Should You Guarantee Your Candidate? Nothing Is For Sure These Days

In the external recruiting world, there is typically a guarantee period for any hired candidate.

Companies do this to help mitigate the chances of a bad hire and a wasted investment of resources, time, and money!

It is tricky being the one guaranteeing services. I have never heard a Minister pronounce at a wedding ceremony that the vows taken will absolutely be guaranteed for any period, (especially in Vegas).

Here are 3 examples of some rather tragic and not so tragic real situations that were nearly impossible to anticipate and not the result of any poor recruiting or internal HR processing:

(All examples are real Rowbottom Partner experiences)

  1. The candidate committed suicide the weekend before they were supposed to start with our client
  2. The candidate inherited 6 million dollars and retired
  3. The candidate’s only parent alive was killed in a DUI vehicular homicide, insurance settled a huge claim and the candidate was the sole heir to the complete estate and insurance

Short of asking unethical questions like: Are you feeling suicidal these days? Do you stand to inherit a boatload of money any time soon that may cause you to quit?

Both parties are exposed to risks here, besides, candidates do not want to take a new position, only to find they should have asked additional questions or been more diligent in knowing what they were getting into.  Short stints at companies will raise flags for future potential employers.

When clients and candidates are really in a critical hiring position: Candidate has been unemployed for 6 months and the company’s opening has been available just as long – desperation can set in. Clearly, in these situations, it may be necessary to modify your expectations of what you want and what is actually available. As a result of the criticality of the moment, bad decisions may result.

Tough questions should be asked on both sides.

  • How long has your position been open and what has been the biggest challenge in finding a qualified candidate?
  • Have you offered anyone the position?

These past questions candidates should be ready to ask in a way that keeps the company from being defensive or feeling uncomfortable.

Companies reversely should inquire with any long-term unemployed individuals as to what their challenges have been.

  • Why do you think you have been unable to land a position sooner and have you had any offers?
  • Try to get personal without being unethical or asking illegal questions.

You may find it uncomfortable to ask some of these probing questions and need to find the appropriate window of opportunity to approach these subjects. If the person being questioned is reluctant or reticent, this should be considered a red flag. Open and honest communication is absolutely required when trying to make critical and career-affecting decisions for both parties.

Guaranteeing people is not a problem if you as an internal or external recruiter ask the tough questions, check your candidate’s references and follow up with a background check if appropriate. Tell your prospective candidate as much as possible about the role and culture. Sniff out issues and squash questionable deals to avoid bad hires.  Candidates will be in a better position to ask these fair questions once they feel there is a high level of interest in possibly getting an offer or after an offer has been presented.

When both parties engage in frank conversations regarding their situation, bad hires are less likely and the top echelon of recruiters are not afraid to do this and should be willing to “Kill the Deal”. (See the article I wrote: The Life of a Placement – Killing the Deal.)

There are many ways you can mitigate the risk of a bad decision – That’s one thing I can guarantee!

Written by: Mark Rowbottom, President of Recruiters of Wisconsin