The Art of the Preclose: 3 Insider Tips to Set Yourself Up for Hiring Success

In today’s candidate-driven market, job seekers have many opportunities to choose from and have the ability to be very selective in the job they choose next. If you want your opportunity to stand out and put yourself in the best possible position to make this hire, then you need to adopt a strategy that many skip: the preclose.

The preclose is a technique that lets the candidate know early on that you are considering them while gauging their interest, understanding their priorities and enabling you to quickly identify and address any obstacles that might prevent them from accepting an offer.

The time to start preclosing a candidate is as soon as you believe they’re a viable candidate. Let’s take a look at what this looks like at each stage of the hiring process.

Preclose step #1: The phone interview before the phone interview

It all begins with a phone screen. Recruiters are usually the ones who make this call to tell candidates more about the position and the company and to assess their experience.

Preclosing at this stage takes the form of a few questions. The goal is to identify any roadblocks and address them quickly to allay any concerns the candidate might feel early on. Don’t worry about compensation just yet.

Here are a few common questions to help you get at the candidate’s concerns and truly understand their priorities:

  • Besides compensation, what other factors go into your decision-making process?
  • Does anyone else play a part in your decision to accept a job?
  • What is your top concern or question you need answered before making a decision?
  • How do you rank this opportunity among the others you are considering? Why?

From these questions, you might learn that the candidate is concerned about long commutes or is looking for growth opportunities. You could respond by highlighting work-from-home options or your company’s culture of promoting from within. The great part is that you now have a preview into the psyche of your candidate and the factors that could ultimately influence their decision to accept your offer or not.

From here, let the candidate know that someone from the team they’ll potentially be working with will be calling them shortly for the actual phone interview.

It’s important that you keep the gaps between contact with the candidate short and that you meet the deadlines you set for yourself. As the old adage goes, underpromise and overdeliver.

Preclose step #2: The actual phone interview

This next step is similar to the previous one. The difference is that it’s usually the manager on the team who’s making the call and that they might delve deeper into what the position entails.

They are also moving the preclose process forward. This time, it means asking variations of the same questions that were asked before, as well as reinforcing the way those concerns were addressed.

You are also beginning to ask the candidate questions about compensation, their interest in the scope of the job and diving deeper into the other opportunities they are pursuing in their job search.  

It’s important that the candidate…

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