While You Are At It, Focus On Your Candidates

Apr 14, 2009

Everyone is looking for that new way to market and stand out in the crowd. One way is to really focus on your candidates and the candidate experience you offer.

Every good recruiter has maintained contact with some, if not all their placed candidates. Good things happen from those relationships.

If you haven’t, now is the time to renew those contacts. These calls are warm — the candidates know who you are — and you have their contact information. Reach out and ask for a time you could talk about what is new with them. A “win” in these calls is any piece of information you didn’t have before.

Find out something about your current clients? Wonderful! What about some new change in the industry? That’s great to know, too!

Learn that your candidate was laid off? You know this individual’s strengths and any concerns that came up during the hiring process. You’ve already checked his or her references, and have any background checks done that were required. What a great person to take to the market and help your marketing efforts!

These calls are also a way to do some quality control on your own process. For those candidates placed in the last year, ask them now that they are in the role and doing the job, how was the process? What worked for them, didn’t work for them, and what would have helped?

This kind of insight can help you tighten up your process and really shine when the market opens up again.

Training Tips

To really get a feel for your process, have your staff go through a search with each other (good training exercise, too). Have them take a search, write up a pitch, call you as a candidate to pitch the position, and then have you apply.

As a candidate, go through the interview process. Playing the role of candidate will give you a different insight into how your firm is perceived. Are your interview questions thorough? Do they give you a good sense of the candidate? Do they represent your firm properly to the candidate (i.e., are they thought-provoking questions?). If you use candidate questionnaires, email it to your home email. Did you have any problems receiving it? Many people don’t have a converter to open Word 2007 documents — do you send out only 2003? Once you have received the questionnaire, fill it out. How did you feel? Was the process too long, too short, too easy, or too hard?

Now is the time to look in the mirror. What is your procedure on staying in touch with candidates throughout the process? Make sure you know when those calls/emails will be done and by whom and put them on a schedule. The easy ones are when you receive the resume or receive the questionnaire, but what do you do when the client wants to wait two weeks before scheduling the interview? Communication is the number-one way to make sure candidates trust you and refer you in the future. Tighten up and document your procedure now so you have it covered.

Value in Unplaced Candidates

The last candidates to look at are those who didn’t get the job. Candidate two, three, or four were good enough to present and you spent time with them. How well did you handle telling them they didn’t get the position? If you handle that well, the candidates will take your calls now and are great sources of information and insight.

One recruiter reports that he has done steady business based on a relationship with an unplaced candidate. This individual went on to get a budget-manager position with another company and had been so impressed with the recruiter’s process, follow up, and ongoing communications that he now gives that recruiter all his business. He has since moved up the chain and become CEO.

Your candidates are a vital part of your business and knowing where they are now and what they are doing is critical to your success. Marketing is all about getting people to remember who you are so that when your services are needed your name is the first one that comes to mind.

Your placed candidates should be your biggest advocates — bragging on the experience of working with you, your understanding of their needs as well as the clients’, and the value you provide.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!