If you’re first to present a job offer, does that ensure you’ll snag the candidate?

Hiring Managers Losing Job Search Candidates Who Reject Offers

I read a recent article posted by Matt Deutsch on PRWEB. Matt is the Chief Content Officer for Top Echelon, a recruiter job sharing network. He suggested in this article titled, Top Echelon Recruiter Survey: Why Candidates Turn Down Job Offers  , that the first company to make an offer will usually be the one who gets the candidate.  After 30 years of executive search, I’ve got to look at this comment as being wrong. It has nothing to do with candidate motivation or why people take jobs.

I’ll take a 180 degree different perspective on this blog post by Matt Deutsch – which is tough since we share a common last name.

 

Maybe desperate candidates who are long-term unemployed jump at the first job offer due to desperation. In 30 years of executive search, over 1000 search assignments, and interviews with over 250,000 candidates, I have NEVER believed that good candidates take jobs based on the order in which they are presented.

 

For most candidates, particularly top talent, the sequence of job offers – first, middle, or last – has nothing to do with the acceptance rate.

 

The real issues of whether good candidates take jobs is not different today than it was over half a century ago when Maslow published the “Hierarchy of Needs”. Top caliber candidates take jobs based on principles of self-actualization.

 

In our hiring methodology, we call this the LIB curve – what am I going to learn in this job, what impact will I have, and what will I become for having been in this job for a period of time. When hiring managers fail to address these specific issues, candidates decline or ignore their job offers.

 

Since most hiring managers and HR professionals do a TERRIBLE job of discussing the LIB factors in an interview, they typically struggle to hire the best talent. It’s the same issue for compensation, most top caliber candidates will sacrifice some portion of compensation if they feel the learning, impact, and becoming will put them on a steeper curve of success.

 

Recruiters don’t lose deals because their clients can’t move fast enough – which is the underlying message in this post by a recruiter network. Recruiters lose deals because they don’t know how to help their clients convey the value of a job offer beyond compensation. They lose their candidates to competitors who do a much better job of showing candidates the learning, impact, and becoming elements of a new job.

 

Peter Cappelli makes a convincing case for what hiring managers should do in terms of considering long-term unemployed candidates. He frames it with the need to demonstrate social responsibility.

 

I’ve been conducting executive search for almost 30 years. In that time I’ve worked on over 1,000 executive searches, and between my parrtners and myself, probably interviewed over 250,000 managerial and executive candidates.

 

The hiring manager perspective on long-term unemployed candidates has not changed much in those 30 years. Most hiring managers have a prejuidice against unemployed candidates – considering them “damaged goods”. The unstated thinking is that if they were any good, they wouldn’t be long-term unemployed – in fact, they wouldn’t be unemployed ever.

 

Perhaps this thinking is misguided and inappropriate. That’s not the issue. The real issue is that the perspective on long-term unemployed candidates is a tribal hiring element. For example, I learned to be biased from my boss, who learned a generation ago to be biased from their boss.

 

Until we break this tribal hiring paradigm of employed/unemployed candidates, NOTHING will change. One way to break the paradigm is to train hiring managers to be more objective and rational in their decision making process. Until training, coaching, guidance lowers, eliminates, or changes our long-term bias against unemployed candidates, there is no hope that the perspective will evolve through the next recession or the next 10 recessions.

 

What is your organization doing right now to help hiring managers learn how to assess, interview, and measure candidates from a rational and objective approach to overcome the bias of unemployed vs. employed?

Barry Deutsch

Are You a Coach or a Tyrant?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to lead others and how this gets measured in the interview process.

Two recent things have caused me to really ponder this issue about leading/managing/coaching a group of people.

First, I am high school girls basketball coach. In my first 5-6 years of coaching at the high school level I obtained mediocre results. The last couple of years, I’ve obtained extraordinary results. The quality of the kids coming into our program is no different in the last few years that it was 5-6 years ago.

So, if player quality is essentially the same, what’s the factor that accounts for the performance difference. I believe it’s my understanding of how to coach a high performing team. How do I extract a level of results from a team or group that exceeds their individual capability – the SUM is greater than the individual parts? It took me 5-6 years to get to that place.

