“Remember yesterday, walking hand in hand…
I’d want to hear you say, I remember you”

Almost. But Not Quite – Why And
How To Interview “Gold” Candidates.

Sure, Sebastian Bach was talking about love.

And while you won’t ever write love letters in the sand to your candidates you absolutely need to know how to communicate with all kinds of prospective High Impact Talent (HIT®).

Especially how to interview “gold” candidates.

You just may want some of them to remember you positively even though you passed on them
What do think? Have you ever thought maybe didn’t show enough “love” and attention to candidates who were “almost, but not quite right”? If not, you should because they could be perfect down the road.

Let’s talk about that.

First, you know full well that not all candidates are equal. Some get SOOOOO close but just aren’t what you need right now. Others you would never hire. Ever. Some are perfect.

Can’t. Won’t. Want. Three Tiers
Of Candidates To Consider.

See if you agree with my assessment below based on my experience. I tend to place most candidates into three specific categories as follows:

Can’t Hire
These folks just won’t work. Ever. They don’t have the proper education, experience background or credentials in general.

Won’t Hire
Sharp folks, but not quite yet ready for prime time. But in a year or 18 months, they could be perfect for you. (Hint: THESE people are actually “gold” to you.)

Want To Hire
They are ready to put through your hiring process and, hopefully, bring them on board immediately.

Today I to talk about the second group — the “won’t hire” folks, candidates you won’t hire right now. And how you should handle them because they could be critical in your not-so-distant future.

Not All That Glitters Is Gold.

So many business leaders talk to the “Won’t Hire” group, like them, see the potential and then… never follow up with them and throw their resume in a pile and never consider them again. These people are actually the candidates you need to focus on the most – they are GOLD to you.

Consider this: some 80% of job seekers say they would be discouraged to consider other relevant job openings at a company that had no to poor communications with them. Or just flat out failed to notify them of their application status. Yet, they would be 3.5 times more likely to reapply to a company if they were notified.

The simple fact is how you treat people you don’t hire matters. In fact, the one number complain I get from candidates is they never got feedback from their interview. Positive OR Negative.

I’ve also seen research (sources, Corey?) that shows 83% of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked. Conversely, 87% of talent say a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.

How To Handle “Future” Potential Hires.

If you ever interview a candidate that you see a ton of potential in but isn’t there just yet – here is what you do”

Inform Them – Tell them what specific experience they are missing and why you’re not hiring them today. Be direct but compassionate.

Instruct Them – Let them know how to get that experience at their current job or elsewhere. And let them know you are happy to be a sounding board.

Invite Them – Take them to lunch every six months to check in and see what’s happening in their careers. See if anything has changed for the better.

It might sound something like this:

“I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you today.
You have some really great experience. But …”

Just be honest. Tell them they are missing the specific experience that YOU need right now. Maybe say, “Look, the truth is that we don’t have a lot of time or resources to train you and I don’t want to put you in a spot where it would be hard for you to succeed. That wouldn’t be fair to you or us.” Or whatever you think would work along those lines. And this is key: be sure to put a reminder in your calendar to email them every 3-6 months and invite them to lunch or coffee and continue to check in on them. It’s not a guarantee you will be writing love letters in the sand forever, but it shows what a real professional you are. You can’t really lose.

Here Are The Three Things That
Could Happen When You Do This:

  1. They won’t respond to your message – they aren’t interested anymore. Zero time wasted!
  2. They do respond and they’ve gotten the experience you need, and you hire them.
  3. They respond but haven’t done the work you need. So probe them and see if they are having trouble acquiring the experience through their current company OR they haven’t tried. If they haven’t tried, let them know they can reach out to you when they do get it and don’t waste any more time.

Success is never guaranteed. But you can create a structure and a dialogue that ensures you don’t waste time with candidates that won’t work and give encouragement and opportunity to those just might be what you need with a little more growth.

Just don’t be “that” boss that expresses frustration and gets discouraged. People sense that stuff intuitively. For more on this, visit my earlier blog “Treat Me Right” – Your Reputation Is Your Best Recruiting Tool.

In the meantime, keep mining for gold and stay tuned for our next blog and …

Make your business rock!


Corey Harlock
Principal Consultant

Make Your Business Rock

Schedule your free 30-minute “Tune Into Talent™”
strategy session now with one of our
expert consultants to learn how.

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