Column: Risk Management

Courting Job Candidates

Talent management risks can be exacerbated by a company's recruitment strategies.
By: | November 3, 2014

We all know the way to a company’s success is found within the people that it hires. We all understand that it is important to hire the right people for the right job. Good employees are the most precious assets of an organization.

Numerous books are written on effective hunting and attracting techniques, and on how to pull in talented job candidates once you’ve found them. But do we understand what top-shelf candidates are thinking of us as we are recruiting them? Is it possible they may be rejecting us just by virtue of how we have recruited them?


It is not uncommon to learn that candidates decide not to accept offers simply because they found the whole recruitment process far too maddening. It was just easier to walk away.

A good recruitment process should attract the right kind of employee, the kind that you want in your company, with great knowledge, skills and attitude.

That same recruitment process is also a direct reflection of the operation and professionalism of your organization. Often, when organizations design their talent acquisition strategies, the daunting workload seems to leave them feeling stressed. But remember that feeling is nothing compared to that of job candidates.

Just because organizations believe they have found the perfect candidate, don’t forget there is a real risk that the candidate will not reciprocate those feelings.

Being recruited takes a heavy mental toll on candidates. We should conduct our recruitment process carefully and with empathy.

Starting with the job description — talented candidates know how to analyze job descriptions. If a job description is too vague, littered with corporate jargon or, more importantly, does not give a sense of what the candidate’s success will look like or how it will be measured in that role, you risk a huge strike against you.

Even with a dud job description, it is possible you may get the candidate to an interview. The candidate is likely doing it in hopes of supplementing what they did not learn from the job description or initial discussions with your recruiter.

We know an interview is like a first date. Both parties assess each other. We have to remember that for a good candidate, this is not their first rodeo. It is critical that the recruiting firm not come off as arrogant or not allow the candidate to talk in a meaningful way.

In many ways, a great candidate is in the position of power. So it’s best not to be subjugating. A good candidate usually has other carrots dangling in front of them and they know it.


Even if the interviews go well, companies should be mindful of not introducing “hoops.” There is nothing worse than for a candidate to discover there are multiple hoops to jump through — drug tests, competency assessments, medical examinations, extended references. These things may be necessary but it’s best to inform candidates of these well in advance.

After the candidate survives the interviews and makes it to the offer stage, it is critical to give the candidate adequate time to produce documents and to consider the offer.

There is nothing is more nerve-wracking for a candidate considering a new job opportunity than to feel like you’re holding a gun to their head. Good candidates take things seriously. They need time to consider. Shortchange them here and you risk your candidate walking the other way.

Just because organizations believe they have found the perfect candidate, don’t forget there is a real risk that the candidate will not reciprocate those feelings. And he or she may leave you at the altar by virtue of how you courted them.

Joanna Makomaski is a specialist in innovative enterprise risk management methods and implementation techniques. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]