Want to cultivate a pool of qualified job candidates before you even post a job opening? Here’s what you need to do.
You’re so busy at work you barely have time to blink. Then — bam! — you’re told to fill a job vacancy right now.
You copy and paste a job posting and wing it out into the advertising ether, ending up with a foot-high stack of resumes taunting you from the corner of your desk. Maybe someone super-qualified is buried there. Maybe not.
You resign yourself to spending your lunch hour sorting through the pile and popping antacids in anticipation.
But what if you already have a pool of highly qualified people to pick from for the next time you need to hire someone?
The one thing almost no hiring manager does
Start by treating the people you interview like royalty.
They’re valued collaborators, not beggars with their hands out hoping for a job crumb. Yet we’ve all been treated like we ought to grovel and be oh so grateful simply for the chance to interview.
Our companies pay a price when we treat job applicants badly.
Instead, master the art of interviewing — including the inevitable letdown — to not only gain a great reputation, but also fill your awesome applicant pool.
The bizarre recruiting secret most don’t know
Believe it or not, some of your best recruiters are the people you interview but don’t hire.
Sounds crazy, I know.
Yet when you’ve treated them better than they dreamed of, they’ll refer great candidates even when you don’t hire them. Just reject people so well they’re determined to help you.
But be warned: learning the art of rejection will push you right out of your comfort zone.
Do you have the guts to get the glory?
How to move them from rejection to headhunting
The first step is to always call them back.
Don’t chicken out and send an email. Or worse, vanish.
If you get their voice mail, leave them a message asking them to call you back. Give them some options for days and times.
When you speak with them, do the following:
- After the greetings, kindly tell them right away they didn’t get the job. Don’t make them sweat through social chit chat waiting for the news.
- Thank them for their time and effort. This seems like a no-brainer, but hardly anyone does.
- Offer to give them constructive feedback on how they did. After they pick their jaw up off the floor, they usually agree.
- Tell them what they did well.
- Give them suggestions on how they could improve.
You’ll already have provided them a far better experience than usual.
But don’t stop there. Give them more:
- Seek their critique on how you did. Yes, you’ll feel vulnerable, but you’ll learn and improve.
- Ask them if it’s okay to contact them if a position comes up they’d be better suited for. But only if you’re sincere. If you know you’ll never hire them, skip this step.
By now you’ll seem like one of the best things since sliced bread to them.
People want to be treated with kindness, candor and respect. You gotta give them that, simply as part of being a decent human being.
You know what it feels like when someone treats you shabbily and then asks you for a favor. Like they put icing on manure and are trying to pass it off as a gourmet dessert.
But you’re better than that.
When to pop the question
At the end of the “Sorry, but I’m not hiring you” conversation, ask them, “If you know someone who’d be a great person to work here, would you tell them to get in touch with me?”
As long as you’ve made it an amazing experience, be prepared for their heartfelt “Yes!”
They’ve learned about you and your organization, so they’ll have a good idea how to match a qualified friend or colleague to you.
And you’ve shown you’re an excellent manager.
Be sure to tell them the people they refer should contact you directly. Don’t undo all your good work by forcing them into the hideous hiring black hole many companies have. You know the one: spend too much time filling out a series of online forms, click Send and receive a robotic canned reply.
Are you ready to revolutionize your recruiting?
Every person is part of a network. They’ll affect the reputation of you and your company when they tell others about their experience. (Click here to tweet this bit of truth.)
You’ll feel confident because you’ve unfailingly treated them with respect, honesty and consideration.
You turned what’s normally an impersonal rejection into a heartfelt conversation brimming with support and encouragement.
Your goal is to get the person you didn’t hire to walk away and say to someone else, “I didn’t get the job, but, man! It was great, and you’d love to work there!”
Then sit back and watch as the fantastic candidates arrive.
When you do, congratulations! You’ll have earned your way into the ranks of exceptional hiring managers.
Lynn Hauka teaches busy managers how to reclaim their personal life while still getting excellent business results. Get the free PDF “5 Calendar Hacks To Be More Productive And Leave Work On Time” when you sign up for her email list at The Balanced Boss.