Is The Art of Courtship Dead?

Acquiring senior-level recruits might feel like a transaction: you pinpoint a candidate, make an offer, negotiate the deal, and close. If so, it’s a transaction on the most human possible level. For that reason, you’ve got to create comfort—or risk losing your most desirable candidate. (Even if you don’t extend an offer: it’s great PR for your organization.)

As a retained executive search firm, we are constantly cultivating the fine art of courtship. Here are some simple rules we suggest clients follow:

1. Facilitate Travel

If you can, book candidate travel on your end—whether in-house, or through a dedicated travel agent. If that’s not practical, then make it easy for them to get expenses reimbursed after the fact.

2. Stick to The Scheduled Day(s)

Rescheduling interviews does not build trust; doing it several times sends a message that you don’t place a value on your people. When you schedule an interview, stick to the plan.

3. Stick to The Scheduled Hour(s)

It’s great to schedule breaks into a long day of interviews. But it’s not great to leave candidates waiting in a reception area for the next event.

4. Vary Your Questions

At a basic level, you’re building an experience for candidates. So keep it interesting. School your interviewers on probing specific competencies. Later, you can regroup as a team.

5. Let Your Candidates Talk

Make it clear that this is an opportunity for them to ask questions, too. Then provide helpful information.

6. Err on The Side of Overload

Relocation policies. Career progression. Local schooling. Candidates need this information for their own decision making. The more you can provide, the quicker they can respond to offers.

7. Follow-up

If you liked a candidate, have a manager, or even the company CEO,  express appreciation for the visit. This can make or break a “yes.”

8. Care

If your intention is to make an offer, send the candidate a gift or a care package that shows your enthusiasm. Examples include a gift basket, or branded items with the company’s logo. Whether or not the candidate joins the company, this is crucial PR.

What are your own experiences with going the extra mile to recruit candidates? Share your stories here.

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