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a different perspective on human capital

Not Another Boring Newsletter (A Message from our CEO)


Friends and Partners,

As you may have noticed, we don’t send newsletters.  I am asked almost daily to share my insights and thoughts on the current state of recruiting, hiring, and general talent management, but haven’t done so on a mass scale… until now.

The first half of 2017 has been a bit… well… weird.

We had SEVEN people in the past six months turn down offers from our clients.  To give you some context, we had FOUR people in the previous six+ years turn down offers.  In a bit of a panic, I sought answers.  As it turns out, The Treehouse is not alone in this significant uptick in “candidate flight.”

In a recent study of recruiter sentiment, 90% of recruiters said they believe the market is candidate-driven, up from 54% in 2011. Recruiters also indicated the second biggest obstacle in hiring is “lengthy hiring practices” of companies. Furthermore, nearly 50% of declined offers were due to candidates accepting another job, up from 37% in early 2015. This isn’t a challenge, it’s an opportunity, but if we want to continue to attract, hire, and retain the best talent, we need to adapt and refine our approach.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re in a buyers’ market, and therefore, I believe there are a few better-practices we can (read: need to!) act on. Candidates are still looking for great places to thrive, so let’s not give them a reason to look beyond the opportunities you have:

  • Process: Don’t lose candidates to sloppiness. Organizations don’t need an overly-sophisticated interview process, but they do need an agreed-upon approach and timeline – Who is on point for scheduling, communicating, and managing the interview process? Who will be conducting interviews? What interview format will each interviewer use? How many stages of interviews? What is the decision-making criteria
  • Momentum: Don’t lose candidates to other priorities. A slow or drawn-out interview process is a great way to lose a candidate to another firm (which has moved faster and more decisively). To keep high-potential candidates excited and connected, offer a cadenced, structured, and intuitive interview experience.
  • Communication: Don’t lose candidates to procrastination. Ensure a 24-hour turnaround on scheduling, interviewing, feedback, and next steps – this is for candidates, but also any recruiter with which you’re partnering.
  • Pull the Trigger: Don’t lose candidates to indecision. When you find the needle in the haystack, be prepared to make the hire – the best talent won’t wait long before exploring other options. We’ve seen some amazing candidates fall through the cracks because clients over-deliberated and second-guessed. When you know, you know.
  • Offers: Don’t lose candidates to a nickel and dime strategy.  If you know the candidate is right, make a fair, or more-than-fair, offer. You never want to start an important working relationship with the awkwardness of a negotiation for marginal dollars.
  • Closing: Don’t lose candidates to the unknowns. The offer conversation is NOT the time to identify potential risks (e.g., counter offers, other opportunities, family situations, travel tolerance, etc.). These need to be addressed during the interview process so there are no late-stage surprises –  the offer and closing should feel more like a champagne toast than a poker game.

When we started this company seven years ago, organizations could get away with a little sloppiness, but today, these are the table stakes. I don’t want to come across as critical or preachy, but the changing landscape is real, so, together, we need to do the basics brilliantly! As always, please let me know if you have any comments or questions… and have a great holiday weekend/week next week!

Many thanks,

Kate Pletcher, CEO of Treehouse Partners

PS – Perhaps it goes without saying, but it’s also important to focus on retention of your “A” Players… if you’ve got a good crew, make sure to respect, empower, and reward them!!!