Professional people meeting for an interview

Is your job candidate having second thoughts about accepting the job? How do you handle objections while recruiting a candidate?

Some candidates might not be fully on board with the job. If they raise concerns, you need to change their minds so they’ll accept your offer.

Here’s advice for objection handling in recruitment from the book Who.

Encourage Candidates to Commit

Once you’ve identified your ideal candidate, you can move to the final step of the hiring process: encouraging your chosen candidate to fully commit to your job offer. The authors of Who say this step starts during the interview process and continues until the employee has been employed for 100 days. This step is important because many people change their minds about accepting job offers shortly before or after their employment. Thus, they either turn down the offers or quit their new positions. If they stay in their new position beyond 100 days, however, they’re likely committed and don’t need further encouragement.

The Importance of the First 100 Days

Other business experts agree that it’s essential to encourage commitment during the first 100 days of employment as employees adjust to the company and decide whether they actually want to work there. One study of over 50 companies found that up to 70% of employees leave within this 100-day window. Within this period, the first day of employment is particularly impactful, with 74% of employees saying that their decision to stay at a company is influenced by their experiences on their first day.

Thus, the experts say to make this 100-day window—and especially the first day—an exciting and memorable time. You can do this by varying your methods of communication (such as meeting in-person, talking over video, and sending gifts) and planning community-building events on employees’ first days so they can meet their coworkers.

Address the Person’s Apprehensions

The authors explain that candidates and new employees may have apprehensions about the role. For candidates, you address their apprehensions about accepting the job offer; for new employees, you address their apprehensions about staying in the role past 100 days. Addressing apprehensions encourages the individual to commit by either removing their objections or offering them incentives that outweigh them.

The way you’ll address the apprehensions depends on their nature and on how valuable the person is to the company. The authors say most people’s apprehensions fall into one or more of these five main categories:

  • The company or role doesn’t align with their goals and abilities
  • Their loved ones will be negatively impacted
  • They’ll have limited autonomy
  • They’ll receive insufficient compensation
  • They won’t enjoy the work environment

For example, say your candidate would have to move to Spain if she accepted your job offer, and she’s worried about entering an unfamiliar culture. This could fall under the fifth category, as she’s not familiar enough with Spanish culture to know if she would enjoy the work environment. If your company provides an “introduction to Spanish culture” course, the candidate may feel more comfortable accepting the job offer and committing to her new role. If the candidate is still unconvinced, you may try to outweigh her apprehension by offering a higher salary. The more valuable she is to the company, the higher you’ll be willing to increase her salary.

(Shortform note: According to some hiring experts, other reasons a candidate may drop out of the hiring process include a bad experience with an interviewer and a lack of communication. Other experts add that an employee may quit a new role because of a poor onboarding process or because they think the role won’t help their career. Collectively, these experts recommend encouraging commitment by being more responsive and supportive. Similarly to Smart and Street, they suggest you start doing so when you first share the job description with candidates and continue doing so for the first few months of their employment.)

When the individual’s loved ones (usually immediate family members) are affected by their decision, you must address those people’s apprehensions as well, the authors add. Without their loved ones’ approval, the individual may not accept the job offer or stay in the role, even if they’re personally ready to do so. Continuing our example, if your candidate’s family doesn’t want to leave their community, you’ll have a harder time convincing her to commit to the role. To address this problem, you may offer the whole family the culture course, or you may institute a support program that helps new hires and their families build a new community in Spain.

(Shortform note: The sway a person’s loved ones have on their career decisions may depend on whether they’re from a collectivistic or individualistic culture. Psychology experts say that collectivistic cultures value group well-being over that of the individual, while individualistic cultures primarily prize autonomy. Thus, you may need to be particularly vigilant in addressing the apprehensions of collectivistic families, while individualistic families may be less concerning. This may be especially true when a role requires candidates to move, as individuals from collectivist cultures might be more reluctant to live far from their communities and families.)

However you choose to address the person’s or their loved ones’ apprehensions, do so quickly. If you leave them unaddressed for long enough, the apprehensions could grow more serious, making the candidate less likely to accept the job offer or stay in the role. Thus, the authors say you must stay in regular contact with your candidates and new employees, so you can recognize and address their apprehensions before they have time to worsen.

Can You Prevent Apprehensions From Forming?

An employee value proposition (EVP) is another method of encouraging commitment. An EVP is a document that summarizes the benefits people get by working at your company, business experts explain. This goes beyond listing compensation or insurance benefits to include important elements of the company’s culture and brand. Essentially, you’re answering the question, “What do people value most about this company?”

EVPs encourage commitment by presenting candidates and employees with your company’s main incentives upfront. This entices prospective candidates to join the company. It also gives others a positive view of the company: If they decide to leave their jobs in the future, they’re more likely to look for a job in your company. For current employees, the EVP acts as a reminder of everything they like about the company, increasing goodwill and encouraging them to stay with the company and actively promote it to customers and potential hires.

Sharing your company’s main incentives upfront arguably makes your EVP a preventive measure: Instead of waiting for people’s apprehensions to develop and then rushing to outweigh them with incentives, you stop them from forming. For example, a candidate may realize their abilities and the role’s goals aren’t perfectly aligned. They’re willing to learn any needed skills as long as they have autonomy to do so on their own terms. If they’re unsure how much autonomy they’d have in the role, an apprehension will form that you’ll have to quickly address. However, if that candidate knows from your EVP that the company’s culture encourages autonomy, that apprehension won’t arise.

Furthermore, these experts recommend you ask your existing employees for their input when making the document, which could highlight categories you need to address. For example, if many employees report that they value the friendly work environment, you likely don’t have to worry about that category of concern. However, if none of your employees say they value their compensation, you may need to address that category.

Once you’ve created your EVP, the experts recommend sharing it everywhere, including on the company website, in job descriptions, and in advertising. They add that your brand and PR department should also communicate the incentives from your EVP, creating a consistent narrative that encourages commitment.

While EVPs can be powerful tools, they are one-size-fits-all, rather than customized to specific apprehensions a person might have or how valuable they are to the company. Thus, you may want to also maintain regular contact, so you can address any apprehensions not covered in your EVP or add further incentives to entice particularly valuable individuals.
Objection Handling in Recruitment: Get a Candidate to Say Yes

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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