Closing the Sale, er, Job Candidate


You have a job candidate who looks promising, a high performer who would be a great addition to your company. He looks greats on paper, and when you talk with him on the phone, he appears eager and excited about the opportunity to join the company. So, you set up an interview with the hiring manager. Then you find out that the candidate cancelled. What happened?

The fact is, no matter how excited the candidate appeared, he never really made a commitment. Coming to that point is a process, according to human resources consultant Nancy Parks. The candidate must first resolve some issues – getting all his questions answered, getting all his doubts resolved, making sure that the benefits outweigh the risks involved. To get the candidate to that point of commitment, you have to do what you can to relieve that doubt, to take away all the uncertainty. And there are several ways to go about doing this, according to Parks.

First, Parks says, you need to find out what the most important factors for the candidate are in making a decision. It could be salary, career development or company culture. These are things he is looking for from your job. And so you need to be able to speak to these issues, to show him that the job will indeed solve the problems that he has.

You also need to listen carefully to what the candidate has to say so that you can be as specific as possible in responding to his questions and concerns, rather than responding in generalities.

And be direct – don’t be shy about asking the candidate if he has any questions or concerns about the job, and then try to address them. If you cannot, tell him you will get back to him with an answer as soon as possible.

Make sure that after you have responded to a question that you really have provided the information the candidate wanted. Don’t just assume that you have and move on. Ask the candidate – does that answer your concern?

And, finally, Parks says, find out who the competition is. Ask the candidate, if he has no objection, whether he is interviewing anyplace else, for what position, and how far along he is in the process. You can ask him if he were to get two job offers, what would be the deciding factors in making a choice.

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A career in construction administration and management can be (and for me has been) one of constant transition. It’s rather common that employment with a given company starts and finishes with each successive project; you’re a new hire as it’s just getting “out of the ground,” then finished and looking for a new project (and Read More…

Greg Wangler, Pentagon Construction Management Division

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