|By Jeremy Clarke
Director, Executive Search Consulting
Recruiting and selection can be a meticulous and costly campaign. Those who recruit regularly know that an average management-level search can last 90 days or more. These campaigns, with their advertising, screening, and logistics can be a significant investment of time, resources, and money.
So, recruiting is a rather pricey enterprise. The average national cost of recruiting a new college graduate (for just an entry-level, full-time position, mind you) was a staggering $8,947 in 2010; up approximately 57% from $5,708 in 2009, according to results of NACE’s 2010 Recruiting Benchmarks Survey. Of course, cost-per-hire increases proportionately with the level of the position being recruited for.
In light of this physical and monetary effort, I want to impart two words that should be a staple philosophy of any respectable recruiting enterprise: Finish well.
There is simply too much invested in attracting and selecting good talent to consummate a search campaign haphazardly, and in the recruiting world, consummation is spelled “O-F-F-E-R.” In other words, to finish well in candidate selection is to consummate the campaign with meticulous attention to excellence in the development and issuance of the job offer.
It has been my experience that more good candidates are lost over a lackluster finish and offer process than for any other reason.
Now let’s just step back to consider the whole picture. Your firm and said candidate have been courting one another for the better part of three months. In that time, hopefully you’ve come to learn a good deal about this person. Beyond technical/professional acumen, you learned a bit about their character, their perspectives, their experiences, their values.
You see this person as someone who would make a significant impact to your firm’s bottom line. On the other hand, she sees your firm as a viable source of income; a place to build a career; a place that is culturally conducive to her family’s values, goals, etc.
The point is that the prospect and you have invested an immense amount of time and effort to adequately discern one another and to see this process brought to consummation. But now the courtship is over and the time of expressing your perceived compatibility has come. You’ve decided to get “the ring,” so to speak, and the candidate is anticipating that moment when you “pop the question.”
It’s a hokey analogy, but the whole point of this article is to suggest that the means by which you present the ring ought to adequately reflect the esteem you have for the intended recipient. So, while this analogy isn’t perfectly parallel, it isn’t hyperbole, because we’re still dealing with human beings; we’re still dealing with relationships. “Finishing well” not only makes good business sense, but it speaks volumes about your firm’s character and the value you impute to people and the effort they have reciprocated to arrive at this point.
So, I want to play match-maker for just a moment and offer four key elements to help you get a “yes” response from your hoped-for “bride-to-be”:
A failure to finish well is a failure to communicate your perceived value of the relationship you are attempting to secure. Be sure you’re not left holding a ring with no finger to put it on.