So, it's true. We've probably talked ad nauseum here on FOT about how you always need to be closing as a recruiter. Always be closing folks! And I've talked about how the length of time it takes for your candidate to accept your job offer is directly tied to how well you, as a recruiter, have done your job. It's nothing but nag, nag, nag that we seem to do. And for that, I'm a little sorry. It's just in our own distorted little minds, we think that we know what we're talking about and that we're always right. But to maybe prove our points and the merit behind our naggging, let's rewind a bit and walk through a theory to help support the idea of "always be closing" and apply Maslow's hierarchy of needs to our work as recruiters.
Now, first off, I'm not an expert on motivation. That's our friend, Paul Hebert. But, I happen to be in the midst of studying for my SPHR exam right now, the test being right around the corner… and that requires me covering a lot of ground on a lot of different topics and knowing a bit of this, and a bit of that, including some motivation theories. So, there was Maslow with his hierarchy of needs, and McGregor with theory X and theory Y, and Herzberg with the two factor motivation/hygiene theory and more. And it all got me thinking, especially that whole Maslow hierarchy of needs, and how those theories translate to recruiters and the push to always be closing.
With Maslow and his little pyramid, the ultimate is self actualization right? It's where you've reached your full potential. Enlightenment and profound harmony are reached. Queue the heavenly music… now. To get there though, all of your basic, low-level needs have to be satisfied. The physiological, the safety, the social, esteem… you know the drill on Maslow. And translating Maslow's pyramid into recruiting terms, I started wondering if the equivalent to self actualization is candidates accepting your job offer. Follow me? But in order to get there, maybe we can make the argument that as a recruiter, you need to meet your candidate's psychological, safety, social and esteem needs. Let's break this down:
Physiological. These are your most basic needs – what's needed for survival, literally. In recruiting terms, think about simply communicating around providing adequate compensation in order for your candidate to live and get by.
Safety: So your comp package will meet their very basic physiological needs. Great. Next up is making sure you convey that the workplace is going to provide consistency, and to a certain degree, predictability. Read: job security and a safe and comfortable work environment. You can probably throw in your offering of health and welfare benefits here too. Insurance = safety.
Social: And we're building! Social boils down to acceptance and a sense of belonging. Everyone wants to have friends. Everyone needs a sense of community. Communicate around the team structure, how new people are integrated and what in the culture makes people feel like they belong.
Esteem: People want to be respected which translates to self-esteem and self-respect. So how do you recognize top performers? And what programs are in place to manage performance? What can your candidate expect if they do a good job?
Self Actualization: Now, remember, to get here, you've gotta meet the physiological, safety, social and esteem needs of your candidate first. Once you've done that – seal the deal and make sure you covered how the work is going to be challenging, and how your organization continually works towards developing staff. Put the cherry on top and get that candidate to accept.
And with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, here you essentially have a checklist of everything to cover with candidates as you're working with them through the selection process. But you need not work through this all at the end as you're actually making the offer – always be closing by making sure you communicate around your organization's offerings that meet their physiological, safety, social, esteem and self actualization needs throughout selection process. Build upon each level and when you pick up the phone to make the actual offer? Make sure you've done the leg work to get them to self actualization… and then, DING! Self actualization = offer accepted. Always be closing, folks. Always be closing. Even Maslow would agree with us on this one.
Jessica Lee is a VP of TA at Marriott International where she leads a team that enables the company to think big, broad and boldly about all things talent acquisition and in effect, keeps them relevant and ahead of the curve in how they attract and acquire top talent. Don’t be fooled by that fancy pants title and description though, she’s still an everyday HR gal in the trenches at the core. SPHR certified, a decade and a half into trench HR life… she can whip up a corrective action plan or source for your purple squirrel in a heartbeat.