3 Negotiation Lessons from President Donald Trump to Improve Your Success Recruiting

*Photo credit to Reuters at Trump-Kim Summit

I still have my original copy of Trump: The Art of the Deal by Donald J. Trump in my home library.  It rests next to the other book I first read when I entered real estate recruiting  right along side Winning through Intimidation: How to Be the Victor, Not the Victim, in Business and in Life by Robert Ringer.   These were then, and are now, books I still buy for friends.  I encourage you to read both to study the strategies and tactics available!

So with the much anticipated and historic Trump-Kim Summit ended, I was curious to see what practical lessons recruiters might be able to use in their personal quest to win the War for Talent and stay out ahead of the competition.

First, let’s put this blog piece into proper perspective.  Most decisions a business makes are small.  A single sale, choice or interaction doesn’t add that much value for a small business owner, or damage it much if it goes wrong.  Hiring an executive is different.  That can make or break an organization.  So, while I’m not implying that recruiting a new executive is on par in any way with the significance and scale of the North Korea Summit, a lot rides on the shoulders of recruiters when hiring the right executives.  

3 Lessons to Improve Recruiting Success

Here are three negotiation lessons I gleaned from watching the North Korea Summit.  I followed it like many, in real-time and I listened closely to the analyst’s, both pro and con, leading up to the world-first event.  I reviewed the political and economic commentary afterwards.  History will judge President Trump on the results which follow.  Today though, here’s what you can use to help craft deals for your company.

Lesson 1: Be Opportunistic

This is the most important.  If you’re waiting around to meet the ideal candidate… you shouldn’t be a recruiter.   

Executive search firms work with industry’s top executives day in and day out. We know who they are. Where they are. What turns their crank! And when the time is right for them and you – we will help you connect so you can hire them and execute.  Your HR group can do much the same thing. 

Dedicate one senior person internally to actively talent scout the best people in your industry.    Know when your competitor’s best people are ripe for a change such as when stock options vest, when new products are late to market, or when there has been a recent change in senior management. Recent or upcoming acquisitions are also prime opportunities.   Or better yet, a few days after your competitor announces a lay-off, call the people you’ve been tracking who are still employed at the target company and offer them the opportunity to work with you. 

No question, the best time to tempt someone is while they’re pondering their future.  You gain the talent and your competitors lose talent at their most vulnerable time.

The first man gets the oyster the second man gets the shell. – Andrew Carnegie 

Lesson 2: Be the First to Walk Away

The person with the least to lose has the best influence over the outcome.

Recruiting and attracting Tier-1 Talent  takes considerably more time and effort than attracting average performers.  Courting executive talent can be so involved and intoxicating you must predetermine a cooling-off period before beginning your hiring process.  Give yourself enough time to get the deal done without the added pressure of time.  This will help you to maintain control of the process if a candidate’s expectations exceed your budget. 

Walking away first will increase your business’s value in the prospective candidate’s mind, allowing you to temper his/her demands and restart the process on your schedule.

Things come to those who wait, but only things left by those who hustle. – Abraham Lincoln

Lesson 3: Psychic Cash Seals Deals

The best candidates will come to an organization not to make more money but because of what the organization stands for and what it’s trying to achieve. It’s personal.

The person that we want wants to be the best, be perceived to be the best and wants to change the business in some way and leave their impression on the world.  Not only what they do, but also where they do what they do, will define a lot of this.  By understanding the intangibles early in the game – things like access to state-of-the-art technology, industry leadership, fast growth, stability and challenge – you are prepared to rise above money.  Simply repackaging your opportunity to address their hot buttons defuses money as the primary issue.  You will not lose to a strong financial counteroffer. 

Make your (truly) best offer first and stick with it – because it’s never about the money!

The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead. The best thing you can do is deal from strength, and leverage is the biggest strength you can have. Leverage is having something the other guy wants. Or better yet, needs. Or best of all, simply can’t do without. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, which is why leverage often requires imagination, and salesmanship. – Donald  Trump, Trump The Art of The Deal

The Final Word

You play a pivotal role in the history of your organization.  Hire an industry 4.0 leader and watch your stars come out of the woodwork and you will end up with more innovation than you know what to do with.  They will unleash a tsunami of innovation, empower employees and generate wealth for the company.  Hire the wrong person and you risk much more than short-term turmoil; a bad hire may, in fact, mortally wound a business.

Retaining top talent is no small feat. Competition for the best and brightest is fierce.  Getting to the table and negotiating are the first steps.  After all the effort and expense of acquiring a top performer, the last thing you or the hiring organization wants is for the new hire to abandon them for another suitor! When it comes down to it, the most important thing the organization can do to keep suitors at bay is to honor all the promises made to the new hire while courting them — even the ones that weren’t documented.

You may never personally have as much at stake as those at the Trump-Kim Summit and you should be grateful.  However that should just encourage you to bring learn from world-class negotiators every chance you get and always bring your a-game to the table. 

There’s a lot more lessons you may glean from watching and re-watching the coverage of the Trump-Kim Summit both before and after the event which will help you negotiate deals.  For more insider knowledge on recruiting and hiring top executives refer to:  Hiring Greatness: How to Recruit Your Dream Team and Crush the Competition now available in Simplified Chinese as well.

So, how do you find someone who isn’t actively looking for work and get them to raise a hand and say, “Here I am!” while simultaneously assessing their fit? Want the answer?  Then download the Inside-Out Approach™ and learn how to turn your recruitment process into an engine for building competitive advantage.

Benefits to headhunters