Rachel knew what she was getting into when she first met Nick, a senior software engineer. His skills were in great demand, and now that he was back on the job market, he was certain to draw lots of attention.
Rachel’s company was the first to pounce: It took exactly one interview for them to fall head over heels for Nick. But as Rachel predicted, Nick’s talents had not gone unnoticed; and what started as a cozy twosome soon morphed into a frenzy of additional suitors.
With a multiple offer situation looming, Rachel drew up a plan. Then she called Nick.
"How many different jobs are you considering?" she asked.
"Aside from yours," he said, "there are two others."
"And have you completed the first round of interviews?" asked Rachel.
"And given what you know, how would you rank the companies, based on your level of interest?"
"I would rank your company as a solid number two," said Nick. He then went on to describe some of the differences between the jobs and companies.
"I see," said Rachel, filing away the candidate's impressions in case she needed them later. "Let me ask you something. Where is 'company number one' in their interviewing process? In other words, are they ready to move forward with a strong offer within the next two or three days? And if so, are you in a position to accept their offer and start in two weeks?"
"I can start in two weeks, but I don't know where they stand," said Nick. "Can I find out and let you know?"
"Sure," said Rachel. "But tell me this: If it turns out they need a few more weeks to complete their selection process and my company makes you an acceptable offer in the next 48 hours, would you be happy with a bird in the hand?"
"Yes," said Nick. "I like your company a lot, and I don't want to risk a sure thing for something that may not materialize."
"All right," said Rachel. "Let me get to work. But first, I'll need to talk to a couple of your professional references to verify your background and your college registrar to confirm your educational credentials."
Nick paused. "Is that really necessary?" he asked.
"Yes; it's called due diligence," said Rachel. "As a responsible recruiter, I need to protect my company from making an offer to someone who isn't exactly as he seems. If you catch my drift."
"No problem," said Nick. "I'll email you the information. And I'll call as soon as I hear from the other company."
Rachel felt a mixture of relief and accomplishment. Not only had the ranking question been useful in assessing her situation, she had qualified the candidate by asking for references. Had he not been sincere in his interest—or worse, had something to hide—he would have found an excuse for withholding his reference information.
Later that day, Rachel received a call from Nick. It seems "company number one" had several other candidates in the loop, and didn't want to move forward until their pipeline had been exhausted.
Sensing a placement, Rachel quickly got her ducks in a row, and within a couple of days, her company's offer to Nick had been extended and accepted.
Rachel's plan had worked like a charm. By acting proactively, she had steered clear of a minefield of confusion, and increased her odds of a successful outcome. Although she was prepared to "sell" her job in comparison to the others, in this particular circumstance, it wasn't even necessary.
Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and Splits.org. The Radin Report is published monthly.