“Candidate closing starts on the very first call,” says Jeremy Roberts (@ImJeremyR), Talent Sourcing Manager, along with Craig Fisher (@fishdogs), VP at Ajax Social Media and Founder of TalentNet Live. Stage 1: Closing starts on the first call On the very first call, ask the candidate what’s important to him or her that’s not salary, benefits, or location, says Roberts. When they give a vague answer such as “work/life balance,” dig into that. Ask them what work/life balance looks like to them. The goal is to keep asking questions about what’s important to them, and keep digging for specifics until you have nine specific points, says Roberts. You’ll use these items as reference points for later negotiation when you can’t negotiate on salary, benefits, and location. Stage 2: Closing tips pre-interview “You can’t sell the great job unless you know the points of their pain,” says Fisher. “Ask them, ‘What would make you not take this job?’” Stage 3: Closing during the debrief call At this stage you may have a lot of conflicts as to what the job is. The hiring manager may have given you a completely different description of the job than the one you have. And it’s possible the printed job descriptions of the job are completely different from what the hiring manager wants. Circle back to the candidate and ask what’s different about this opportunity since the interview. Work the conversation in a way that they’re selling the job to you, suggests Roberts. Stage 4: The “oops” call This is a carefully orchestrated stage that should always be done, especially if there will be a relocation. The goal of the “oops” call is to “accidentally” reach the candidate’s spouse on the phone and talk to them about the position, says Roberts. The point of playing this stage correctly is to avoid that last-minute “I need to talk to my wife” ploy that can delay the closing indefinitely. It can go in a multitude of different ways. So be prepared. There are two stages within the “oops” call. The first stage is to get the spouse’s contact information up front. One way to do this is to ask who the emergency contact should be if something comes up. The second stage is to call the number looking for the candidate, but “oops” you reached the spouse. Explain why you’re calling and see if the candidate has spoken with the spouse about the opportunity, says Roberts. Are they excited about it or do they have any reservations? Stage 5: Sealing the deal If you’ve been closing at the four previous stages, you should know the answer at this stage. “Sealing the deal should only be signing the contract,” Fisher adds. To avoid a lot of back and forth, throw them an offer and say that you think you might be able to get this. Ask, “Do I have permission to accept on your behalf? There are three other recruiters that have candidates and I’m first in line.” There are no hard and fast rules on how to do this. Ultimatums don’t always work, and they may call your bluff, so you have to use your best judgment based on what you’ve learned up to this stage, says Roberts.