Headhunter Secret: How to Avoid a Hiring Mistake!

Over the last 20 years, I have found many hiring managers outside of our process make decisions based primarily on logic or ‘gut feeling.’ Many times, the results can be disappointing or outright disastrous because we all know how easy a terrible person is to get rid of compared to the mediocre player that bleeds our organization of motivation and vision. To avoid this, my suggestion comes straight from recruiting 401. The process is simple and effective and is used at the very end of an interview process said with as much sincerity as you can muster:

“We’ve come a long way in this interviewing process and have now reached a point of decision…and I have to tell you that I am not altogether certain this is the right opportunity for you.”

Shut up and pray for fireworks. For me, there is nothing better than literally the person reaching across the desk or phone and wanting to strangle me. “What? Why would you say that? I’m the perfect fit.” In this case, you smile as they continue their rant. At some point, they will stop and likely ask, “This was a test…wasn’t it?” Upon which time, you can grin and say, “Welcome aboard.” I refer to this as the Willy Wonka test.

If the candidate pauses and mentions their concern (s), interview continue with some real probing and soul searching on your end. In instances like this, it may require further reference checking or complete reconsideration of the candidate.

I have seen situations where the candidate completely folds up camp and agrees and moves on! This can be a real shocker. However, you have just saved yourself from a candidate with no fight in them. You have saved yourself from either a quitter or someone who has low self esteem. As a recruiter with a professional reputation at stake along with the well being of my trusting hiring managers, an almost macabre sigh comes over me as I hear the voice telling me, “Back to the drawing board.”

A final thought. Using this technique with the winning candidate solidifies a key thing in their mind…you have guts and intellect to have made that statement. Not a bad way to start off a working relationship.