Go after those top candidates until they give you a “yes!”
As a recruiter, you probably know the feeling: You develop the job description, hold interviews, and ultimately make an offer to a candidate who fits the bill. Then, they turn you down. It can be crushing.
It’s tough when a top candidate doesn’t accept your offer. If they were really worth the effort, their rejection can feel like wasted hours spent interviewing and enticing them. But all is not lost. Believe it or not, there are ways to win them back.
Winning back lost candidates is no easy feat. However, with a little patience and extra care, you can learn what went wrong, and how to lure that candidate back to your company.
To snag those lost applicants, here are 3 steps you can take:
Ask yourself what went wrong
When you hear your top candidate’s “no,” you may feel disappointed or frustrated, but one thing’s for sure: you want to know why they didn’t pick you.
Think about approaching the lost candidate for information that can benefit both of you. According to Bullhorn, a recruiting software firm, “Staffing firms that actively solicit candidate feedback—from the glowingly positive to the instructive to the downright negative—are better positioned to generate positive word-of-mouth referrals and to build loyalty among talented professionals.” Make sure your approach comes from a place of genuine interest, letting the candidate know that you are invested in learning what you or your company can do better the next time around. Let them know how much you appreciated them, and tell them that you’ll be keeping an eye on their career.
In your closing discussion, see if you can conversationally inquire why they made their decision. Some questions you might want to think about:
- What would have made our offer more attractive to you?
- Where are you headed, and what will you be doing there?
- What did the offer include?
Of course, you are not entitled to the answers, so proceed with caution and remember that your candidate is doing you a favor by providing any feedback they’re willing to give you.
If your candidate seems open to answering these types of questions, preview how you plan to stay in touch in the future. Remind them of their value to you, and tell them you’d like to keep in contact. Be sure to wish them luck with the new job.
Keep an eye on them
After finding out the initial reason for rejection, it’s your job as the recruiter to keep up with your lost candidate. If you don’t, you may lose them forever.
Take advantage of the relationship you’ve established with them. Connect with them on LinkedIn and don’t be afraid to make a follow up phone call in 6 months to see how the new gig is treating them. Give them periodic updates on how your company’s doing (keep it positive), and ask them what they’ve been working on.
A key point to note regarding follow up: This is based on how your first phone call went. If the candidate was hesitant to give you any feedback on why they chose another position, then following up with them in the future might be awkward and inappropriate. However, if they answered your questions and seemed open to hearing from you in the coming months, seize the chance they’ve given you.
Keep at it
You need remain determined and persistent when following talented people. Don’t let them forget about you. Show them that you’re invested in their career trajectory. Around their 18th month anniversary at their job, invite them for lunch or coffee just to catch up. Or better yet, invite them to an online chat event, a convenient way for them to respond from the comfort of their home or current job.
By using an online chat platform like the one Brazen offers, you can bring them up to speed about what’s happening in your company. Set up a chat event with representatives from your firm, and let your lost candidate know what’s new. A chat event can allow you to introduce them (and many other potential employees) to various topics relating to your company. In doing so, they’ll be able to learn more about life at your company, a specific position that might peak their interest; they can even network with current employees.
However you choose to reach out to your lost candidate, be sure to sell them on why they should work for you after initially turning you down. What can you offer them now that you couldn’t before? Do you have a larger budget to accommodate their previous negotiation? Do a thorough analysis of how your company compares to the one they chose, and provide specifics of what you can do better. Use this opportunity wisely – you’ve worked so hard to bring them to this point, now is the time to reap what you have sowed.
Winning them over
Congratulations! You’ve won your lost candidate over with your strategy and persistence! Now’s the time to move forward and give them everything you promised. Pat yourself on the back and get ready to start again. Losing, and winning, is all part of the game.