Although I have done a lot of recruiting in my career, until I became a consultant I have always recruited as an employee within a company, so I’ve been able to represent the company as “one of their own.” As a consultant, I now only do recruiting on a limited basis, either for existing clients or people / companies that I know. There is a process of learning the company when you are on the outside – you must “build the story” in order to accurately represent the opportunity to a potential candidate. Having recruited on both sides of the fence, there are a few things I have learned that are critical in successful recruiting across the board.
Know how to represent the opportunity
We’ve all been job seekers at one time or another, and I think I can probably speak for most when I say that the experience of understanding the job opportunity first comes from the recruiter. Recruiting is sales – we are selling the opportunity to the buyer and they want to know they are getting a good “product” and later on, a good deal. If we haven’t been given all the tools we need to develop our sales pitch, the candidate won’t buy it.
Be quick to respond
Whether a candidate is actively or passively seeking a job, they want to know where they stand with regard to your opportunity. You may have the sales pitch down and get them excited during the first conversation, but if you can’t follow through in a few days about what is happening in the process they will quickly lose interest.
Engage the people making the hiring decision
The interview team must be engaged in the process. They are running the next leg of the sprint – taking the baton and keeping the adrenaline going for the candidate. They must understand and buy in to the importance of keeping things moving.
Don’t postpone interviews
The candidate must be a priority. Everyone has legitimate reasons from time to time for why scheduled meetings must be postponed, but when you reschedule an interview, the candidate is more than likely going to wonder what the “real” reason might be. Postpone twice, and those other companies courting them are going to become a lot more attractive.
Post interview is your greatest opportunity to close the deal if the candidate is someone you would really like to hire. This will require a lot of action, from following up with the interview team to determining a potential offer, and making sure that all happens quickly. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are the only company they like. Great candidates will likely have multiple offers from good companies, and sometimes the first company to the finish line is the winner.
When it comes right down to it, recruiters can’t guarantee a successful outcome unless everyone is engaged in the process. Candidates want you to court them, keep them engaged, and tell them truth. Everyone dealing with the candidate needs to be on the same page. They want to know what the company is really like, whether they will fit in, if the pay is in line with what they are making / asking for, and what they are really going to be doing if they accept the position. No job opportunity is perfectly represented, but the closer you can get to laying out all the facts, the better chance you have at making the hire.