By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

It’s hard enough to get to interview good talent in the valuation world these days.  Getting to the finish line means avoiding the pitfalls that are all too common in the hiring process.

Be sensitive to how you’re being perceived by the candidate.  The analogy with the dating process isn’t a stretch.  And, because you never know when you’re going to encounter the one you want, you must be attentive to all candidates.  This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time with anyone you know you aren’t going to pursue.  It does mean that you should extend professional courtesies of regular communication.  You know how much you appreciate it when your client keeps you posted about delays in the engagement he says he wants you to take on.  The same is true for the candidate who appreciates knowing what’s happening with your decision-making process.   Something as simple as a “Mr. Smith wanted me to let you know that our interviewing of candidates is continuing and that we’ll let you know of our decision” call from your admin assistant can win a lot of points.

Give your candidate every opportunity to ask questions and investigate the opportunity, thoroughly.  One of the smartest things you can do is to schedule time for the candidate to meet and talk with would-be peers.  Not only does the candidate get a fuller picture of your practice, you get the additional feedback from your employees.  If their feedback is particularly strong, you might even want to involve them in wooing the candidate.  If you don’t already have an easy-to-understand summary of employee benefits, create one.  Give it to every candidate who comes back for a second interview.  The last thing you want is for you to be focusing on the compensation part of the offer, only to hear the candidate ask a question about the health insurance.  Too many employers conclude that they want to hire the candidate, and try to jump to the offer stage without making sure the candidate is there, too.

Include a firm deadline for a response to your offer.  If you’ve ever worked with a client who wanted to buy or sell a business, you’ve probably heard the saying that “time kills all deals”.  That’s just as true when it comes to hiring.  Insisting on a deadline is really not a problem if you make sure you’ve done your homework in asking about – and then answering – your candidate’s questions.  When you’re ready to make the offer, invite the candidate in to deliver it face-to-face.  Tell him exactly why he’s coming in.  It heightens the anticipation and gives you an opportunity to observe his reaction.  Explain that, before you actually make the offer, you want the candidate’s commitment to a response by X date and time.  Make no offer without that commitment.  If your candidate won’t give it to you, it’s a sign that there are unanswered questions or – worse yet – the candidate is angling for your offer in order to weigh it against another.  Either way, you have little to win and a lot to lose by making the offer, anyway.

Hiring can be a pain-in-the-you-know-what.  Given the dearth of good talent, it may seem like you have no way to control the interviewing and hiring process.  That is simply not so.  By watching out for these, and other, pitfalls, you can give yourself advantages that can help you win the race for the top talent.

John Borrowman