Creating a Positive Candidate Recruiter User Experience

I have been thinking about many things and experiencing “Web 2.0 overload” in my attempts to secure a new position and get my own enterprise off the ground. While some of what I am going to discuss here is obvious, I feel compelled to write about it.

There was an excellent discussion on RecruitingBlogs.com started by Jennifer LaVigne entitled “Cold calling and your best pick up line.” There were insightful comments from every smart person that participated in the discussion. What made me think the most was the comment from Jerry Albright. Actually, it was Jerry's use of one word “WORDS” that was the trigger. I don’t know Jennifer or Jerry or any of the others that commented. But I want to thank all of them for inducing me to share some thoughts about what I think we actually do with the candidates we partner with.

I ask every Candidate that I partner with “What do you not like about working with Recruiters?” The answer (s) to this question will give you the key in how to partner with that candidate and become their trusted advisor.

Upon your initial contact with the candidate, do you ask How the candidate is today, How is their day going? Do you ask about their interests and take some time to get to know them before explaining your agenda or elevator speech? Do you share some information about yourself and who you are and what you are doing? The candidate wants to know that you are a person that will be professionally empathetic to them.

I have a rule: “I recruit the way in which I want to be recruited.” There is never an exception.

Be honest with the Candidate. I cannot stress this enough.

I spend time walking the candidate thru the current state of their job search or if they are a passive candidate what it would take for them to become an active candidate. I pose “what if" questions during this conversation.

I ask the following: “What are you hoping to find in your next position that you do have in your current one? Why did you accept your current position? Have you developed decision criteria for your next position? How do I Recruit you?” I discuss their answers in detail. This helps me develop a picture of the candidate. It is also fun! I summarize this and confirm in an email.

I discuss in detail what their compensation expectation for the position is. I confirm an agreement on compensation with the candidate in email.

How frequently should we follow up with each other and how will we do that? I use Web 2.0 technologies, but the telephone is the best tool available for the Recruiter and the candidate

I make certain that I have of their updated contact information and that they have mine (home and cell phone, email that is not your current employers Twitter and IM ID). If it is only the candidate’s email, I would be concerned.

I inform the candidate that I will not send resume to any companies without their permission.

I give the candidate for the client company Web site address. Do you home work! Research the company. When I have secured an interview I give the candidate the name(s) and titles of the person(s) they will be interviewing with and what the interviewing process is. I instruct them to Google the names of the interviewer(s). Search LinkedIn for the interviewer’s name and read their profile. How the candidate responds to this will give you an indication of how strong your partnership with them is.

I offer suggestions as to what questions to expect on the interview. I typically ask; “How do you handle the telephone/ in person interview?” I discuss their reply in detail.

I set a follow up time after the interview to debrief the candidate.

I know that some of this is obvious and I have left much out, but I think we all need to think about what we are doing with our candidates and how we partner with them.

Thoughts?

Views: 143

Comment by Jerry Albright on February 13, 2009 at 8:08pm
Dave - this is a fantastic post. To practice in this world in the manner you've described here is inspiring. If I were bringing a few new recruiters on board - no doubt I would have a copy of this post in the training manual.

Keep up the great work!
Comment by Amitai Givertz on February 13, 2009 at 8:27pm
Dave, super post.

When you ask, “What do you not like about working with Recruiters?” what do you most commonly hear?

Anyone else?
Comment by Jerry Albright on February 13, 2009 at 9:03pm
Hi Ami. I don't ask that question. We already know what they don't like, don't we? So personally I wouldn't see any benefit in discussing "why most recruiters suck". We all know - don't we?

Speak softly - carry a big stick.

They hate being lied to. The are tired of being jerked around by recruiters who don't have a real job for them but demand 4 references in order to move forward.

They are sick and tired of hearing recruiters say "I have a great job for you with a terrific company!!!" before any substantive conversations have taken place. I mean really - how would we even know that if we've never spoken?

We know candidates absolutely HATE IT when the recruiter doesn't call them back to tell them the news "sorry - you're not getting the job" ......so just do it. Cuz you know what - if you don't call them to let them know right away - it gets harder and harder - pretty soon you've drifted apart.....and you never do call them.

Then guess what? 3 months latere a GREAT JOB comes along that is JUST PERFECT for the guy/gal you hung out to dry. So you muster the courage to call them back and have the awkward "sorry I didn't get back with you after the interview with XYZ....blah blah blah......"

The candidate hates you by now anyway and you're not going to rekindle the love.

