidate can be your ability to detect and address a candidate’s acceptance criteria (monetary and non-monetary motivators).

During recruiting, sell the position to the candidate

Your job posting, messaging through social media or other networking efforts are your first contact with potential candidates. Ensure you:

  • Describe your brand
  • Share your company culture
  • Highlight the appeal of the position you are offering

To effectively sell the opportunity, you must know the job and the candidate pool you are targeting. Ensure job requirements are clearly defined and outline the desired traits, experience, and skills.

Create a good first impression

For those candidates you wish to interview, remember that although you are the one recruiting, they are evaluating you as well. Applicants (and particularly, hot prospects) understand the job market and have many employment choices.

Take an interest in the candidate as an individual, be on time for the interview, make them feel comfortable and welcome, and show appreciation for their time. Ensure you are focused on them and the discussion, without any distractions. Develop a rapport and trust early on and seek out negotiation factors upfront.

Understand your potential candidates’ motivators and negotiating points

Typically, the weakest motivation for job change is money. If this happens to be your candidate’s primary discontent with their current job, it can be the easiest problem for their current employer to solve, so watch out for the counter-offer!

During the interview, ask questions to uncover a candidate’s motivators beyond money. This can help you present the right value proposition to the candidate that matches your company’s recruitment needs. These questions could relate to the candidate’s:

  • Career goals
  • Current work environment
  • Relationship with leader or peers
  • Ongoing education

Understanding the leverage points in the negotiation will help you during the recruiting process.

Closing your top candidate

In recruiting, the closing process is a simple information exchange exploring the value of your organization compared to another.

Once you’ve identified the candidate’s negotiation factors and the value proposition for your organization, you can use these to influence the candidate to accept your job offer.
An average offer to a candidate might include information on:

  • The compensation
  • Your startup’s benefits package
  • The start date and leader’s name

Often this is a 15- to 20-minute conversation.

Positioning a successful close

To best position a successful close, spend 30 to 45 minutes on the phone closing the candidate. Review with them all of their motivators for considering a move and sell your organization’s value proposition. Only then should you discuss compensation, benefits, and other human resources (HR) information.

A successful close matters. When recruiting, companies spend significant amounts of time and money sourcing, screening and interviewing talent.

At the end of the process, if an organization fails to effectively sell the opportunity, make the final close and hire the right candidate, there is no return on that investment.