Want the best talent? Master the little things.

It's the little things.

The hiring and recruitment of A-players is won in the margins.

It's a slight edge game - if an A-player has competing offers, companies similarly aligned, the A-player is going to choose the opportunity where they feel they have the most chance for success, the most upward growth, and the best chance of attaining their personal goals.

As a hiring leader, how do you ensure you position yourself and your company above the others? How do you give yourself that slight edge?

It's the little things.

Make sure the red carpet is rolled out for each prospective "guest" you have in to interview. 

Make it your personal mission to make sure the Security Guard, the Front Desk Receptionist, and any other first contact is aware your guest is coming, they're offered a welcome, a smile, and immediate attention.

If this doesn't happen, make a stink about it. Seriously.

Over schedule the interview - give more time than is needed. 

If you need 30 minutes, schedule the conference room for 45 minutes. Get there early. Linger afterwards.

There's nothing more annoying than peering eyes into a conference room from the next person in line to use the room.

Lingering afterwards with the candidate also takes an edge off of the "official" interview - interviews are won and lost during the moments where the candidate and hiring manager let their guard down and get "real".

Create these "unplanned" moments by giving yourself enough time.


Make interviewing your "guest" the priority in your day, not an interruption. Communicate this message to your entire team.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Each person on the interview team should have access to the candidate's background at least 24 hours in advance.

The hiring manager should orchestrate, with the help of HR if necessary, the lines of questioning that comes from each person on the interview team.

Take ownership of the cross-functional dynamics(Plant Ops to Quality - Quality to R&D - R&D to Strategic Sourcing) and tailor questions that address how this person thinks, acts and collaborates with the different partners.

Own the follow-up.

Schedule in time in advance for after the interview with each person on the hiring team. Get their feedback as quickly as possible. Have debrief questions prepared in advance. Be thorough(ask open-ended questions, drill down on ambiguous feedback, fight for tangible examples in the interview that led to their feedback).

Say thank you, be transparent and close the loop.

Don't leave the goodbye to HR or Talent Acquisition. Follow up after the interview yourself and say thank you for coming in. If the candidate isn't selected, pick up the phone and/or send a personalized email thanking them for their time.

The words you use are less important than the action.

Take ownership of the entire candidate experience.

The candidate experience starts with the application or their first contact with company. It ends with a rejection letter or their first day of work. Own the entire process from start to finish - micro-manage if necessary all the players involved in the process.

You're hosting the party for the guest. It's your party, your home...you're the one responsible for making the "event" go off without a hitch. You want to win the A-Players?

It's the little things.

Bob Pudlock is the President of Gulf Stream Search, an executive search firm that specializes in the placement of top professionals in the Food, Beverage, Ingredient and Flavor industries throughout the US.