Blindsides – How to Avoid Candidate Back-outs that Surprise Recruiters and HR

One of my favorite things about the show Survivor are the ‘blindsides’.   Several tribe members offer up a fake strategy that everyone buys into and then, secretly, they vote off someone that never sees it coming.   And, yes – I still watch Survivor, despite a co-worker saying last Fall:  “that’s cool, my parents love that show!”

Anyway, blindsides are exciting, surprising and make for great television, right??   When it comes to hiring and recruiting, they are probably the most frustrating thing you can experience – and it’s happened to all of us (don’t pretend it hasn’t!!!).

Here’s why you’re getting blindsided as a recruiter (or Survivor contestant):

  1. You want it to happen more than the candidate does (aka, you’re desperate).

Candidates can feel your excitement and when they do, kiss trust goodbye (and therefore open communication).   Your excitement is about YOU, YOUR commission,    YOUR placement.   This is THEIR job, THEIR life, THEIR future.

Despite what you’ve been taught or trained:  You CANNOT make someone take a job.   I know a lot of firms out there teach how to sell the features and benefits of their client and  how to “close”.   What’s going to happen is they are going to answer your “closing questions” with the answer you want to hear so they don’t have to get into a debate with you.   You are creating a situation where they have to choose between telling a lie or getting ‘closed’ (which NO ONE wants).  Instead of trying to convince them to say yes       (which won’t work), try to UNCOVER their opinion.

I go the other way – call out the 2 or 3 things that would most likely cause this NOT to happen and discuss.   Say this every time:  “I just want you to know it’s OK if you end up saying no to an offer.  I will not be upset. This is your career and I don’t want you to   feel pressure from me to take this – I’m OK if we walk.”   That’s the only way you’ll   build a trusting relationship where the truth comes out.

  1. You don’t have back up candidates.

You would be less desperate if you had the top choice and a solid back up.   It’s hard not to feel desperate if you only have this one option and it HAS to happen in order to get the placement.   Design your strategy around finding multiple candidates and not giving up after finding that first good one you run across.

  1. You’re too ‘comfortable’ (read: lazy/assumptive) and care too much about salary.

Landing great hires is hard, really hard.  Solid candidates in all skill sets have options.  Pay is very important to candidates – trust me, I get it.  But, I don’t see recruiters engaging often enough about how the actual job fits.   How does this job compare to what you do now? – ask this.

I had to talk to a candidate in the absence of a recruiter in our office and it’s the first    thing I asked.  The candidate said it was less spend than he deals with now and ‘kind of’    a step back.   BUT HE STILL wanted to get the offer…??   I ended up encouraging him to   withdraw.  That’s why you have to take control and never get comfortable.

Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting everyone’s time and get blindsided.

2 Minute Life Hack for Interviews

Last night I watched a Ted Talk on the effect non-verbal communication has on yourself, and others. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has done experiments showing how doing high or low power poses for 2 minutes affected not only our testosterone levels, but also our cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone associated with how we react to stress.

When subjects did 2 minutes of high power poses, it raised their testosterone and lowered their cortisol.  This essentially wires the brain to be assertive but also to keep a cool head under pressure.  When subjects did low power poses for two minutes, they decreased their testosterone, and increased their cortisol. This essentially wires the brain to be timid and lose its cool under pressure.  In other words, these are the people who don’t handle stress well.

Now imagine walking into an interview. Have you been on your phone sitting all closed up while in low power poses in the waiting room? You might be the best interviewer on the planet, but you are setting your brain up to show the less desirable side of you.

Amy Cuddy actually ran an experiment testing this where they had subjects do these low or high power poses and then go through a stressful job interview. The interviewers were trained to give no nonverbal feedback whatsoever. This is supposed to be more stressful than getting heckled. The idea here was to try to test the stress level and see what happens to the cortisol levels in the body.

What’s really interesting is that at the end of the study, regardless of qualifications and what was said during the interview, the double blind reviewers who didn’t even know what was being tested, determined that the subjects that did high power poses were desirable to hire and the low power poses were passed on.

