Growing Great Companies


Ten Recruiting Commandments

page 2

5. Conduct interviews professionally and promptly. Employment interviewing is a subject unto itself, but some observations are relevant here: Interview the candidate/application as soon as possible after initial contact with him/her is made. Don’t let an individual wait weeks for an interview. Too many things can happen to change his/her mind and the delay raises the question of how important the position really is.

Treat the candidate/applicant courteously, even graciously, during the interview process. Don’t interrogate candidates; don’t keep them waiting in lobbies for unreasonable periods of time; don’t ask them to fill out pages and pages of forms before they even know whether they are candidates or not; don’t view the interview as a forum to show them how important you are or to exhibit your ego.

Do remember that how you treat an individual will be a permanent reflection upon your company’s reputation. It also will affect the attitude of the individual for the duration of his/her employment with you.

6. Make decisions quickly. Far too often good candidates are lost because of delays in the decision-making process. One company estimated that it lost from 25% to 30% of all individuals to whom it made job offers to because of a cumbersome approval process.

There are many reasons why job offer delays lose candidates. Candidates find other, more attractive offers; they change their minds about leaving their present employer; they receive an unexpected raise or promotion; they forget the positive things they say in your company; but, most important, they feel you are not interested if it takes such a long time to make up your mind. And they are right; you’ve forgotten that employment is a two-way street and that a candidate wants you to be as interested as you want him/her to be. If you have found the right candidate, make an offer of employment promptly.

7. Check references. Obtain three professional references and speak with them about the person and position you have. If you are using an executive search firm on retainer, ask for their write-up on references. You can increase the probability of successful hiring by at least 20% by checking references.

8. Don’t over-negotiate the job offer. Most job candidates in our society aren’t comfortable haggling over their worth. They want you to make an offer that both of you consider fair and reasonable. They don‘t want to feel that you are trying to hire them for the lowest possible dollar, for the fewest possible stock options or the least attractive perks. They would rather work for someone else.

Moreover, although it is theoretically impossible in a free market economy to hire someone at too low a salary, it does happen. It happens because of candidates’ ignorance of their economic worth, because they have been oversold on the benefits of working for your company. And what happens when they find they have been taken advantage of? They leave.

9. Stay in touch with the candidate after the offer has been accepted (but before the starting date). All of us have a tendency to rethink our decisions. Your candidate does too, and there is always the possibility of counteroffers from the other employer or another offer resulting from additional interviews the candidate has been to. By staying in touch during this two-to four-week period, you begin to cement the relationship.

10. Get the first days and weeks of employment off to a positive start. This is the time when the candidate asks, “Did I really make the right decision?” When it’s the easiest to pick up the phone and call his/her prior employer to see if the old position has been filled yet (it probably wasn’t). When the candidate’s interviewing “network” is still intact. Don’t be premature in ending the honeymoon.

These are the kinds of remarks new employees hear all too frequently:

“Well, I guess we’ll have to find a place for you to sit.”
“Take these manuals and procedures and read them for the rest of the week.”
“We will have to order a phone for you.”
“Didn’t your boss tell you? She will be on vacation this week.”

Make sure everything is ready for the person to begin working. That’s what you hired the person for.

Finally, when the honeymoon is really over, have an informal, mutual performance appraisal discussion to clear up any misunderstandings, to ensure that the orientation process has been completed and to reinforce in both of your minds that this is now a permanent relationship. That is when the recruiting process is really over.

« Page 1