SO.........what was I saying? I'm just rambling. Sorry.
Comment by Dave Graziano on February 13, 2009 at 9:13pm
Thank you Ami. I like your input on the site. I hear many things ie "I never hear from the recruiter agian", "Let me submit your resume immediately.", "The job pays X.", "You owe it to yourself and your family to investigate this.", "The recuiter can not answer any questions about the position or the company." , "The recruiter is mire interested in him/herself than me." These seem to be the most prevalent oh yeah, "The recruiter lies." Pathetic, isn't it?
Comment by Dave Graziano on February 13, 2009 at 9:20pm
Jerry, I agree with what you said to Ami. It is all to true! Thank you for your support! You articualte the issues succinctly. We have much in common I think:)
Comment by Amitai Givertz on February 13, 2009 at 10:56pm
Dave and Jerry both...

The question "What do you not like about working with Recruiters?” is a good one to ask and a better one to assume you have the answer to.

I think any question asked sincerely is a legitimate question. If it assumes the best interests of the other person whatever follows in conversation will lead to a mutual understanding and respect that makes deciding not to work together -- or moving forward, whatever the case may be -- an easy decision to agree on.

The problem is that the question is more likely asked so that the recruiter can position him or herself favorably in the mind of the candidate. By virtue of the fact the question was asked as a social engineering tactic, the negative stereotype of recruiters is reinforced at some level of both parties' consciousness.

So, framing the question is important because the truth of the matter is recruiters have a self-interest which, at the outset at least, has nothing to do with the candidate at all. Referrals, inbound calls and cousin Vinneys aside, most candidates are qualified in or out based on our assessment of how well they fit the faceless, nameless genetically-perfect profile and/or the extent to which we think we can persuade them to align their interests with ours. Say it ain't so.

Surely it is easier to call a person and just come straight out with it... "Bob, if I told you that I was a recruiter calling you about a potentially dynamite job that you appear to be best suited for you'd probably tell me to go shove it and hang up on me, right?...Oh, I won't tell you I'm a recruiter then."

As stupid as it sounds, in my experience at least, this is a better approach to neutralize the knee-jerk negativity we fully expect and implied in asking, "What do you not like about working with Recruiters?”

Some recruiters are plain daft in their assumption that they can immediately position themselves as "trusted advisors" from the get-go. Trust is something that strengthens over time, built on each transaction and a shared confidence that the other person is looking out for them.

Without the maturing of a relationship, I don't think you can have that level of "intimacy" with anyone, let alone someone whose initial approach was based on their self-interest, not mine. "Speak softly - carry a big stick" sums it up, doesn't it?

For people who are honest, sincere, professional and yada-yada-yada, being up-front, candid and transparent is second nature. It is why they can overcome the initial hesitation candidates understandably feel. It is that personal presence that enables the meaningful relationships that can span all of five minutes or fifty years.

As Mother used to say: "You can't teach a man how to be a mensch but you can show him by example."

She also used to say: "Don't ask stupid questions. Not everyone thinks like you."
Comment by Dave Graziano on February 14, 2009 at 1:10am
Ami, Thank you for a thought provoking reply. I frame the question in such a way to build trus with the candidate, not reinforce a negative stereotype. The question is social engineering, (what question is not) that I will endorse. The question is used to help the candidate feel at ease, take a deep breath and exhale. I did not add in my original reply that the question is met w/ laughter and the discussion becomes rather positively spirited. It appears to separate me from the other recruiters that beseige the candidate. When I ask the question I am seeking a uniqueness, one that allows me to be Dave, rather than just another recruiter. I am striving to maintain that "personal presence which is the basis of the meaningful relationship." Does this help?
Comment by Amitai Givertz on February 14, 2009 at 9:39am
Hey, Dave...

>> I frame the question in such a way to build trus with the candidate, not reinforce a negative stereotype

I was talking in general. Of course, when all is said and done, each individual interaction will always be a question of time and place even if the approached is "rehearsed."
Comment by Dave Graziano on February 14, 2009 at 9:49am
Hey Ami,

Yes and I agree. I do appreciate the feedback.
Comment by Jerry Albright on February 14, 2009 at 10:04am
Dave and Ami - I'm sure if we were sitting around a table we would have all agreed by now. Though it seems we are anyway. Just thought I'd throw in one more comment. I may haven't gotten hung-up on one secondary part of Dave's post. I'm quite sure his main interest is not in finding out what candidates don't like about us. It was just something he threw in as a small part of a great post.....but since we're talking about it........:)

I would say by virtue of being the one on the phone with the candidate IRL - we are head and shoulders above 50% of our competitors. Genuinely caring enough to find out WHO the PERSON is rather than (only) whether they are qualfied/interested/available within 2 minutes puts us in great position to beat the other half.

Ami I guess my reply was more in respect to looking at my conversation - or any piece of that conversation - as a survey. Opening up the "what do you not like" is just not the approach I would typically take. I'd rather know what they expect and hope for in their relationship with me. Then we'll discuss whether that is the direction we are going.......

Have a great day guys!

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