As a recruiter or hiring manager, you’re going to feel the sting of rejection throughout your career. A 2017 survey found that over 90% of recruiters had had at least one job offer rejected in the past six months. So when you’ve got a big fish on the line, how do you hook him or her? Do you know how to get someone to accept your offer?
We continue our series on the psychology of recruiting and onboarding with another powerful theory behind what makes people tick. (Learn more about how to recruit using psychology!) Social exchange theory is a collection of philosophies that identify why humans make certain decisions. At its most basic, social exchange theory posits that choices are made by weighing the costs versus the benefits. If the benefits are worth more than the costs, it’s a good choice. If not, logical people will opt for the alternative.
While commonly applied to interpersonal relationships, this theory can easily be expanded to learn more about how to get someone to accept your offer. First, look at the costs the candidate incurs. Then examine the benefits you’re offering. Will it be worth it from the candidate’s perspective?
Any choice one makes immediately excludes other options. When one door opens, several other doors close. If your candidate accepts your job offer, he or she is essentially agreeing to end the job search and devote time and energy into your company. You’ve got to make it worth it!
Remember, every candidate incurs different costs. It’s unique to each person. Consider location. If one candidate lives next door to your office building, relocation won’t be a factor. But if your top choice would need to relocate, that could be a game-changer. Does the candidate have kids who would need to adjust to new schools? The cost is even higher. You’ll need to make sure you’re offering some kind of relocation package or incentive to counteract it.
Every candidate has different priorities (although most will adhere to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.) Some see business travel as an exciting way to see the world on the company dollar – a benefit. Others might not want to leave their homes or families with such frequency, and count travel as a negative. Here are some other costs your potential new hire might be considering:
- Expected workload
- Pay cuts
- Stress level
- Number of hours
- Lack of autonomy
- Limited opportunities for promotion or career advancement, which 15% of employers cite as a reason for job offer rejection.
Want to know how to get someone to accept your offer? Find out what’s important to that person, and make sure your benefits outweigh the costs.
Your rational candidate will weigh the costs of a career move against the potential benefits. Pay is the most obvious benefit, but your company may offer other tangible or intangible perks. If you offer any of the following benefits, stress them to your candidate during the recruiting process. You want this person to have as much information about the benefits you have to offer before he or she makes a decision!
- Retirement plans
- Health, dental, vision, and other insurance benefits
- Corporate culture (if you feel it is well suited to your candidate’s personality and work style)
- Telecommuting options
- Education benefits like tuition reimbursement or continuing education classes
- Bonuses, incentives, and stock options
- Vacation time, sick leave, and paid time off
- Access to cutting-edge technology
- Advancement opportunities
The cost/benefit analysis is unique, and as a potential employer, you aren’t privy to what is going on inside the candidate’s head. What can you do to ensure that your offer comes up positive in the cost-benefit equation?
Talk About It
Find out what is important to your candidate. Ask what kinds of things he or she wants in an employer. It’s entirely possible that something that seems small to you – an extra week of vacation, for example, or the ability to telecommute once a week – could make all the difference. Your goal during the recruitment process shouldn’t be to get the best possible labor at the lowest possible price. That’s a great philosophy for material goods, but it doesn’t apply here. You’re not making a one-time purchase. An employee is an investment. Social exchange theory applies to your end of the bargain, too. Are the benefits you’ll get from hiring this person greater than the costs? Consider all the angles, and both the company and the candidate will win.
In the third article in our series on the psychology of recruiting, we discuss the way in which the recruitment process meets the needs of the candidate. (See the first two articles Types of Unconscious Bias in Hiring and Onboarding New Employees with Social Learning to learn more about how to recruit.)
