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CW 131: Chris Heinz

In this episode from recruiting expert Chris Heinz, learn about 10 tips that will help secure the candidate you want to hire!

During our Mindset Moment, BTG Contributor Chris Heinz, Managing Partner of Westport One, discusses the concept of the journey vs the destination.  Make sure to stay to the end!

Welcome to Bridge the Gap Contributor Wednesday. I’m Chris Heinz. You probably have openings, right? Lots of openings or perhaps you only have a couple really important ones, but the importance of the couple or the lots is exactly the same. If you are in a position where you are involved in the interviewing and hiring process in any way, then boy do I have some tips for you. Here’s the reality, folks, whether you have 50 openings or just two, it does not matter unless you can find the right candidates to fill ’em. Every single one of them are important. Today and today only or any day you happen to be listening to this podcast, really. I’d like to suggest 10 tips to not only find the candidates you need, but to provide some guidance as to how to get them on your team. Let’s get rolling.


Tip number one, practice the theory of threes. The ideal situation is to have three candidates interviewing for every opening. This does a variety of things for you. First, you will provide your team with an actual choice, because remember, a choice of one is not a choice, it’s a decision. Secondly, you will have candidate options in the event that one of the candidates that you really like happens to accept another position, it happens in the market we’re in. And then finally, you won’t have to worry about your leadership team saying, “Don’t I have anybody to compare them to?” So these are just a few of the benefits of working towards that utopian goal of having at least three candidates on every opening. Now, please remember that this is the ideal situation, that utopia situation where you have really set yourself up. But the reality is, and the reality that most of us live in, in many circumstances, it is incredibly challenging to find even one candidate that is qualified and interested in the position. So you have to play the card you’re dealt, but don’t let that stand in the way of finding the right candidate. Another way of saying that is don’t let great stand in the way of good. Always strive for three.


Tip number two, make sure your chosen candidate is committed. It is one thing for a candidate to show up to an interview. It is an entirely different thing for them to be committed to your process and the opportunity that you’ve brought to the table. Ask the right questions to fully understand that if an offer would be presented, what would they do? Do they respond with, “Well, I’d have to think about it,” or “I might need a couple of weeks to compare it to the other opportunities I’m entertaining. It’d be foolish of me not to.” Now of course, you are hoping that they’re going to say, “I’ll take it!” before you even finish the words, but you should never just assume that that’s going to be the case. Just because they’re staying in your interview process, ask the question and confirm their commitment. 


Tip number three, gain upfront commitments. This is different than ensuring that the candidate is committed. When I discuss upfront commitments, this is both with those responsible for making the hiring decision as well as the candidates. From your team’s side, it is imperative to confirm that they will make the time to review resumes, provide feedback, set aside time to interview, provide feedback again, and make a decision. We discussed this in depth last month, so if you haven’t listened to that episode, I recommend going back and listening to it. From the candidate’s perspective, make sure that they’re able to interview in a semi reasonable time of day, that they will provide their feedback on their interview, that they won’t be coy in that feedback. In other words, that they’ll be honest and that they can make the decision of a yes or a no should an offer be presented. You see how that’s different than simply making sure that they’re committed? Upfront commitments and making sure they’re committed are number two and number three.


Tip number four, co-create the interviewing plan. Work diligently to co-create that interviewing plan with the main hiring manager because once it is mutually agreed to, you’ll want to ensure that everyone involved in the interviewing process understands that plan. Without this critical step, you run the risk of alternative ideas on how the process will and should flow. You don’t want alternative ideas here. You wanna make sure that everyone has a one mind success pattern.


Tip number five, discuss the counter offer. Now, if you’re an outside recruiter like myself, you are familiar with discussing the counter offer with candidates to ensure that they understand the risks and the limited benefits have accepted one. But this is not a discussion just for those in recruiting, like myself. This is for everyone involved in hiring. This is a discussion that everyone should be involved in, including HR as well as the hiring managers. One of the worst things that could happen is you finally find the one and you believe that you have your position filled only for the candidate to accept a counter offer, and they leave you hanging out to dry. Now, when should you discuss the counter offer? Here’s the simple answer, early and often.


Tip number six, recognize that breaking up is hard to do. Think about the last time you changed a job. Unless you just hated it there, it was a very difficult decision, right? In fact, it’s one of the more difficult and emotional decisions you’ll ever make in your life. Make sure you let the candidate know that you understand that this is a difficult decision. Share with them how you were welcomed into the company, how you made friends, and how you’ve grown as a professional with the company. Of course, if you are the outsider recruiter, then make sure the hiring manager explains this as well. By doing so, you will help to alleviate some of those natural concerns. 


Tip number seven, involve the significant other. A decision as big as accepting a new position is rarely made by one person. Sometimes they will talk with a mentor or a friend, but every time they will talk to their significant other, whether that be their actual spouse, somebody that they’re dating in a relationship with or someone, or they’re simply living in the same place. Since you know this, why aren’t we involving them in the process? If you are dealing with their relocation, then this should be an automatic part of the process. That way you can answer any questions that they have and you’ll have the ability to sell them on the opportunity because they are part of that decision. If they are in the local market, still strongly recommend that you include the significant other and at least one of the meetings in advance of them accepting, you’ll be amazed how well that will solidify the reality that they’ll accept the job. 