Now Amy Cuddy didn’t stop there, she wanted to see how large this thing scaled. She initially felt unworthy of a lot of the success she was having in her young career and was afraid to do things like public speaking. She felt timid and stressed out and as if she didn’t belong.  She was initially wary of this idea of “wiring your brain” differently to go into a situation. She felt it was fake or just not genuine, and didn’t want to get somewhere in life only to realize she faked the whole journey and maybe the end result isn’t really what she wanted. Instead, Amy says she was able to “fake it until [she] became it.” So now she doesn’t have to fake being dominant and level headed. Doing all those 2 minute high power poses actually changed the hormone levels so she no longer has to fake it.

Now I know that one study doesn’t prove anything but I think it would be foolish to ignore the results. I highly recommend watching the quick talk and making your own judgment. If all it takes is 2 minutes and some private space, this is an affordable life hack that everyone can use.

Watch Here: Amy Cuddy Ted Talk

4 Ways to Avoid the Post-Grad Blues

I’d be lying if I said I have figured out the secrets to an easy transition from the college lifestyle you have been accustomed to into the working world.  There are, however, a few things that I have realized in my first 4 months of working my first full-time job that can be the key to keeping a positive outlook.

1. Embrace Change:  Change is good and change is inevitable.  Transitioning from college life into the real world is only one of the many major changes you will face. It is so important to find the best during this major transition.  If you fail to do so, you will miss out on so many opportunities due to the fact that you were sulking about your new post-grad life.

2. Be Selfish:  Make time for yourself every day.  Do what you feel is best for yourself and your well being.  Now is the time in your life that we are allowed to be selfish.  It is way too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle when working your first full-time job. If you don’t take time for yourself, you will run yourself into the ground.

3. Keep An Open Mind:  I would go ahead and assume that if someone asked you where you thought you would be after graduation, your current situation isn’t exactly what you thought…and that’s fine!  Keeping an open mind about your situation and possible opportunities will open up new doors for you that you may have missed if you were being too narrow minded.

4. Don’t Freak Out:  The real world is not all that bad.  Of course it has its pros and cons, but so did college, right? It’s 100% normal to not want to leave your college campus that you have called home for the last 4 years, but it’s time to close that chapter of your life and start a new one!

Graduating from college and transitioning into the real world can be tough, but keeping the above in mind can help alleviate some of the pressures you may be feeling during your post-grad blues. Have you tried any of the above ideas? What other advice do you have for those about to graduate?

Obamacare and it’s Effects on the Recruiting Industry

The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is rolling out, and having some interesting effects on the recruiting industry. Contract hires have traditionally been a way for a company to “try before they buy” an employee because onboarding employees is an expensive process:

  • Direct costs of background checks to drug screens, time spent training are all drains on the company. Payroll, IT, HR all need to process the employee and get them up to the same standard as every other employee
  • Indirect costs of senior staff working to grow the employee, reduced morale from high turnover and sharing the workload that the new hire will soon be carrying all indirectly slow down the ship.

These two sides work together to show that the 30-90 day ‘probationary’ periods employers have can make it easier to take a chance on an employee. With the new Obamacare rule requiring employers with over 50 full time employees to provide health insurance, businesses are trying to find ways to lessen that impact.

One way is to use contract staffing back offices to absorb the employer’s mandate by subcontracting . These W-2 employees are technically not employees of the company they spend time at every day. Although this has been common practice for seasonal bursts in hiring, now is an unusual time in history when it’s happening to avoid having many employees year-round. According to the Bureau of Labor, year-over-year contract staffing growth was 7.5%, while the regular economy’s jobs increase was only 1.56%. This means that companies are hiring just under five times as many contract workers as full time workers.

So, what does this mean for the recruiting industry?

It means that, at least for the near future, contract hiring is the place the tide is rising the fastest, and might be a good place to be focused.