5 Strategies to Win Over Your Top Candidates 

Incorporating key principles of persuasion can go a long way in winning over a candidate of choice. According to a new report from executive search firm Kinsley|Sarn, knowing how to apply reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus can be the difference between a successful placement and an extended search.

June 1, 2022 – All recruiters have been there –– after spending weeks, sometimes even months, interviewing, assessing, and negotiating an offer with the desired candidate, the prospect turns around and says he or she has decided to go a different direction. A situation like this is not only frustrating for those involved in the hiring process, but it also extends the use of valuable time and resources that would otherwise be used to achieve critical objectives. “While we can never completely plan for such situations, we can improve our hiring process and skills to prevent them from happening as often,” says a new report from Kinsley|Sarn.

One of the most effective ways to enhance your hiring efforts is to center your strategy around persuasion, according to the search firm. “By developing your skills to influence candidates ethically, you will be able to achieve more favorable outcomes naturally,” said the report. “Specifically, in the current candidate-driven market, successfully applying the art of persuasion in recruitment will be fundamental to improving hiring conversion rates.”

The Kinsley|Sarn study takes a look at the factors that influence persuasion and how to incorporate them into your hiring process.

The Science Behind Persuasion

“As humans in the modern age, we are often faced with an overwhelming amount of stimuli daily,” said the search firm. “When it comes time to make decisions, we tend to subconsciously use a set of guiding principles to narrow down choices and determine which is in our best interest.”

Based on scientific research, six guiding principles influence human behavior when making a decision: reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus. In situations in which you are trying to convince someone to take a certain action, Kinsley|Sarn says that using these principles can increase the likelihood that they will agree with your proposition. “Persuasion in recruitment is no different. As the hiring manager, you should aim to fulfill many of these principles to maximize the chances that the candidate you want will say yes to joining your mission,” the firm said.

To help your team improve its ability to attract, hire, and retain critical talent, Kinsley|Sarn offers five strategies to assist in sealing the deal and adding valuable leaders to your organization.

1. Put Their Experience First 

Throughout the hiring process, you should always be thinking about your candidate’s experience and how you can provide them with a positive and enjoyable process, according to Kinsley|Sarn. By doing so, you increase your likeability, an important factor when it comes time for them to decide whether or not they would be a good fit for the organization’s culture and dynamics.

Best Practices for Working with Executive Recruiters

Recruiting is a nebulous industry with a lot of common misconceptions, according to report by Derek Gracey and Jacob Watkins of search firm Charles Aris. The recruiters provide a review of best practices they’ve found to be helpful when working with recruiters. Among them: be open, talk early and often, and be familiar with smart phone technology.

Be open, honest, and candid. “When we tell you about an opportunity, we want your genuine thoughts in response,” said Mr. Gracey. “If it’s a slam dunk, great! If it’s a huge miss, no problem. If a specific opportunity does not align with your career goals, simply tell us. The more open you are about your interests and objectives, the better aligned we can be in future outreach.”

“One of the easiest ways to improve their overall experience while using the power of persuasion is to offer them a way to connect with your team,” the firm said. “This could be attending a speaking event by one of your top leaders or going to lunch with their potential team members. Naturally, through the principle of reciprocity, they will feel compelled to give back to your team in whatever way they can.”

2. Build Trust With Your Candidates

As you take steps to put the candidate’s experience first, you are also strengthening the relationship and building trust. A key component of trust in a relationship is consistency –– a value that a candidate will turn to when deciding to commit to a new position, said Kinsley|Sarn. “When building trust, regular communication is essential,” the report said. “Specifically, it should provide value or feedback and show respect for the candidate’s time. One great way to achieve this is to provide clarity of the interview process and timing upfront so candidates will understand the commitment required. It is also critical to provide detailed feedback to the candidate after each round of interviews. It is also helpful to share testimonials from current employees or even encourage them to view your Glassdoor profile to learn more about your business. Not only does it show your willingness to connect with them, but it also provides them with a different perspective of your organization.”

Related: Post-COVID Recovery Sees the Rise of Revenge Hiring

3. Focus On Opportunity Costs

Kinsley|Sarn notes that once you have started to form a trusting relationship, you can then begin to dive deeper into the potential this position has to offer. “When looking to incorporate the science of persuasion in recruitment, creating a sense of scarcity can be an effective strategy,” the search firm said. “To do so, share what is unique about your proposition, emphasizing what they will learn, have exposure to, how they will be invested in personally and professionally, and walking through a potential career path. Helping them understand the value of this opportunity and the immediate and long-term benefits will enable your opportunity and company to stand out and  make them more likely to consider your proposal and ultimately accept it.”

4. Showcase Your Organization’s Success

While focusing on what a candidate might miss out on, Kinsley|Sarn says to take the time to showcase your team’s achievements, too. By highlighting your organization’s accomplishments, you show authority — one of the six principles necessary for persuasion in recruitment. The top candidates will value this level of expertise and want to join a team that possesses these abilities.

“One simple way to incorporate this in your hiring process is to use introductions that specify an individual’s success,” the Kinsley|Sarn report said. For example, highlight their years of experience in a particular field or a specific award they have received that is relevant to the industry. “By doing so upfront, you can start to establish a sense of credibility, which will prove useful once it comes time to present your offer,” the firm said.

5. Never Be Overly Insistent

While showcasing your achievements is vital, it’s equally important not to show all of your cards, the Kinsley|Sarn report says. “There is a fine line between being persuasive and simply being pushy. If you are overly insistent, it can make your team seem desperate,” the study said. “This is something you never want, as it makes the candidate feel empowered to ask for more. If you do everything in your power to persuade the candidate to join your team, yet they decide to go elsewhere, respect their decision without trying to change their mind. But, be sure to let them know that you are open to working with them again in the future if the position were to arise.”

Kinsley|Sarn is an Indianapolis, IN-based client driven executive search firm that has been in business for over 15 years helping clients achieve extraordinary performance through the identification, acquisition, and integration of exceptional leadership talent.

Related: What Candidates are Really Looking for In New Jobs 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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