The world of recruiting has changed a lot over the last decade. In many cases, it’s now the candidate who has the upper hand. This is more so in highly-skilled industries such as exist in offshore jurisdictions, where there isn’t such a large talent pool available. Well-qualified and experienced candidates no longer feel lucky to receive a job offer; they have numerous other options.
Learning how to spot a candidate who is wavering will save you time, money and stress. Let’s look at some warning signs so you can tell if your candidate isn’t as committed to the job as your thought:
#1. They aren’t well informed about the position
A change in job or career is a big step for most people and it’s unlikely they’ll make such a decision lightly. Before any interview, an enthusiastic candidate will have researched your company and will know roughly what’s going to be expected of them.
You may wonder why they want to even apply for the job if they aren’t interested in your company. Here are some reasons for this:
- They aren’t taking job-hunting seriously
- They want to take an offer back to their current employer in order to get a raise
- Your offer is their least favourite out of their selected choices
If candidates can’t answer some basic questions about your company or the position you’re offering, they aren’t showing sufficient interest to commit and should be avoided.
#2. They can’t answer difficult questions
Asking candidates thoughtful questions beyond the obvious ‘Why do you want to his job?’ plays a useful part in determining their level of interest.
A good tip is to look at the quality of the questions candidates ask you too (for example: about career prospects, relocation, clients, training) for a further insight into how credible they are as potential hires.
#3. Not answering or returning calls
Being in regular touch with your candidate is a must. Not everybody is going to pick up their telephone the first time you call, nor will they reply instantly to an email.
But if you’ve left a few messages and you haven’t heard back, it’s a sure sign they are losing (or have lost) interest in the role with your firm. A candidate who is truly excited about your job opportunity will answer their phone or get back to you as soon as they can.
Notwithstanding the above, sometimes there won’t be any particular behaviour that indicates an unsure candidate. If you’re experienced in interviewing, you will likely just get ‘that feeling’.
That said, there are certain things you can do to stop your ideal candidate from looking in a different direction:
#1. Check a candidate’s preferred method of contact
It’s a simple solution to the potential problem of someone not picking up the phone. Perhaps it isn’t because they aren’t interested in the position. Perhaps it’s how they’re being approached: quite a few millennials aren’t keen on talking on the telephone. Make sure you ask how they prefer to be contacted. Aside from by cell, alternative options include email, WhatsApp, SMS, Skype and LinkedIn.
#2. Understand the difference between a lack of knowledge and a lack of confidence
From the point of view of the candidate, there’s a fine line between overselling yourself and underselling yourself.
Some candidates may come across as not showing an interest in your company, while others are simply just nervous.
Semantics can matter and changing a question like ‘Why do you want this job?’ to ‘Why do you want the job we are offering?” can make a difference to the response. Drilling down with specific questions can also lead to the answers you are looking for.
#3. Set a time line
Once you have chosen the candidate and congratulated them on the offer, it’s crucial they are made completely aware of the next steps in the process.
Subject to work permit and notice period, make the period of time between the offer and the start date as short as possible (you probably want to do this anyway, if you’re like most employers). In an intervening period between jobs, candidates can receive other offers, including roles (onshore, for example) that start much sooner. So be aware that they can get tempted elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life.
So when an offer is being accepted, explain the onboarding process and exactly what will happen between now and the start date so they know what to expect. During this time, make sure you stay in close touch, keeping lines of communication open.
#4. Create a sense of loss
At the end of the day, you have an amazing opportunity in a first-class international jurisdiction on offer. You are providing your candidate with an outstanding job offer.
However, as much as you might have warmed to a particular candidate and you really don’t want to continue the search, there are always other candidates out there.
Without coming across as arrogant, remind them that there were a lot of excellent applicants for the position. Tell them that they did exceptionally well to receive the offer in the face of such competition (and there can sometimes indeed be a large number of applicants).
Reassuring your candidate that they‘ve been awarded a great opportunity is often enough to stop them looking elsewhere.
#5. Overcoming cold feet
It’s frustrating when a candidate gets cold feet so it’s a good idea to put yourself in their shoes. As exciting as your opportunity is, there could be something that is holding them back.
Instead of giving up on them when there seems to be a roadblock, try getting to the bottom of what is making them nervous. Surprisingly often, it’s something that can be worked out.
#6. Be direct when you need to be
If all else fails, there’s no harm in being direct and explaining to your candidate the honest facts.
You have invested time and money in them and they have committed to a job that others were hoping to get. If everything was going so well, what has happened for things to change?
One of two things will occur: They will tell you where things went wrong – and you can explore whether it’s fixable – or you will know that it’s time to move on.
Hiring candidates well is largely down to reading people. We’ve given some ideas here as to how to overcome uncommitted candidates.
Each person is an individual and must be treated that way: some people need constant contact and reassurance, others just want to turn up on the first day and get to work. There are others, unfortunately but thankfully an extreme minority, who seem keen to start but, even after signing a contract and starting the visa process, don’t follow it through.
In closing, make sure you stay in close touch with candidates so that any issues can be identified (and remedied) at an early juncture. Also, be sure that new hires know precisely what the onboarding plan and timetable is. And finally, stay approachable towards candidates and let them know that they can come to you with any concerns they might have as the hiring process unfolds.
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