Handling communications with a candidate is imperative when checking responsiveness and feedback expectations. After twenty-two years in recruiting, Diane Hopkins of Hopkins Consulting and Platinum Resource Group. Inc. has learned a trick or two about candidate control and is happy to share a few thoughts. Her extensive background in recruitment has been built upon a zest for candidate interaction and commitment to the process. She combines her varied experiences in third-party search and corporate recruitment with her trademark style to get to the heart of her candidates.

Diane begins, "When starting a relationship with a candidate, you have to know where their heart is. By that, I mean: what does that candidate really want? Additionally, I need to know what they are feeling about me. Have they connected with me? Do they trust me? It is crucial that I understand the candidate's mind set." Diane has a standard query that she uses to initiate candidate conversations, "Fast forward two years, tell me where you see yourself." If the candidate is merely kicking tires, you should quickly be able to discern this within the first several minutes of the conversation. Understanding candidate motivation is key and is illustrated with how much pain the candidate has, meaning, how much do they really want a new job? Are they currently unemployed and in desperation? Are they unwilling to relocate? Are they willing to take a pay cut? Are they miserable in their current position?

Recruiters need to know what is going on in the candidate's head and make expectations clear. A pitfall for many recruiters occurs when a search becomes protracted and desperation sets in. It is easy and tempting to overlook what a candidate is truly conveying, to miss it when the motivation isn't where it should be, and begin to think, "if I can just get this candidate in front of the client."

During a difficult executive recruitment for a foundation, Diane identified a super star candidate. Everything seemed to be aligned and the client was enthusiastic about the potential represented in the submitted candidate. But a nagging thought was present, "What is this candidate's motivation? He keeps saying how he loves his current job but thought foundation work would be great." First and second client interviews were conducted with definitive candidate feedback not forth coming. Control was starting to slip away and Diane just didn't hear that necessary eagerness in her candidate. "I was uncertain about moving forward if the motivation wasn't right." A day later the candidate called stating, "I'm really just thinking I might just stay where I am." Diane went on, "Because I was really listening, I could hear the internal struggle and asked my candidate about it. He softened up and said that he had two disabled children and that relocation was going to be an issue. In a perfect scenario, he would have shared this much sooner, but he didn't. I spoke with the hiring CEO about what was going on. In a last interview, a higher salary was negotiated that made relocation plausible. The candidate accepted the offer, is still there, and very happy in that position. I could have walked away and not pushed it but I listened to his needs."

Diane understands the key to candidate communication: you have to listen. Building trust is a worthy pursuit; candidates need to know you have their best interests at heart. "Give the candidate a feeling of safety, so they can disclose whatever they need to. Let them off the hook." When she says, "I want to know about you," Diane Hopkins means it and she will assure you, "It always works."

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