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I am a big fan of shortcuts and time savers. Working smart and not hard is the smartest thing I think I can do with my time. I'll try to find the quickest path to my goal & I encourage those around me to as well.

In hiring, there are definitely things you can do to speed up the process and make sure you are only moving towards your goal – hiring the right person! Whether it is reviewing resumes in 10 seconds or tweaking your interview process, you need some shortcuts to help you get the work done.

Today, I want to introduce you to one of my favorite time savers. This is something that you might already do (and if you do congrats!). If you’re not, you might feel a little silly it has taken you this long – just like I did when I worked it out. It's actually super easy and once you know it, you will save a ton of time when hiring or recruiting.

Introducing Deal Breakers

If you work in sales, you already know about deal breakers. They are anything on either side of the table that is going to make the deal die. Deal breakers are always a two-way street – either party could have something throw a wrench in the works.

Hiring and recruiting are no different. The company and the prospective employee both have things they need and things that are undesirable. By focusing on your company's deal breakers & what leads candidates to decline, you're getting deep into job design.

Hiring Company Deal Breakers

Some of your deal breakers as the hiring company might be: having a degree, professional licenses or certificates, commute distance, specific product, niche or channel experience or even experience with your software. I don't think a degree should be a deal breaker for most companies and roles, but that is for another day.

The above are pretty normal deal breakers, but they share one common idea. Each is key to a candidate being successful in the job.

So as you start your hiring process, part of a good plan is to knock out a deal breakers list. I would also recommend you come up with ‘need to have', ‘nice to have' and ‘a purple squirrel would have' lists.

Knowing in advance what would throw someone out of the running will save you time and energy and probably money.

Candidate Deal Breakers

For candidates, there’s a different set of deal breakers. It might be the work schedule (nights, weekends, etc.) doesn't fit within their lifestyle. It could be the location of your office, the amount of travel, your pay and bonus structure or a limited or non-existent benefits package.

I'd suggest you spend some time coming up with a list of what might prevent a candidate from working for you. The best place to start is with why people have declined an offer before. Whatever feedback you get from candidates saying no should be at the top of the list. Next, add in what people have struggled with or why they have left the role. Anything you know you need to talk through or overcome needs to be on the list.

How To Deal With Candidate Deal Breakers

If you know your benefits package or compensation are on the less-than-impressive end of the spectrum, it is best to deal with them head-on. First, try to fix it if possible. Some benefits are better than none and if you can't bump up the pay, think about other incentives you could offer.

Next, figure out if there are any upsides to the deal breakers that you can highlight. So, put a positive spin on it. Maybe you don't offer health insurance, but you pay a monthly stipend towards it and offer different sessions from insurance companies to help employees make a decision. Maybe you are on the low end of pay, but you offer profit sharing and a big 401k match. You get the picture, just make sure you can try to sell through any of your downsides.

When & How To Cover Deal Breakers

Deal breakers should be discussed as soon as possible. If you handle them sooner in your hiring process, you won't waste anyone's time. Nothing gets a candidate ticked off more than sitting through 3 interviews only to find out you pay $20,000 less than they can accept or that you require a certain license they don't have.

If you automate your hiring process, you could have some of the deal breakers be part of your application. Just add in a few questions at the time they submit a resume detailing the biggest ones.

Otherwise, I would handle them either when you call to set up an interview or right at the beginning of the interview itself.

I usually just say something like “There are a few things I want to cover that have been deal breakers for candidates in the past.” Or “I have a few items I want to talk about right away to make sure we are on the same page and you are still interested.” Then cover your items.

With these out of the way, you can proceed to a phone interview with interested candidates. Try to limit your list of deal breakers to a handful of items – 5 at the most. Don't trot out an endless procession, since this makes your company or the role sound unappealing. What are the three things which might make a candidate decline a job offer? These are what you need to talk about.

Once you weed out the people these are deal breakers for, you’ll be talking to candidates who are closer to saying yes if you make them an offer.

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Rikka’s articles appear in trade magazines like LBM Journal, ProSales, Remodeling, and more.



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