The ultimate goal of the recruitment process is to extend an offer to the best candidate – and to have that offer accepted. But does your offer meet the candidate’s needs? Have you shown a holistic understanding of the candidate’s life goals throughout the recruitment process? Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which he wrote about in his seminal 1943 paper, outlines a theory behind motivation. Why do people say ‘yes’ to one offer, but ‘no’ to others? In one study, 26% of recruiters reported that over 1 in 10 job offers were rejected. What can you do to ensure your top candidate says yes?
The Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a pyramid with five layers. Need fulfillment starts at the bottom of the pyramid. As the needs for one layer are met, the candidate will seek to meet the needs of the upper layers. The recruitment process and final offer is a chance to demonstrate to the candidate that you understand his or her life and career goals. These days, employees are looking for more than just a high salary or plenty of time off. Glassdoor found that two-thirds of job candidates want diversity in the workplace. A larger study discovered that employees most want flexibility, a commitment to employee health, and a deeper sense of purpose. A quick look at the hierarchy of needs shows why.
Before a person can think about things like friendship or contributing to the community at large, some basic needs must be met. This includes things like clothing, food, water, and shelter. When you’re extending a job offer, this level directly corresponds to pay rate. Are you offering enough money for the candidate to make a living? You need to consider the cost of living in your company’s location as well. An employee working in your Silicon Valley office should be paid more than an employee doing the exact same thing in Biloxi.
Perhaps surprisingly, a massive increase in pay isn’t always the incentive hiring managers think it should be. Remember, this is the lowest level in the hierarchy of needs. Once the basics are met, your candidates are looking for more than money.
What’s the turnover like at your company? Employees don’t want to be cogs in a machine. During your recruitment process, stress the investment you will be making in your new employee. If the new hire feels as though you are committing for the long haul, that will fulfill a sense of job security. After all, you wouldn’t spend time and money educating and training an employee if you didn’t plan to keep that person around.
Health is another aspect of safety needs. Do you care about the health of your employees? Benefits like gym memberships (or an on-site gym!), standing desks, mental health days, and onsite health screenings show that your company emphasizes the physical and mental well-being of its employees. During the recruitment process, offer examples of wellness challenges, lunch and learns, or other opportunities for employees to step back and take a break. Wellness promotion programs are always worth the investment.
Research shows that having friends at work makes employees happier and more productive (although employees may want to refrain from complaining about job woes to their new best friends.) There’s more to the need to belong than friendship, though. Your workplace should have a clear corporate culture – common values and beliefs that bind diverse people together. During the recruitment process, emphasize the opportunities your employees have to socialize. Work friends are crucial to success, and your company should facilitate that as much as possible. Mandatory social activities may become a burden, so instead offer several options both in and out of the workplace for colleagues to get to know your new hire. One good option? Invite a prospective candidate to a social function at the workplace. He or she will be able to mix, mingle, and get a sense as to whether or not the culture would be a good fit.
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. Once a candidate feels confident that his or her basic needs will be met, that safety is a priority, and that there will be a sense of camaraderie, that person begins to look for additional validation. How does your company recognize the contributions of its employees? Throughout the recruitment process, point out ways employees are honored for their achievements. This could include anything from a special bell that’s rung whenever a sale is made to a ‘wall of fame’ to a monthly bonus awarded to the hardest worker on the team. Some companies have programs so colleagues can recognize a special effort made by a coworker. Your new hire doesn’t want to feel like he or she is slaving away at the same tasks without making a difference. Make the candidate feel special during the recruitment process, even before the job offer.
This is the top layer of the hierarchy of need, considered when all other needs are met. It represents your employee reaching his or her full potential. Autonomy, creativity, and a deeper sense of purpose are part of self-actualization. Emphasize the ways in which your company – and your potential new hire specifically – can make a difference internally and externally. You want your new hires (and your veterans) to feel good about coming in to work every day. The exact manifestation of self-actualization depends on the person. As you engage with your prospective candidates, learn about what is important to them. Here are some possibilities:
- Making the world a better place
- Making a difference in people’s lives
- Flexing one’s own creative muscles
- The ability to create organizational change
- Opportunities for education and growth potential
As you discover more about your candidate, you’ll be able to tailor your recruitment process to focus on what he or she finds most important.
