Now that you have considered what you are looking for, found worthy candidates, and have had several first meetings, it is time to determine who is worth courting. This is an important part of the process as you want to narrow down the pool to a few candidates that you will spend time with over several sessions. This consists of using your talent profile and the information from your first meeting to see who is the best match. Admittedly, this is an art and science, yet if you carefully consider your criteria and not let your emotion about someone get in the way it will be easier. is one of the few areas where I advise people not to trust their gut instinct. If we fall in love on the first date, our view is cloudy and our brain will look for the data to support our point of view either way.

I recommend narrowing the pool to one to three candidates and then taking them through the next steps to determine which one is the best fit.

Principle 3. Build the relationship: courtship

In hiring and recruiting, you will not make an offer or hire someone during your first meeting or interview. What we discovered is that the incubation time for a recruit can be anywhere from three months to five years. Unlike hiring, where you have a job and an amount of money to offer, when you are recruiting commission-based sales people it requires a process and methodology for building the relationship and keeping them engaged. While recruiting can be a lengthy process, the hiring process also requires that you court someone. In the case of hiring, courting means asking questions, conducting due diligence, using behavioral tools, and matching against your talent profile to determine if they are a good fit.

At Talent Attraction Experts, we recommend that you meet with the candidate anywhere from three to five times in different settings. Why? Everyone is on their best behavior on the first date or the first interview: they dress appropriately, use good manners, are charismatic, and will try to make you fall in love with them. When you don’t do this and continue to meet with them, a few things happen. The most important is they become familiar with you. Often when they become familiar with you they let their guard down. When they let their guard down you will begin to see the real person.

We use two signals to help determine if the candidate is a good fit: an action identifier and a red flag checkpoint. An action identifier is a specific activity or request built into the process so that you can observe their behavior. A red flag checkpoint is a point during the process where you look at all data you have gathered and identify any red flags. You might decide to stop the process. For example, by the third appointment are they wearing jeans or telling you inappropriate stories? This would be a red flag. Or do they show up five minutes late? This could be an action identifier.

Just like dating, courting someone requires effort, and in the case of recruiting or hiring it requires a system and tools with checkpoints to be effective.

Principle 4. Get engaged: make an offer they can’t refuse

After building the relationship and taking them through the hiring process, the final step, the offer, can be a minefield. In the case of recruiting, the offer includes commission split and anything else that differentiates you from your competitor. We created, and recommend, a consultative approach to talk about compensation. It is designed to show people how they can make more money in less time because of what you offer. In the hiring process, it is similar. If a candidate is talented they will have multiple offers from competing companies. You need to make sure your offer is attractive and that you have built a relationship so that when you make your offer they accept or are open to negotiation. The TQ process ensures that if you decide to make an offer, the candidate you have selected is the best person for the job and the company. If they are, you want to hire this person and start the working relationship off on a high note.

The TQ system provides a form that helps you outline the terms of the offer. Things to consider are salary, 401k, insurance, time off, company culture, travel, and any bonus opportunities. When you meet with the candidate to make the offer, make sure you are prepared: your goal is to get them to agree to join your company. Remember: making an offer is a sales skill. You don’t have to be a master salesperson to be good at this; you just need to be aware that this is your top candidate and you want them to say yes.

To do this, recap all of the information that you have completed together with the candidate and explain why you think you and your job are the best fit for them. If you have the TQ system, you can use the prescreen form, due diligence rating, behavioral profile, layering form, and passion map to illustrate your key points. Then you will outline the terms of the offer prior to closing the deal.

Whew! You are finally close to taking a big, important step. At this point, you have used your talent profile to meet, court, and get engaged to the person you think is the best candidate for you. Prior to closing the deal, there is one final step to ensure that you start the relationship on the same page. We call this discussing the conditions of performance. Join me in the final article as we learn how to close the deal.

READ PART 3..