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4. Sell

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The Top Five Ways to Seal the Deal

Most managers fail to sell a candidate.
Imagine putting all of that work into finding the perfect candidate and then losing them in the eleventh hour! Imagine the frustration, the embarrassment, the anxiety. Your work is never really finished, selling the job and ensuring the individual is happy is an ongoing process. Candidates tend to care about five things, so make sure to address each one. they are as follows:
Fit ties together with the company's vision, needs, and culture with the candidate's goals, strengths, and values. "Here is where we are going as a company. Here is where you fit in."
Family takes into account the broader trauma of changing jobs. "What can we do to make this change as easy as possible for your family?"
Freedom is the autonomy the candidate will have to make his or her own decisions. "I will give you ample freedom to make decisions, and I will not micromanage you."
Fortune reflects the stability of your company and the overall financial upside. "If you accomplish your objectives, you will likely make (compensation amount) over the next five years.
Fun describes the work environment and personal relationships the candidate will make. "We like to have a lot of fun around here. I think you will find this is a culture you will really enjoy."

Selling Fit

By far the most important. The best candidates are looking for places they can be A Players. The better the fit, the higher the likelihood of success. Fit means showing the candidate how his or her goals, talents, and values fit into your vision, strategy, and culture. People want to make an impact in the world. They want to be needed.
Alec Gores uses this approach with every hire. "I tell them the vision and where we are heading, and they get excited," he said. "They have to understand the vision. they have to become part of the formula. We are all in the same boat."
Gabriel Echavarria, chairman and director of Consejo Corporation, goes about it in this way. "The first thing you have to do is talk to them about the company. You have to sell the company and the vision of the company and the potential of the company. Nobody who is worth anything is going to go into a company where they don't see real potential with a company and a strong fit with their goals and abilities. The most valuable commodity they have is their time." He will then walk around with them and tells them more, "Our corporate culture is Loki. It is a family company, not a public company. We have a high appreciation for values. we don't like people who are too ostentatious or too self-sufficient. We are multinational, so we need people who can adapt to foreign cultures and our company culture."

Selling Family

Echavaria also makes a point of personally welcoming the spouses and children of candidates. "We have a whole part of our process that is dedicated to showing the families around, sightseeing, and having dinners - really making them feel at home. That's one way we are able to sell the best candidates on making a career shift."
Ask your candidate, "How is your wife / husband feeling about this? How excited are your kids to live in Denver?" Take a real interest in the family and whenever possible invite them over to explore the office. Sometimes showing the love works out but not always. Time and time again, we have seen A Players from managers to CEO's showered with gifts and attention only to drop out of the process because their families were not on board. So important is the family in the decision-making process that Greg Alexander, the CEO of Sales Benchmark Index, advocates concentrating your attention there in this last stage, not the candidate.
"When hiring for small companies, the person who needs to be sold is never the candidate. The candidate would not be there if he were not sold. Focus on selling the spouse, children, parents, friends of the candidate. They will have a much greater role in the decision for these types of situations. the candidate will look to them for the tough call. Better have them in your camp, or you won't get the candidate."
A word of caution as you contemplate all this: be sincere. The five F's aren't tools for manipulating people. They are areas on which you will want to focus deep and honest attention now that you have come to the end of the recruiting process.

Selling Freedom

A Players have never liked being micromanaged. It runs against their grain- inherent characteristics that make them standouts in the first place. That's even more true of Gen- and Gen-Y A Players. They are looking for positions where they will be left alone to excel. This of course scared some executives because it makes them feel like they are giving up control. This is one of the great paradoxes of management. In reality, great leaders gain more control by ceding control to their A Players.
George Buckley of 3M grants freedom by building trust with his employees. "A lot of CEOs think the role of the CEO is to be aloof, like a judge in a courtroom," he told us. "But the role of the CEO is to inspire people, and you cannot inspire people unless you get to know them and them you. Don't cut corners on that. It takes energy. CEO's are sometimes afraid to be real people. If you want to extract as much value as possible out of somebody in an organization, you have to let them be themselves. Maybe they talk too much. Maybe they are awkward in front of others. Nobody is perfect. It is not about immediate competency; it's about confidence that builds that competency. If you know that I am confident in you, you are likely to take more risks, to work a little harder, because you know that I am not going to take your head off if something doesn't work perfectly. That builds competence. Extend the hand of trust. And occasionally extend the hand of friendship."
Stacy Schusterman builds trust with her A Player candidates by encouraging them to evaluate her as a manager. "If they are going to be a senior person, they are going to want a higher degree of autonomy. I encourage the candidate to do reference checks on me so they can understand how I work with people." Nothing sells freedom more than giving candidates free access to the people around you so they can ask whatever they want about your style.

Selling Fortune

If nothing else seems to be working, you can always throw money at a hire, right? Actually, wrong.
Research shows that while money can be a disincentive if it is too low or not linked to performance, it rarely is the key motivator. A raise given today is usually forgotten by tomorrow. Sure, money is an important piece of the package, but it never stands alone. "If all you have to sell is compensation, that is not good." CEO of Honeywell Aerospace told us.
Allstate chairman Ed Liddy's advice, like so many others we spoke to, was to "pay people on a performance basis." He added, "That gets you good people, people who believe in themselves." This may mean you end up paying your best performers a lot more than you average ones. And thats ok, just have the data to back it up when either side asks about the difference.

Selling Fun

We spend more than a third of our time, and probably better than half our waking time, at work. We might as well have fun while we are doing it. What "fun" means, of course, is closely tied to corporate culture. We've visited start-ups where you are tempted to think you've walked into a rec center. We've also been in financial institutions where fun might mean wearing a two-piece suit instead of a three piece one.
Be sure your definition of fun and your candidates match.
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