Remember, the key to the hierarchy of needs is that it starts at the bottom. You must fulfill the basic needs before you can move onto the psychological needs and the need for self-fulfillment. If your employee isn’t offered a living wage, it won’t matter if he or she is able to affect change in the world or exercise creativity. Work your way up the hierarchy of needs, and you’ll be more likely to hear an enthusiastic affirmative when you extend an offer.
Company policies protect your business from frivolous lawsuits. They are designed to give equal opportunities to all employees, to create a safe work environment, and to inform workers about what they can expect from the leadership team. But even the most well-meaning corporate policies are useless if they aren’t followed consistently and to the letter. Follow these steps to ensure compliance.
1. Create Policies
Do you have company policies? You need to be proactive. Don’t just assume you can come up with coherent, fair policies on the fly as situations arise. If you don’t have policies in place, your HR team needs to make this a priority. Solicit input from managers, but your human resources department has the final say in the policy-making process. You want to create policies that will be best for your company. That might, at times, conflict with what your employees will want.
You should have policies to cover:
- Holidays, vacations, sick days, and personal leave
- Performance evaluations and improvement
- Equal Employment Opportunity
- Employee classifications
- Payment schedules, including advances, deductions, and overtime
- Meals and breaks
There are several additional policies you may want to create. Will you allow concealed weapons at your place of work? Will you conduct background checks or drug tests on applicants or employees? What is the procedure if one employee accuses another of bullying or harassment? Can employees bring pets to work? Knowing how you’ll proceed before a heated issue comes up helps to ensure compliance because it sets expectations.
2. Spread Awareness
If no one knows what the policies are, it’s impossible to ensure compliance. A full, detailed list of your policies should be readily accessible at all times. Print out a binder and leave it in the employee break room. Give each new hire a hard and digital copy of corporate policies when he or she is hired. Most importantly, go over the policies to verify that the employee understands and agrees to abide by each one. Ignorance should never be an excuse for not following a corporate policy.
Incorporate your corporate policies into your onboarding process. Go beyond uploading the documents to your onboarding software. Your software should allow you to schedule to-do lists for your new hires, and show you whether or not these tasks have been completed. Don’t just make your company policies mandatory reading material. Create a quiz or questionnaire that prompts employees to share their thoughts about policies. It will be good feedback for you, and it will give new hires the chance to really consider each policy and its potential impact.
3. Lead by Example
Compliance starts at the top. If your managers are taking extended lunch breaks, using company property for personal business, or posting unauthorized updates on social media, your employees will either follow suit or become disillusioned with their leadership. Corporate policies are for everyone, from the CEO to the college intern. If anyone in the company doesn’t follow policy, others will believe that they don’t have to, either. Inconsistency is the biggest danger to successful implementation of your corporate policies.
Consistency is about more than trying to ensure compliance. If an employee ever decides to file a lawsuit against your business, precedents will be a part of that lawsuit. Did you follow every HR policy to the letter, or have you been making exceptions for some? This doesn’t mean that you need to blindly enforce your policies. A salaried employee, for example, may not be subject to the same strict rules as an hourly temp. But document any discrepancies and your reasoning behind them to protect the company should an employee file suit.
4. Be Reasonable
You don’t necessarily need to create a hard and fast rule for everything. You should be proactive and have some sort of general guideline for most scenarios, though. If you’re not sure about a certain policy, don’t exclude it from your corporate policies altogether. Instead, note that this situation “will be handled according to the manager’s discretion.” This leaves the door open for you to change policies later on if they don’t seem right for your business.
