After weeks of interviews, you’ve found the perfect candidate. Phew.
But don’t assume the person will automatically accept your offer. He or she might be juggling a number of offers—or may even be tempted to stay in a current role.
How can you ensure your top candidate becomes your new employee? Harvey Deutschendorf, an emotional intelligence author and speaker, recently identified five red flags that could send candidates running. Here’s how to avoid those pitfalls and secure your candidate’s acceptance.
1. Don’t make unrealistic promises
Job applicants have B.S. detectors. If you promise them benefits and career trajectories that aren’t in the range of what your organization can actually offer, they’re bound to notice.
“It’s one thing for a prospective employer to detail the type of career growth they foresee being associated with a position… but it’s another for that description to sound a little too good to be true,” Harvey Deutschendorf writes for Fast Company.
Be prepared to answer questions about how many employees have actually reached the level of success you’re promising—chances are, candidates will want to confirm that your promises are practical.
Don’t go overboard with enthusiasm, either—your candidate will take note if you act like they’re the “best thing that ever happened to [the] organization,” Deutschendorf says.
2. Explain how the position aligns with your candidate’s personal goals
Your candidates are going to be thinking long and hard about whether a role at your organization will move them closer to their long-term goals.
You probably asked them about those goals during the interview. Take advantage of what you learned about them to point out how your organization can help them meet those goals.
3. Be aware of your organization’s reputation
Though you can’t always go back and retroactively fix your reputation, you can be upfront with your candidate about any recent issues.
Be prepared to answer questions about who your organization has dealt with, and which trade associations the campus community belongs to. You should be able to provide concrete examples of how your organization supports its local community.
4. Stay professional every step of the process
If you’re late for the interview, or if other people unexpectedly join the interview at the last minute, you should be able to provide a professional reason to your candidate.
Deutschendorf says that personal questions that shouldn’t be part of an interview can come across as red flags, as can emails, calls, or text messages sent after working hours.
Finally, if you’re going to contact someone from your candidate’s former workplace, be sure to ask first.
5. Answer every question—even the tough ones
Your interviewee may ask questions that are difficult to answer, like your organization’s turnover rate, the person who previously held the role, or how you determine promotions.
You should be able to answer questions without hesitation—according to Deutschendorf, an overly long pause might indicate that you’re trying to hide something (Deutschendorf, Fast Company, 2/8).