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The Art of Woo: 7 Steps to Convincing Candidates to Take Your Career Opportunities

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The Art of Woo: 7 Steps to Convincing Candidates to Take Your Career Opportunities


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The % of people open to changing jobs has spiked in the past 4 years. Yet as a recruiter, it’s still hard to convince candidates to join your organization.


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To uncover the best ways to convince someone to change jobs, we interviewed 7 highly sought after candidates and 2 expert recruiters. We asked them for their best advice on wooing candidates. Here’s what they said:


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How to convince candidates to take your career opportunities in 7 steps: Reach out Brand Listen Be Honest Make Connections Advocate Follow-up


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Reach Out Candidates respond when you personalize your messages by relating their experiences to your opportunities. Step 1:


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“Sometimes recruiter interactions can feel very mechanical. It's hard to know what exactly they are looking for and how they are differentiating between candidates and opportunities.” Sung Kim Financial Planning & Analysis Manager, The Honest Company Step 1: Reach Out More 2015 job changer insights


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“The recruiter said, ‘You have an interesting LinkedIn profile.’ He meant my master’s thesis which was about the London Olympics and thought I’d be a good fit this role.” Emilie Gauthier Assistant to the Executive Director of Sport, Canadian Olympic Committee Step 1: Reach Out More 2015 job changer insights


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“Nobody wants to get a super templatized email. Instead, focus your attention on sending five or six pointed emails per day versus playing a numbers game. Make your communications count; people can feel your genuine  interest that way.” Alex Caiola Manager of Corporate Recruiting, SoulCycle Step 1: Reach Out More 2015 job changer insights


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“There are recruiters who don't run a great process. Candidates take that as a sign of how things work at that company. If there are communication lapses that can be a real turn off for candidates.” Yoni Lateiner Nerd / Recruiter, NerdWallet Step 1: Reach Out More 2015 job changer insights


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3 lessons for reaching out Personalize your messages: Show candidates you’ve researched their profiles to ensure they’re a good fit. Less is more: Fewer personalized messages gets better results than more templatized messages. Be reliable & fast: Stick to when you say you’ll follow up. This builds trust. Respond as quickly as possible. 1) 2) 3)


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Brand Once you start talking to candidates, they’ll start researching your organization’s website and talking to employees. Make it easy for them to get information. Provide discoverable online content, polish up your personal brand, and equip the hiring manager and employees to be brand ambassadors. Step 2:


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“I did what a lot of people do, I networked. I had three, separate unrelated connections to this company. There is an element of risk with any new job, but having informal conversations with the hiring manager and another employee outside of the formal interview process made me feel like I knew what I was getting into.” Danna Klein Senior Product Marketing Manager, Mixpo Step 2: Brand More 2015 job changer insights


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“The mission of a company matters to me. I know many companies have aspirations, but Gilead actually delivers on theirs. They aren't just satisfied with a drug that makes people better, they are going for a drug that cures disease.” Wendy Goretski Associate Director Business IT – R&D, Gilead Sciences Step 2: Brand More 2015 job changer insights


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“It's great if people do their research online about SoulCycle and what we're all about. There are plenty of interviews to watch and read. Julie and Elizabeth do a great job of conveying our core mission.” Alex Caiola Manager of Corporate Recruiting, SoulCycle Step 2: Brand More 2015 job changer insights


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3 tips for branding Make their research easy: Make it easy to discover what it’s like to work at your organization through rich online content. Elevate your recruiter brand: Ensure your personal brand on LinkedIn is one candidates will trust and respect. Cultivate brand ambassadors: Enable the hiring managers and their teams to help you recruit. Encourage them to seek referrals on social & professional networks. 1) 2) 3)


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Listen Candidates want to feel understood. Quickly get to know their career goals. Then, match them with the right opportunities. Step 3:


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“Listening is the primary thing… I was looking for a startup opportunity to build a new business, and wasn't particularly passionate about retail at the time. It was a recruiter that ultimately found the role that aligned to both my professional goals and my personal motivations. I was able to jump in and start K-12 Education for Kindle. It was the perfect landing spot.” Dave Vasen Founder, Brightwheel (The first mobile platform for early education, serving schools, daycares, and families) Step 3: Listen More 2015 job changer insights


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“Not everyone is going to be a fit, not every job is right for everyone. Really try to figure out what people want, what their motivations are – help them talk through that.” Yoni Lateiner Nerd / Recruiter, NerdWallet Step 3: Listen More 2015 job changer insights


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3 lessons for better listening Prepare & ask good questions: What are your career goals? What are you looking for in a new company, team, or role? Test your understanding: Check whether your role fits their goals and motivations. If it doesn’t, understand why not & see if there’s a better role. Confirm the role is a career move: If it’s not, it won’t make sense to move forward. If it is, move the recruiting process forward with them. 1) 2) 3)


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Be Honest Candidates want real information, not a sales pitch. Do your homework to give them an accurate picture of the organization and role. Step 4:


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“Really being honest and candid is important. If a recruiter is dishonest that potentially leads to attrition and unhappiness.” Damien McCreath Senior Assistant Brand Manager, P&G Step 4: Be Honest More 2015 job changer insights


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“Great recruiters are very transparent about a company. Nobody is perfect, no company is perfect. Let's talk about the strengths and the weaknesses, and allow them to make that call about what to opt in for.” Yoni Lateiner Nerd / Recruiter, NerdWallet Step 4: Be Honest More 2015 job changer insights


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“This is changing someone's life, it's not selling them a car or a computer. Just be honest. Taking a new job is a huge life change that someone's livelihood is based on, so it should never feel like a 'sell'.” Alex Caiola Manager of Corporate Recruiting, SoulCycle Step 4: Be Honest More 2015 job changer insights