5. Follow the Law
There are certain policies every business needs to have in place according to federal law. Review your corporate policies with an attorney to ensure compliance with OSHA, labor laws, and other acts. Remember, your company policies are more than a guide or a handbook. In a court of law, they are typically treated as a contract between an employer and its employees. This is not something you want to put off until a situation arises. Create and ensure compliance with corporate policies now to avoid trouble in the future.
If your recruitment metrics have taken a dive recently, you may want to consider investing in recruiting software like an applicant tracking system. But don’t take our word for it! Independent research has found that technology can significantly improve key performance indicators (KPIs) like cost-per-hire, time-to-fill, and quality of hire. In one survey, 89% of recruiters said that recruiting technology was either “extremely” or “very” important for performing their jobs well.
Reasons Why Companies Don’t Adopt Recruitment Technology
(Source: Software Advice survey)
So what’s the holdup? Why haven’t some companies gotten on board? Don’t let cost be a deterrent. Recruiting software can save you far more money than it costs by lowering your cost-per-hire and time-to-fill, increasing quality of hire, and improving other recruitment metrics. Here are three ways an applicant tracking system can help you hit your recruitment metrics this year.
A good applicant tracking software is easy to learn and intuitive to use. Some companies worry that they will lose time and productivity as they switch from paper to software. But the long-term benefits of modernizing will surely outweigh the costs of any ramp-up time. The aforementioned report found that 95% of recruiters were able to learn the software with minimal difficulty. One of the major benefits of recruiting technology is a decrease in the amount of time it takes to fill positions. By filling positions faster, the company benefits from the productivity of a larger team right away.
Hire More Easily
You don’t have to be a technology guru to use recruiting software. Aside from quick implementation (especially by cloud-based providers), applicant tracking software is designed to make recruiting easy. You can directly post and promote advertisements to multiple job boards and career search sites with a single click. You can set up templates and automatic email triggers. Hiring managers have a place to collaborate, and candidate information is located in a single repository. An applicant tracking system will streamline and organize the recruiting process.
If you’re currently using a recruiting software and it’s causing you headaches, it’s time to choose another one. Most recruiting software companies offer a free trial so you can get a feel for the system before you buy.
Budgeting is critical in business, especially as you’re growing. Some SMBs feel recruiting software isn’t affordable or worth the cost. They stick with a homemade or manual process and miss out on the savings technology offers. The hard truth is that a manual process costs you time, money, and resources. In the long run, you’ll spend more to hire additional staff to take on the work overload and make up for an inefficient process. As your HR department works harder on tasks that could be automated, key recruitment metrics suffer, inadvertently affecting the quality of your new hires. A good recruiting software system enables individuals to streamline the recruiting process, so fewer people are needed to do the work. A recruitment management system is one tool you can use to boost your ROI and your key performance indicators.
Are you having trouble hitting your recruitment metrics? Consider signing up for a free trial of a recruitment management system like ApplicantStack. Not sure how your KPIs look? An applicant tracking software helps with that, too. It automatically tracks and reports your recruiting metrics, so you can see exactly how far you’ve come.
ApplicantStack joins forces with SwipeClock to provide the best HR labor management solutions for SMBs across the country
Cary, NC, Release Date: January 15, 2019.
ApplicantStack has been acquired by workforce management software company, SwipeClock (https://www3.swipeclock.com/) and will be joining their workforce management solution portfolio. SwipeClock provides HR labor management solutions including time & attendance, scheduling and employee self-service software. The addition of ApplicantStack will give them a best-in-class applicant tracking and onboarding solution to add to their product suite.
“We’re excited to join SwipeClock’s family of premier HR solutions for small and medium-sized businesses,” stated Nathan Shackles, CEO of ApplicantStack. “Joining SwipeClock will enable us to further enhance our ApplicantStack Recruit and Onboard products while also providing our customers access to an integrated set of HR labor management solutions.”
ApplicantStack will continue to operate as a division of SwipeClock with the same products and level of service it has in the past. ApplicantStack’s products and services will continue uninterrupted.
