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Talent Talk: Ready to Hire a Top Performer? Here’s How to Close the Deal

You probably have heard about the “war for talent,” but when you're trying to close a deal with an industry rock star, the competition is better compared to a race, and the race always goes to the swiftest.

This is the final part of our discussion on how to find and attract only the best talent available to your company. We started with why that is important, developing a job scorecard, identifying your target talent pool, and how to present the opportunity to those potential candidates.

You probably have heard about the “war for talent” many times. I am not a big fan of that phrase because it is not very accurate. When trying to close a deal with an industry rock star, the competition is better compared to a race, and the race always goes to the swiftest.

When you find the person you want to join your team, be prepared to move quickly. A strange phenomenon occurs when top performers decide to consider a new opportunity — they realize that if they are going to look at making a move (like to your company), they should consider all their options. This is an unintended consequence, but you are now in a competition.

By the way, if you are asking, “Didn’t we skip the interviewing process?”, you are correct. That is such a vast subject, and I did not want to go down that rabbit hole for now, so we can stay focused on where your company can get some quick and real improvements. But during the interview process you should have discovered many things that will become invaluable to closing the deal. The two most important are motivation and compensation, in that order.

If the interview process did not reveal a primary motivator for the candidate to join your organization, other than money, do not make them an offer. They are not the right candidate, and there is a 50/50 chance you lose them to another offer or a counter-offer anyway.

You should also have learned in the interview process what compensation your candidate will require in making the move. When motivation and compensation are aligned, the close will be easy. If either is off just a bit, the close will be messy, or fall apart altogether. Keeping a “deal sweetener” in your pocket was common in the Mad Men era but does not work as well today. My advice is to make one offer and make it the best you can. Remember, the A-players are the only ones making your company money.

Paul SturgeonAbout the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at

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