Layered on top of those epiphanies of how to lead high performing teams comes a burning desire to “sharpen the saw” as Steven Covey called it when he wrote his book on the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. I am a life-long passionate learner. I can’t go to enough workshops, seminars, conferences about leading and coaching. I can’t read enough books, blogs, and magazine articles about leadership.

My current leadership focus is on teaching mental toughness. I just finished the book Jay Bilas, the ESPN commentator, wrote on the same subject. I am continually watching, observing, and documenting what other coaches and leaders do. I reading everything I can on resilience, ability to overcome obstacles and challenges, and handle criticism and negativity. I want to MASTER the process of teaching my team mental toughness. I’ve actually put a plan together of how I’m going to teach mental toughness to me team this coming season.

Completely different perspective: My son is taking an AP World History class in high school. We’ve been having lots of discussions about leadership styles since reading about all the failures of dictators and autocratic rulers. Suddenly, it set me to thinking about all the CEOs and “C” level executives I’ve worked with over the past 30 years. What’s their dominant style: are they passive, dictatorial, or coaches of outstanding teams?

Take these two divergent areas of thought, and I’m re-thinking: how do we measure great leaders of teams in the interview process? What do the very best leaders DO that the average and mediocre leaders DON’T do? How can translate that understanding into specific interview questions that yield strong, quantifiable, rich, detailed, and specific examples?

I’ll be sharing some of these personal observations –  from the basketball court to the executive suite – over the course of the next few months.

Here’s what I would like to hear from the readers of our blog:

When was the last time you became deeply introspective about your style of leadership?

How much time do you spend “sharpening the saw” for your own capability and impact? What grade would you give yourself in the leadership department?

What’s the ONE thing you could be better at as a leader – more importantly, what are you doing about it?

Your capability to hire and retain a great team is directly correlated to your capability as a leader. Average leadership capability yields an average team.

Let’s work together in the framework of this blog to wrap our arms around the issue of measuring “real leadership” in the interview process.

Barry Deutsch

Recognition Should Be at the Core of Keeping Your Best Employees

Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognition - Keeping Employees Engaged and Motivated

The best companies have extensive recognition programs that make it IMPOSSIBLE for their best talent to leave.

Best practices in recognition include specific programs at the individual, team, department, and team level.

Recognition and non-monetary rewards should be a key element of your culture, where you celebrate individual, team, and company performance. The rewards should include praise, feedback, opportunities for learning and development, and achievement awards.

Recogition and Rewards to Engage and Motivate EmployeesDo you have an extensive set of recognition and non-monetary rewards that bring outstanding talent to your organization, AND prevent recruiters from poaching your best people?

Have you benchmarked what comparable companies do for recognition?

Do you collect competitive information when interviewing candidates? Do you ask them what recognition programs they are eligible for – and which ones they’ve been awarded?

Have you posed this question about “what other companies do” to your HR and benefit consultants, or labor law attorneys?

Have you researched the on-line libraries in your trade group or association for best practice information around recognition programs?

There is a wealth of content on the web, including in our website, various HR portals, bloggers, and associations on how to craft, design, implement, and execute an outstanding non-monetary rewards and recognition program.

Perhaps, in my next few blog postings, we’ll break down each of the key elements of a great employee recognition program, and I’ll identify some of the best resources I’ve discovered over the last decade.

In my conversations with thousands of professionals and high school athletes (I coach high school girls basketball), everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done. Are you providing this most basic human need?

Barry Deutsch

 

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you’re doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

How come we keep seeing the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool?

STOP trying to hook candidates floating near the surface - these represent the bottom third of the candidate pool (pond)

The primary method you use to attract candidates is guaranteed to bring the bottom 1/3 of the candidate pool to the table.

The primary method is posting job descriptions as job advertisements on job boards. Then we wait for those “fish” floating near the surface to pop up and come forward. We rarely consider fishing in deeper waters for candidates who not aggressively waiting for the fishing hook.