“Applicant tracking and timekeeping are among the most compelling requirements for small businesses,” said Coleman Barney, SwipeClock CEO. “The acquisition brings together two extraordinarily complementary products that our partners and their customers can start using right away. This is a natural fit with our strategy to extend and expand our solution with other HR services of value to small and medium businesses.”
ApplicantStack: the affordable, easy-to-use, full-featured recruiting and onboarding system trusted by 2,500+ companies since 2009 to automate and streamline their recruiting and onboarding process.
We spent our careers in human resources, bogged down with paperwork and craving more time and resources. Our goal is to provide organizations the tool we always wish we had. We created ApplicantStack, a simple, gets-the-job-done software that has everything you need and nothing you don’t. It’s not another thing to manage, but the tool that helps you manage your day.
To learn more please visit: https://www.applicantstack.com/
SwipeClock is a leader in simple and affordable workforce management services. Our more than 1,000 partners have empowered more than 30,000 businesses to reduce labor costs, comply with regulatory mandates, and maximize profits. SwipeClock cloud products (WorkforceHUB, TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity) and hardware clocks (TimeWorksTouch, TimeWorksTUFF and others) provide instant employee access to automated timekeeping, scheduling, leave management, HR dashboards, and other HR resources. With SwipeClock, employers transform labor from a cost of doing business to a competitive advantage.
To learn more please visit: www.swipeclock.com.
The hiring process is critical to the overall reputation of the company, and most of all to your employment brand. Companies with better reputations attract better people, are seen to offer more value, and can even charge a premium for their products and services. One great way to improve your brand reputation? Improve your hiring process.
A good process is the result of strategic planning and efficiency, which can be achieved with the help of ATS systems. If you’ve recently purchased or are thinking about investing in applicant tracking software, there are three things you can do right off the bat to improve your hiring process.
Customize screening questions by department.
ATS systems should allow you to tailor your online screening questions. Save time using department-based screening questions. One size does not fit all in the hiring world. The qualifications you need for a finance expert aren’t going to be the same as those for a customer service representative. Take a few minutes to talk with the hiring managers in each department. What kinds of people are they looking for? What are the core competencies critical to the overall success of a person taking on a position in that department? Knowing the right questions to ask can save you time by winnowing down the number of unqualified candidates who apply. Why waste everyone’s time? Customize the screening questions according to discussions with your hiring managers and you’re more likely to hit the mark sooner.
Get the team on board.
Effective collaboration with stakeholders is essential to streamlining your hiring process. ATS systems can be powerful tools, but only if your people are taking advantage. You’ve got to make it easy for everyone to understand and implement your applicant tracking system. Encourage team members to use the ATS systems’ most basic features. Over time, they’ll become more adept and can leverage advanced tools. Hint: try out the software before you buy it. If it isn’t intuitively obvious, your team is not going to want to use it.
The interview process is essential when deciding on a candidate’s eligibility. Your candidate will come into contact with several members of your organization, both formally and informally. ATS systems give you a centralized location to enter feedback, notes, and reviews. It’s the easiest way to consolidate everyone’s thoughts as you work together to reach a decision.
Use the email response function.
This is an important habit to get into. Communication is critical to your applicants; always respond in a timely and professional manner. Candidates are typically applying for several jobs at once. You need to remain in frequent contact, especially with your most desirable candidates. ATS systems allow you to schedule and send emails automatically based on triggers. Build customized templates ahead of time so you don’t come across as impersonal. The email response function is common courtesy for your applicants, and it’s easy to implement.
There are many ATS systems out there. Do your research before you buy. After you’ve made a purchase, set up prescreening questionnaires and email response functions. Get your team excited and on board. They (and you) might be surprised by the many ways an applicant tracking software can augment your current hiring process. If you’ve never used an applicant tracking system, check out this two-minute demonstration of ApplicantStack. Ready to try it out? Click here for your free trial!