As a kid, the phrase “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!” always stood out to me as kind of silly. The idealist in me said, “But if they’re all in one basket, then I can carry them all at once.” And, yesterday, as I stood looking at a dozen shattered eggs sprawled out over my kitchen floor, the idealist in me was very, very silent.
I don’t know if I’ll start keeping my eggs in more than one carton, but at least now the essence of the adage is not so lost on me. Especially when it comes to your business, employees, or products, having a back-up plan is essential for those things in life that are difficult to replace. As careful as you are in everything you do, at some point, you’re bound to drop a carton of eggs on the kitchen floor.
The place in the recruiting process where most employers forget to diversify is during the final offer – Step 6 in our 6 step recruiting process. A business has done all the up-front work necessary. That includes developing a compelling Employee Value Proposition, writing a great recruitment ad, and assessing the candidate pool adequately. They bring in some fantastic candidates, interviewed them, and found a few that fit the position and company culture. Finally, they choose one. What now? The business sends an offer letter to the top candidate, and when that candidate accepts, the business forgets about the other great talent they just spent months trying to find. Or maybe if the HR Manager is feeling polite, he or she sends the top few candidates an email that says, “Thanks but no thanks, we’ve filled the position.”
Perhaps you see where this is going. Top Candidate starts on day one, picks things up pretty quickly and is enjoying the company after a few weeks of working there. But then Top Candidate gets a call from her last employer. After some groveling, and a tremendous salary increase, Top Candidate goes back to her old company, and we are left standing in a pile of egg yolks.
In sales, a company would never let a qualified prospect off the hook because they found another qualified prospect to sell to. So why do we throw away good talent so quickly? Especially given the understanding that retaining great employees is so difficult, why throw all of our eggs in one basket?
That moment when your top candidate accepts an employment offer is a wonderful moment. Especially for a business that’s been searching to fill this position for a few months, or even a few years, it can be liberating. But it is also a crucial moment in the hiring process, and one that most small businesses can’t afford to get wrong.
Keep a clear head and check your optimism. Take the good talent you found during the first 5 steps in the hiring process, and just like you would in sales, continue to engage with them. When good talent comes around, remember that “not now” is always better than “no.” A great way to express this to a candidate is as follows:
“We hired a person for this role, but we are always looking to add great people to our team, and throughout the interview process we recognized that you are immensely talented. We would love to add you to our team once we have the capacity to bring on more people. Would you mind if we stayed in touch over the next few months to see if we can do that?”
Imagine hearing that kind of a “no” as a job candidate. The worst the candidate could say is that he or she does not want to hear from you, in which case you are no worse off than you were before. A recruitment process that works like a sales process ensures that once you’ve found good talent, you don’t let them off the hook until they give you an absolute, definite, no. This way, you’ll never be left standing in a pile of cracked eggs with a recruiting emergency on your hands, and your company will continue to add great talent with every hire.