Here’s the typical job board posting experience: You post your ad. You receive 300 resumes. Of the 300, you cannot figure out what keyword 298 of the applicants clicked to apply. This group was so far off the mark, not only did looking at those resumes waste your time, but you’re now angry because you missed the lastest installment of “Dancing with the Stars.”

2 of the resumes in the group were outstanding. When you emailed/called those two candidates, you discovered they had gone off the market in the blink of an eye. You could have predicted that was going to happen when you saw their backgrounds – many others found their backgrounds attractive also.

This approach tends to bring the unemployed, useless, worthless, non-productive, toxic, poor performer to the table. Occasionally, you get lucky and find a “needle in a haystack”. Usually, the process of collecting resumes from job ads based on posting a job description is a complete waste of time.

What do you do now? Traditionally, you would have either re-run the job advertisement on a different job board, hoping you might see a different group of candidates. What you got was the same group of candidates you attracted the first time.

Your other option is to look at the 298 candidates from your initial job ad response and pick someone from that group. You’re probably thinking: better a warm body in that seat that no body.

Imagine you considered the first group to be the entire universe of available candidates for your open position (complete fallacy – but I’ll address the issue of candidate pools and how to fish deeply for the best talent in another blog post).

You know deep down that none of these candidates can get you the results you need, but now you’re desperate. You take the top 3, interview them, and pick the “tallest pygmy”, crossing your fingers hoping your deadbeat candidate makes it through the 90 day probationary period.

Does this sound dysfunctional?

What if there was a better way to attract candidates? Let’s tackle those “hiring best practices” for sourcing and finding great talent in our next post.

Barry

Praise is a POWERFUL Motivator for your team

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Studies show that employees perform at a higher level when praised for doing a great job, or going beyond the call of duty.

I don’t want to play closet psychologist, but we all know this to be true. When playing a sport in high school, we wanted to do well so that our coach would praise us in front of our peers, we would get recognition from our teachers, our parents would give us a pat on the back and a heartfelt “I’m proud of you.” Who wouldn’t want to be praised?

We can look to the work done by Abraham Maslow on the Hierarchy of Needs that employees have – one he pointed to was  recognition from superiors/authority on a job well done.

As a high school girls basketball coach over the last decade, I’ve noticed that my teams perform at a much higher level when players are praised for doing things well instead of making mistakes. Just today this point got driven home again:

 

I asked one of my former players who had graduated from my team to a higher level team in our program She had gone from being a rock star on my team to the bottom of the totem pole on the higher level team. I asked her why she had become so quiet, reserved, cautious, and timid when playing on this new team.

Her response:

Coach Barry, my new coach yells at me every time I make a mistake. I’m afraid of making a mistake. He scares me because he gets so angry. All he ever does is criticize what we do. I’ve never heard him tell me in the last year anything positive.

 

boss_beating_fist_on_his_desk_hg_whtDoesn’t that story want to make you cry? What if that was you? What if it was one of your kids? Imagine how your employees feel when all you do is criticize them and seek out every little mistake to call to their attention, humiliate them in front of their peers, and basically rip them a new one by threatening them about their job security.

Do you think maybe their confidence might be down a little? Do you think they’re going to give you their best effort?

If they are good performer, they’ve already got one foot out the door since top talent doesn’t need your job. And when they lose respect for their immediate boss, they can’t wait to leave. They always have great opportunities knocking on their door.

If they are below the top talent level, they just become ROAD Warriors: Retired On Active Duty. You’ll never get an ounce of productivity from them again. They basically shut down.

So, here’s my key question:

What type of formal programs does your company have in place to provide praise as the most important element of a non-monetary reward and recognition system?

If your company is like most other companies, then praise is something that’s basically left up to each individual manager to do as he/she sees fit. We all know that being crowned with that manager title, instantly makes you a great motivator of people.

Okay, if you don’t believe that – why is praise, recognition, and non-monetary rewards systems absent in most companies?

When will you start researching, benchmarking, and implementing praise into your recognition programs to start raising employee motivation?

Have you used our 8-Point Retention Matrix to verify you’re doing everything you can do to keep your best people?  If not, click hear to download this self-assessment tool for checking your retention capability score.

Barry Deutsch

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