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3 honest conversation how-to’s: Do your homework on the role: Learn the projects they’ll do, what success in the role means, what they’ll learn, and their potential career path. Match the role with their goals: Candidly communicate how the role may or may not fit the candidate’s career goals. Share the good and the bad: Reveal both positive and negative parts of the job so candidates they decide for themselves if they want to opt in. 1) 2) 3)


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Make Connections Candidates learn more when they can speak with current employees who are similar to themselves. Employees can share the good, the bad, and the ugly about what it’s really like to work somewhere. Step 5:


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“It is helpful to be connected to people who are currently in that role or a similar role that I'm applying to or am interested in.” Damien McCreath Senior Assistant Brand Manager, P&G Step 5: Make Connections More 2015 job changer insights


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“The VP of talent set up several meetings with senior leaders so that the candidate could get a better sense of where the company was going and who they were as leaders.” Yoni Lateiner Nerd / Recruiter, NerdWallet Step 5: Make Connections More 2015 job changer insights


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3 ways to make connections Connect candidates with current employees: Candidates appreciate honest advice from those working in similar roles, with similar career goals, or similar values. Ask those employees to give you feedback: This gives you more insights into the candidate’s fit. Build a network of employees willing to talk to candidates: Having go-to employees speeds up the recruiting process. 1) 2) 3)


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Advocate Candidates appreciate it when recruiters help and champion them once they’ve made the first cut. If they’re a good fit for the role, prepare them for the next steps in the recruiting process. Help the hiring manager and their team realize that they’re talking to a high quality candidate. Step 6:


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“The recruiter sincerely said, ‘We really think you’re a good candidate, if you do not get this job, we want to find something else for you.’ It really made me feel that we were working together.” Emilie Gauthier Assistant to the Executive Director of Sport, Canadian Olympic Committee Step 6: Advocate More 2015 job changer insights


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“Everyone wants to wait for that one perfect person but that's just not how it works. You have to help the hiring managers think about their ‘must-have’ qualities versus where the candidate can grow.” Yoni Lateiner Nerd / Recruiter, NerdWallet Step 6: Advocate More 2015 job changer insights


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3 tips for being an advocate Fight for your top candidates to be hired: Help them through the process by giving them enough information to prep for interviews. Help great candidates apply for another role: Sometimes the candidate is top notch, but isn’t a fit for one role. Help them consider another one. Set hiring manager expectations: Ask them to consider their “must-haves” versus where they can take a risk. 1) 2) 3)


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Follow-up Expert recruiters recommend building relationships with successfully placed candidates. This will help you assess whether you did a good job placing them in the right role. If you have a good relationship, you might even be able to rely on the candidate for referrals or place them again in the future. Step 7:


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“The good recruiters track with you over time and are proud of what you’ve accomplished. They look out for your career. This is the type of recruiter that I will hire someday because I trust they will bring me the type of candidates that I want.” Stacy Nagata COO Stealth Film/TV/Digital NewCo Step 7: Follow-up More 2015 job changer insights


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“It doesn't stop when they say 'yes' to the offer.” Yoni Lateiner Nerd / Recruiter, NerdWallet Step 7: Follow-up More 2015 job changer insights


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“I find it necessary to follow-up because it's important to make sure they like their new job and they feel invested in what they are doing.” Alex Caiola Manager of Corporate Recruiting, SoulCycle Step 7: Follow-up More 2015 job changer insights


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3 best practices for following up Get candidate feedback: This helps you improve. Is the job what they expected? Is there anything they wish they had known sooner? Do they love what they’re doing? Stay in touch: This way, you can go back to them for referrals. Connect with them: They may be a great candidate to place again in the future. 1) 2) 3)


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Want more 2015 global job changer insights? Get report


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Authors Samuel Jones, Ed.D. ‘17 Director Strategic Initiatives, Wharton School MBA Career Management Sam has placed hundreds of MBAs in the world’s best companies. He also leads organizational development projects for the Wharton School. Sam is completing his doctorate the University of Pennsylvania. Erica Marks, M.S.Ed. Senior Associate Director, Wharton School MBA Career Management Erica manages a team that advises companies on how to recruit Wharton MBA students. A former Corps Member with Teach For America, she regularly interviews prospective teachers. Erica completed her Masters degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Esther Lee Cruz, MBA Insights & Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn Talent Solutions Esther enjoys connecting people with opportunities using her marketing, analytics, and design chops. She’s excited to work at the intersection of recruiting & technology to help people reach their full potential doing work they love.


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Qualitative research methodology: We did purposeful sampling to find a mix of industry experience, gender, and generation. Changing jobs and/or careers was the common thread among all participants. We asked each person the same open-ended interview questions and probed them with additional questions to dive deeper. The average interview time was 30 minutes over Skype. We used applied thematic analysis techniques borrowing from case studies and grounded theory. We validated interview findings with a mini focus group of LinkedIn recruiters and participant member checks. Limitations: Our sampling frame included invitations to internationally-based participants, but none responded with the exception of one person from Canada. Therefore all participants were from North America. The interviews included a high representation of MBAs, Millennials, and Gen X professionals. Future research: Could use more extensive validity techniques such as multiple focus groups. In future research, we suggest including other countries, Baby Boomers, and professionals from a larger variety of functions. One-on-one interview questions: What are your short and long-term career goals? Did you interact with recruiters at any point in your career changes? If yes, tell me about the interaction. As you think about the job changes you went through, what were the circumstances prompting or motivating you to change jobs? If they mention a generational motivator, use drill downs. As a woman, what is important to you in a company or role? (Women only) What about the company overall resonated with you? What is your advice to a recruiter who wants to recruit you? Probes: Can you tell me more? Can you elaborate? Methodology ©2015 LinkedIn Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


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