Throughout the years here at Hudson Consulting, we occasionally receive resumÃ©s that have a photo of the candidate. I always found them especially interesting; certainly my staff enjoys passing those résumé around to critique the picture. I know, not nice, but it happens, and I am also guilty of such office laughs. So the other …
There are approximately 76.7 million baby boomers in America. The Generation X population is approximately 38 million. Baby boomers are starting to retire. The result: A dearth of talent.
It is not uncommon for organizations to hire a candidate for a position only to have them not show up on their start date. It happens for a variety of reasons and some of the common ones are:
Candidate took a counteroffer; positional, emotional or financial.
They felt “too loyal” to leave or change was just too scary.
Relocation was difficult.
Here are a few tips that help avoid new hire falloffs:
Make sure to call and welcome your new hire on board when they accept the position. Don’t leave this to your HR department to do alone. A call should come from some or all of the individuals they interviewed with. This works really well if the call comes from the CEO. It lets the new hire know they are important to the organization.
Get them involved prior to their start date by: sending them information to review; inviting them to a meeting prior to start date; or taking them out to lunch.
Check with them once or twice a week regarding relocation. Ask them how it is going and if there is anything you can do to help.
These may seem like simple ideas but they are almost always overlooked. The goal is to get your new hire emotionally out of their old job and into their new position before they physically show up. If you do this successfully, new hire falloff can be dramatically reduced.
I always ask hiring authorities and candidates not to “talk salary” on an interview, and here is why:
Hiring Authority: You want the best available candidate for the open position. Keep this the focus of all interviews. It’s OK to ask what a candidate’s current compensation package looks like. This will give you a starting point of where your offer should come in, keeping in mind that no one wants to take a step back or lateral if they don’t have to. Focus on their skill set and ability to add value to your organization. If they are the right fit, you can probably afford them.
Candidates: When asked about salary, it is OK to explain your current compensation plan, but do not state desired salary. This question is a trap and puts you in a no-win situation. If you ask for a number too high, you may scare off the hiring authority or seem unreasonable. If you ask for a number too low, you may have sold yourself short of their salary range. The best response is: “Mr. Hiring Authority, compensation is important, but the opportunity to improve my career path is my #1 priority at this time. I am sure if we get to the offer stage, your offer will be fair.”
In the first edition of Career College Central magazine we engineered a hiring process that managers can use and modify to their needs.
Let me guess: The base salary was 15K more than they are making now. The bonus potential was through the roof. Your relocation package made sure he/she would not have a single need/want. Oh, and your school is brand-new, the crown jewel of the organization, but they turned you down. Why?
There is no magic answer to the above scenario, and in many cases you may never be able to determine exactly what went wrong, but there are some red flags you should look for and their possible solutions:
What is the motivation for change? Why is this candidate sitting in front of you for an interview? In our experience the majority of candidates who make a move have something going on at their current position that has left them less than satisfied. Has there been a change in ownership or leadership? Are there compliance issues? Do they work for an organization that is rumored to have an unfavorable working environment? If any of these exist, good! You have a motivated candidate and a good shot of hiring them.
Why are they considering relocation to your neck of the woods? This one is pretty simple, folks: if they do not have family or some other significant tie to the area, then they are probably considering relocation for the wrong reasons. Over 80 percent of candidates who relocate only because “that is where the job was” don’t last longer than 2 years. You want to find something tangible here. The kids or grandkids live in the area, or maybe they went to school there. Some connection to the relocation destination other than the opportunity should exist. Don’t get me wrong. It can work without these in place, but the odds are against it.
One word: momentum. Once a verbal offer is extended and accepted, you want to keep things moving forward. A written offer letter should follow the same day as verbal acceptance, if possible, but no later than 24 hours. The offer letter should be time stamped so a written reply is required by five p.m. the next business day. Once the signed offer letter comes in, a call of congratulations should go out immediately. This should be followed by daily contact. Keep your new hire engaged. Get them the materials necessary to hit the ground running. Make sure their relocation is going smoothly. Ask for their input on current issues/decisions. You need to walk them down the aisle. Don’t let go for a second or you could end up with a runaway bride!
Finally: counter-offer, counter-offer, counter-offer. It is a very competitive marketplace, and everyone is trying to attract the same candidates. Obviously it is easier (and less expensive) to keep a top-performing employee than to replace one. Expect their current employer to make it very hard to leave. They will hit them with financial, positional and emotional counter-offers, so don’t be afraid to bring the subject up with the candidate. Then take it a step further and ask for their commitment to forgo counter-offers of any type should they accept an offer from you. You will be surprised how many people will keep their commitment when you ask for it.
That’s great, Vin! I actually have to hire a campus director this fall. What is the best way to proceed in this marketplace?
Tune in next time when we address this question. If you have a question you would like answered in upcoming blogs, please list them in the comment section of this post, or submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You probably don’t know the exact statistics but have certainly felt them. Unemployment is hovering around 4.8%. Of that, white collar unemployment it is around 1.8%. That is virtually ZERO unemployment, and these are the folks you hire to manage your schools! Now, if we factor in the tremendous growth the industry has gone through over the last 10 years, you don’t have to know metrics to figure out everyone is trying to hire the same individuals.
Great info, Vin. So, how does that help us? Great question! For starters, it explains some of your pain and answers some of the questions you might have had. Some of these questions are:
Why did I lose my best campus director?
Simple. Your competitors are aware this person is your best. So make sure your employees are happy, and I am not just talking about compensation. Sure, money is important – make sure they are on par with the marketplace – but the majority of candidates we place make a move because they are less than satisfied with their current employer. Sometimes they even make a lateral move for happiness. Ask yourself, and ask them: are they being micromanaged? Do they get recognized by you for their achievements? Do they have the autonomy to be creative and make decisions? One of the most common complaints we hear from employees is being given unrealistic, undefined and unreachable goals. Make sure their performance goals are clearly defined and realistic. Make sure they fully understand them. Are there rumors of acquisition? Be as open and honest as you can; they should know what is coming down the pipe from you, not from rumors or secondhand information. Lay out a map for the future and their roles in it. Employees embrace change and progress when they are an integral part of it. Talk to them, take them out to lunch, find out if they are happy, and if they’re not, what you can do to make them happy. If employees know that you care and are trying to work with them, they respond. When companies do this, these are the folks I typically cannot recruit, no matter how great the opportunity or how large the compensation package is. Five or six calls like this into a company, and my seventh call is to the CEO to see if we can represent them! If your best campus director is happy, they can’t be recruited, not even by me.
We made a fantastic offer to a candidate, but they turned us down. What did we do wrong?
Let me guess. The base salary was 15K more than they are making now. The bonus potential was through the roof. Your relocation package made sure he/she would not have a single need/want. Oh, and your school is brand-new, the crown jewel of the organization, but they turned you down. Why?
Tune in next time as we address this question. If you have a question you would like answered in upcoming blogs, please list them in the comment section of this post, or submit them to email@example.com.