Engineering Candidates Aren’t Sold – They Buy

on 03 | 20 | 2013

As a startup company, you are in a war for talent and recognize how vital it is to attract top caliber talent to your team. You also are probably adept at extolling the perks of working at your company and your mission to change the world through technology and innovation.

While putting your best foot forward, your efforts may not ensure success in closing top candidates. Why?  Because the best candidates are not “sold” on an opportunity; they “buy” into the opportunity.

What do I mean by this distinction? All too often, we see clients pitching a candidate based on a “one size fits all” approach to why a candidate should accept an opportunity. This generic pitch will often be about the funding of the company, its potential for growth, its leadership, and so on.

These factors are worth discussing, of course, but it’s not enough. Candidates are individuals, and the higher caliber talent you are dealing with, the more discriminating they will be in evaluating an opportunity from a personal and professional standpoint.  To effectively close top candidates, you have to know what makes them tick. What are they motivated by? What do they fear? What are their hopes, dreams and aspirations?

Your message needs to be tailored to who a candidate is and his or her view of the world. If you do not connect the dots for candidates in a way they can relate to, you are “selling” a generic idea, as opposed to motivating them to “buy” an opportunity that they inherently believe in.

As a result, you are likely to prolong the time it takes to fill a position and, in many cases, you will lose a candidate to other opportunities even when your position may include a higher title or more money. We have seen time and time again that top candidates will be willing to trade off rewards in countless ways when opportunities are presented to them in a customized fashion.

Keep in mind that candidates will not immediately divulge their innermost thoughts on what they value most unless you have spent the time to build trust and rapport throughout the recruiting process.  If you treat a candidate relationship as a transaction, then you are handicapping your ability to convince the candidate that it’s in their best interests to join your team when you get to the offer stage. At offer stage, this personalization becomes even more critical and it may be helpful to refer back to the candidate’s original feedback on their motivations and criteria for picking a new role.

When it comes to recruiting, a “one size fits all” message simply does not work. Speak to candidates as individuals to motivate them to “buy” into the opportunity you are presenting.  To get candidates to “buy,” clients need to make each interaction highly personal and suited to the individual’s unique mindset and motivations.

By doing that, you are not only more likely to land a candidate but, even more important, will begin your employment relationship on a mutually positive note. This leads to more loyal, productive, candidates and ultimately maximizes your return on recruiting investment.