Tip number eight, ask all of the questions, not some of the questions, but all of the questions. The questions you ask are important. The questions you don’t ask are usually the ones that will haunt you in the process, so don’t make that mistake. Ask all of the questions so that you are systematic in your approach. This holds true when you are on an intake call, getting the information about the candidate, you might call that preliminary interview, as well as throughout the interviewing process. Don’t let one of those questions you should have asked not be and that be the reason why you lose your candidate. This especially holds true as the interview process is coming near and end. Many times the questions that they ask become critical elements to closing the candidate and ensuring that they’re going to not only accept the job, withstand a counter offer, but show up for work on their first day. 


Tip number nine, the presentation of the offer counts greatly. Now, for the love of all Cardinals baseball fans, yes, you should know that I am very serious if I am putting the Cardinals, that being the St. Louis Cardinals into this. Please do not just send an offer letter in via email to your candidate. That is not a presentation, folks. Actually present the offer to them directly so that they can hear your excitement for them to join the team, and so that you are able to answer any possible questions they may have. Also, make sure that they understand that the offer being presented is the last and best offer that can be made. This means that you need to come to the table with actually the best offer that can be made. If you are trying to see if you can get them for a little bit less, so that they might accept it to save a couple dollars, the reality is you are setting yourself up for either a turndown or a less than ecstatic  new hire, or worse, an actual hire that leaves far too quickly. You don’t want any of those three, right? So make the best offer up front. 


Tip number 10, celebrate with them. When they’ve accepted the offer, make sure they know how excited you are. Make sure that everybody involved sends them a congratulatory text or email. It is especially important that their direct hiring manager, that they’ll be reporting to, reaches out to them and welcomes them to the team. During the transition period between their resignation and their start date, I suggest that you send them a welcome package, include some company gear, whether it be a cup or some other item from the company. Now you can even go the extra mile and send something specifically to their significant other, whether it be an edible arrangement, a plant, flowers, something of a company gear that’s directly tailored to them, but that is a really special gift to that the spouse or significant other receives. So there you have it, folks. 10 tips in how to ensure that you can not only find your candidate, but also get your candidate to show up to work. 


It is now time for my mindset moment. Have you heard the saying, “It isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Well, I am a big believer in the journey of life. Purely from a perspective of life, the destination would be the end of life, right? So the journey about the living is much more important than the destination. Our journey includes everything we do, whether it be professionally or personally, because the reality is on this journey, there really is no separation between the two. It’s simply called life. But let me ask you, or even better, let me challenge you. How much of the journey you are currently on has been planned, or how much simply has happened? If you know where you want to go, you have to be much better at planning to ensure you end up there. There’s a significantly better chance that you actually get to where you want to be if you plan it. This takes thought and effort to plan for the best journey in life. What are you wanting to accomplish? How are you going to achieve it? How hard is it going to be? How can you make it fun? Regardless how difficult it might be? At the end of your time on this earth, you won’t be remembered for the things you’ve accumulated or the amount of money you’ve earned. You’ll be remembered for the impact that you’ve had on others. That is a journey trail that I want to travel on. Take it personal for just a moment. Just a couple of days before I recorded this interview, unfortunately, I lost my mom. She lived a very, very full life, and she had an incredible journey. She had taken so many chances in life. She had started a business as a single mom that supported our family throughout our time living in Hawaii. She taught me a lot about living your life to the fullest and enjoying yourself along the way. It was a little ironic because I’d already planned for this to be my mindset moment about talking about the journey of life when I have to think about the end of life for my mom, but I’m happy with the reality that she lived such a wonderful life, and that’s because of the journey she went on.


I hope that you all have an incredible journey in life as well. Another way to think about this journey versus destination is from the poem The Dash by Linda Ellis. Just in case you haven’t read it, I wanna share it with you now that will bring this message home. 

“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. 

He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning to the end. 

He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke the following dates with tears. 

But he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth,

and now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.

What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard,

are there things you’d like to change? 

For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real,

and always understand the other way people feel.

Be less quick to anger and show appreciation more, 

and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect and more often, wear a smile,

Remembering this special dash might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash,

would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?”

I hope that you got at least one thing from our discussion on the top 10 tips to get your candidate, as well as from this mindset moment. I bet you did not think you were gonna get some poetry being dropped on you. Of course, if you have any questions, thoughts, complaints, or even conundrums on these points, please message me on LinkedIn. Stay tuned for our next month and the final chapter on our recruiting and mindset adventures. Again, this is Chris Heinz and thanks for listening to this week’s BTG Contributor Wednesday. Please make sure to connect with

Thanks for listening to the contributor Wednesday series on the Bridge the Gap Network, sponsored by Peak Senior Living by Functional Pathways. For a full library of episodes, visit

CW 131: Chris Heinz