Recruiting 101: Knowing Your Candidates

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listeningWhen I first started in this business, candidates were the product…and they were treated like it.  I was taught to know my candidate inside and out; their likes, dislikes, family situation, interests and most importantly, their career goals.  Over the last decade, it’s safe to say that the Candidate First model has gone by the wayside, at least in the big shops. And while that certainly affects our candidates and how they feel about Recruiters, another unintended side effect has popped: losing deals.

Recently I received a great candidate from one of my best Recruiters.  The position required significant travel with extended trips abroad. “Does he have kids?” I innocently asked my Recruiter.  “I don’t know.” He answered.  I. Don’t. Know. Worst answer ever.  I liked the candidate’s resume so I gave him a call and we chatted. I got to know him. He did in fact have kids, but they were college age and he had traveled before and was comfortable with it.  So was his wife.  We were  a go. Qualifying your candidates is the bread and butter of Recruiting.  Here are some tips on locking your candidates and getting the deal closed.

1. Why is He/She Looking?

Understanding why your candidate is looking for a new role is a major factor in the submittal process. It gives you insight into how motivated the individual is to move on as well as how long they are willing to wait. As in, “Here’s a job that you won’t hate and you can start next week” versus, “I may have something with one of my clients in the fall; it’s a perfect role for you but the process won’t take off for another couple of months.”  Knowing where your candidate stands allows you to position yourself better than other recruiters who are calling because their keyword search told them to.  When a candidate feels their goals, needs and drivers are being respected, you will definitely see an uptick in candidate

2. Show Me the Money!

So many people these days focus on the dollars and the numbers, particularly in our margin driven business, that we sometimes forget that it’s not always about the money. When you talk to a candidate you really should strive to know them. Do they have family? Is work/life balance important?  Maybe they need flexible hours? Not every deal is about the money and that assumption can cost you deals.  Lost deals cost you money and confidence and before you know it, you’re desperate.  Getting to know your candidate and matching them to the right job opportunity is a skill and a profession and taking the time to hone that skill will pay off… both figuratively and literally.

3. Who Are you Up Against?

And as much as I’d love to say it is, it’s not just about knowing the candidate.  It’s about knowing the playing field.  Talk to your candidate about other opportunities that you might have coming up.  Ask them what other opportunities they have in the pipeline and how they stack up to the ones you’re discussing.

4. What would make your roles more attractive? 

Knowing who you are up against will give you a good heads up on a lot of things; possible new clients, your chances of needing additional candidates, the timeline for a possible interview/decision from your own client.  And staying close to the candidate, even if they take another role may just help you get in the door of a new client.

By Christine Santacroce