When hiring, try to scare the best candidates away

Bruce Tulgan
September 03, 2021

Bruce Tulgan

Founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc. and Top Expert on Leadership Development and Generational Issues in the Workplace
Hire Teamwork Future of Work Culture/Work Environment Leadership

When hiring in a highly competitive environment, it is critical to try to scare the best candidates away.

Yes, you read that right. Let me explain why.

The biggest mistake hiring managers make, particularly when hiring in the midst of a talent shortage, is continuing the 'attraction campaign' until the candidate has accepted the job, and sometimes until the new employee is already at work. They are so desperate to get someone in the door, they make promises they cannot keep or hide the downsides of a job. We call this 'selling candidates all the way in the door.'

Do not overpromise in the attraction process. That leads right to the number one cause of early voluntary departures for newly hired employees--buyer's remorse.

It is better to leave a position unfilled than to fill it with the wrong person.

There is only one shortcut

There is only one real shortcut in selection. We recommend taking it early in the process: once you know you have somebody who really wants the job, try to scare that candidate away.

Spell out all the downsides of the job, in clear and honest terms:

  • Are there difficult people?
  • Tough conditions?
  • Is it dirty, scary, or uncomfortable?
  • Is it frustrating?
  • Hard to get things done sometimes?
  • Is heavy lifting required (either literally or metaphorically)?
  • Does it get boring?
  • Is the excitement too much?

Once you've tried to scare them away, then see which candidates still want the job. Those who remain are the ones least likely to leave due to buyer's remorse.


This appeared first on Rainmaker Thinking.

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