10 Commandments of Convincing Top Candidates to Work For You

It’s a candidate’s market out there, which is creating some serious competition…but a much different type of competition than we’re used to. Rather than multiple candidates vying for positions because of limited availability, there’s a surplus of positions opening up and not enough candidates to fill them. This points to a rising level of power and choice on the side of the candidate. So, if your organization wants to win the war over exceptional talent, you’ll need to attract job seekers with something more than just a fat paycheck. This is why we’ve compiled a list of 10 commandments to convince top candidates to work for you.

1.) You shall provide a great interview process

The interview process is the biggest determinant on if someone wants to work for your company. This is the time where candidates get a sense for your culture and if your company aligns with their needs and goals. It’s essential to remember that interviews are a two-way street! 

Some companies just have interviewers ask whatever questions come to mind. Furthermore, many interviewers haven’t taken the time to even glance at a candidate’s resume prior to their conversation nor are they aware of any discussions that may have occurred previously. When a company doesn’t have a structured interview process in place, a candidate can feel that hiring managers aren’t invested in the process, and this is a huge turn off. Following an interview checklist provides a positive candidate experience and is just one way to get candidates to say “yes” to you over other roles. 

2.) You shall sell candidates on your company

An interview is a two-way conversation. Not only will you be asking the candidate questions about their experience, skills, and goals, but they should also be curious to know more about your company and where you’re heading. Building an employer brand is pivotal, so give them reasons why they should want to work for you and tell them why you stand out. Bring a personal element into the process by telling them why you joined the company and what makes you happy in your role. Here’s a few ideas that might motivate a prospective employee: 

  • Does your company offer remote work options or training and mentorship programs?
  • Did you recently have a teambuilding or volunteer event? Use videos and images to let them peek behind the scenes. 
  • Convey your core values. Make sure the candidate knows you’re continually working towards your goals and values. 
  • Has your company recently been featured in a publication or podcast episode? It never hurts to show that people are interested in your company!

3.) You shall make them an offer they can’t refuse

Many companies do what they can to get great candidates hired at the lowest market rate possible. How about considering offering them what they asked for instead of trying to negotiate them down? In fact, if they’re a very desirable candidate, offer them a higher salary than requested or throw in some extra perks. A performance-based bonus or extra PTO will cost you relatively nothing compared to what you can gain by having someone great on your team. However, keep in mind, it’s not only about the money, but offering perks that others won’t, such as flexibility and training. 

4.) Remember to give them a future, not just a “job”

Sure, some candidates are just looking for the next step in their career path and have no plans to stay in one place forever. But others, especially those that are ambitious, are looking for a company they can grow with. Show them the potential for growth within your team, and you’ll be more likely to get those who want to stay with you long-term and will do whatever it takes to be successful in their role. 

5.) Honor each candidate and treat them like gold

Clear, friendly communication throughout the recruitment process is key. Prompt feedback after interviews is a simple way to make a good impression. Timing is also important. As we’ve mentioned, quality people are in demand, so moving things along quickly will ensure that you don’t lose great people. Dragging out the interview process or delaying an offer can lose you the best candidates. 

6.) You shall not make unrealistic promises

No one likes to hear a total sales pitch when considering taking a job. Give the candidate an accurate picture of your organization and the role. 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 (red flag alert!). 

7.) You shall answer every question - even the tough ones

Candidates are bound to ask questions that are difficult to answer, like your organization’s turnover rate, the person who previously held the role, or how you handle reviews and promotions. You should be able to answer questions without hesitation or else it might look like you’re trying to hide something. If you truly don’t know the answer, don’t make something up, and instead get back to them in the next interview or during the follow-up process. 

8.) You shall own up to the challenges

Whether you’re one of the Best Places to Work or a five-member startup, every workplace has its unique opportunities and challenges. You of course want to entice candidates with what’s great about your company, but you also need to own up to the challenges. Not only will this type of transparency help a candidate make a decision, but being honest and vulnerable will reflect well on your organization. Here’s a few things you can say to show candidates you understand where they’re coming from: 

  • “Working here can be intense, but here’s what our associates have accomplished in the past…”
  • “We aren’t paying what Google pays, but here’s why our employees think it’s worth it…” 
  • “Working for a startup has its challenges, but here’s where I expect you can quickly make an impact…” 

9.) You shall share why they are the right candidate

Once you’ve decided to make an offer, explain why you’re excited to hire them, including specifics on how they stood out amongst the pool of candidates. Note what the entire hiring team thought as well. This will in turn get them excited about accepting the offer, and if you feel like you need to entice them a bit more, here’s a few ideas: 

  • Have organizational leaders call or email the candidate to share that they have heard great things and hope they decide to join the team
  • Send a handwritten note with a few pieces of company swag 
  • Have any direct reports on the team reach out via email with an offer to chat if the candidate has any additional questions 
  • If you checked references, reach out to them to let them know you made an offer and to pass on your congratulations to the candidate

10.) You shall give them time to consider your offer

Don’t expect to receive a response in one day. Any candidate will start to feel annoyed if they’re rushed. You need to give them plenty of time to think and come up with what they think is best for their career. The best practice here is a week’s time frame. Follow up when you agree you will and keep the conversation warm, but not smothering. At the same time, if you wait too long, the candidate might think you’ve lost interest in them. 

Bring the best people into your organization 

Unfortunately, you can’t force someone into accepting a job offer, no matter how great your company or your opportunity may be. However, you can increase the chances that your job offer will be accepted by making sure to pay attention to certain things throughout the recruitment process. These 10 commandments center around providing prospective employees with an exceptional candidate experience. In fact, our customers are seeing a 33% increase in candidate acceptance rates through their use of Pillar’s interview intelligence and interviewer coaching platforms. See how Pillar speeds up hiring, turns your team into “pro” interviewers, and removes bias from the interview process by scheduling a demo at

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