You Don't Recruit Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris Recruits You

Candidate Control is about as basic as you get with recruiting; right behind picking up the phone and dialing. But time and time again I see it as a best practice that is totally ignored. If you are going to recruit the top talent, you better be respected by that group and LISTEN to them.

Getting Roundkicked into Yesterday
This includes knowing what your candidate knows. I work on the corporate side, so if I tell you as an agency recruiter that I want to speak with a candidate you sent me, they better be available. When you call me back two hours later telling me the candidate is either not interested in the initial call or has already taken another position, that tells me you are not closing your candidates and are name sourcing. Hey, I've been there, "Candidate Joe, I have excited news I just got you an interview with TLA firm. Can you speak with them tomorrow?" Candidate Joe: "I actual took an offer yesterday with another TLA firm. Sorry." Ouch. It sucks when you miss a great candidate's window, but it is even worse when you don't know that you missed it. Please follow up and KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES, even those "passive" candidates will take a better job at the drop of a hat without warning - if you found them someone else can too.

Guns Don't Kill People, Chuck Norris Kills People
But just getting through the interview process doesn't mean you are home free. "Candidate Joe, excellent news, the TLA Firm is prepared to make an offer - they are willing to pay you (15% more than current salary)." Candidate Joe: "Gee, thanks, but once I started calculating my stock options, matching 401K, and paid benefits, that would actually be a pay cut for me. Plus, I'm not that excited about the travel. I think I am going to have to pass." That conversation is like being shot. For a moment your world is over, but is it the candidates fault or yours? Even if you get a number that the candidate will accept, the relationship is tainted between you and your client that was looking for you to give them the number the candidate needs. We made the mistake of meeting the candidate's demands once and renegotiating - the candidate didn't make it 3 months. Somehow it felt very dirty and the whole employment started off lack-luster on both sides.

Knowing is Half the Battle
Not every candidate can be totally controlled, but you better have a relationship with them that at least has them informing you about the decision making process. You need to have insider information on your candidates, you need to know the likelihood of an offer acceptance, the type of jobs they are interested, what are the key offer factors, what is the expected timeframe, how active the search is. The funny thing is they are more than happy to share this information with even the corporate recruiter, so listen when they talk and don’t be blinded by dollar signs and grandeur. And remember: If you don't know this information you haven't recruited them, they have recruited you.

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com

Views: 179

Comment by Scott Godbey on July 7, 2008 at 12:56pm
Candidate control is as much of a myth as the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Candidates will always do what's in their best interest, which they should. The best you can do is be an influence in the candidate's decision making process. Kyle is right - having a good relationship with your candidates where there is a free exchange of information is absolutely crucial.
Comment by Kyle Smith on July 8, 2008 at 11:23am
Scott, thanks for the comment. I think you hit on an important point about best interests. The only way to achieve a relationship of free information is to convince the candidate you have his/her best interest at heart (actually feeling this way goes a long way as well). It is important to create this trust early on in the process and then follow up with your candidate in a timely manner (but on your schedule not always theirs) to strengthen the perspective that their career is important to you. And again ALWAYS BE LISTENING, not just hearing, which I think is a common complaint against the male gender in general - at least in my household :)
Comment by Yuga on July 11, 2008 at 5:18pm
It is essential to listen, but sometimes we as recruiters can get a little too cynical about the information that might be just plain and simple.
Recruiting can be successful when you create it as a win win situation both for the candidate as well as for your organization. At the end of the day you are adding a colleague to your professional life and it is very important if that person keeps feeling good about the job and about you having helped him /her make a decision.
i always get curious about how individuals feel about the job after they have actually started working on it. In other words did you give the right picture about the job?
Again as it is little within your control finally whether a prospective candidate decides to join you or not similarly as a recruiter i can do little about some one leaving the job. But by far i would say i count my success in recruitment depending on the candidate's perception about the actual work after accepting a job.
Comment by Joshua Letourneau on July 14, 2008 at 11:53am
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I actually believe in candidate control. Hey, it's tenuous . . . and 100% control may be a fantasy (unless they're a genie, we can't literally force them to do anything!) . . . but what I have observed is that you want to maintain a certain level of tension (or 'control') in the process. It's a big reason I'm against posting drunken pics of myself on social networks or twittering out random political thoughts - call me crazy, but there goes your control when they see something like that!

Ironically, what I often see is candidates that treat the recruiting relationship as if we're all corporate recruiters. I have found myself telling candidates to lose the pre-fab responses and be real with me. I'm not looking for a dating ad - I'm looking for what's under the surface.

Let me ask . . . . and perhaps ask Kyle to follow up with a post about candidate control from the Corp Recruiter side of things. I've heard "there is no such thing for an Internal Recruiter" . . . is this true? Are we talking active applicants or directly-sourced candidates, etc.?

Looking forward to having some good dialogue here . . . .
Comment by Slouch on July 14, 2008 at 11:58am
I personally think that if you become a recruiter thinking that I am here to allow candidates to make the best decisions for themselves and you choose to wait for these decisions, while you are waiting, you should look into some new lines of work. Candidate control in this business is everything. I'm going to jump under my desk now
Comment by Slouch on July 14, 2008 at 12:02pm
And I'll ad to the above comment I just made, I once had a conversation with Richie harris who is a recruiter and he said to me that when you ask a candidate of they are interested in a new opportunity and they say " I'm happy where I am" you need to say compared to what? it's true, how can if you have an order that will get you a signature on a check for 40 k allow the candidate the control to end that conversation if you know they are right for the job and you know based on your industry exp. that the position you are presenting is in fact better. You need to get the control and make sure a conversation that night takes place with that candidate.
Comment by Joshua Letourneau on July 14, 2008 at 12:04pm

I'm now flaming JD . . . the black-hatted "Slouch" man . . .
just kidding :)
Comment by Kyle Smith on July 14, 2008 at 12:27pm
In response and clarification - I believe in candidate control regardless of the type of recruiter you are – unless you are simply an order filler in HR. As a corporate recruiter (especially in high-end consulting) you have to keep candidates on the hook for months, not days. Keeping candidates engaged and believing in your ability to get them the job they want is paramount in all recruiting worlds.

My last paragraph is more about bare-minimum recruiting: If you can't at least gather that information about every candidate you introduce me to, I will not continue to use you as an outside resource. I prefer my own candidates anyways and you're wasting my time. That said, I have never met a recruiter that actually controlled every candidate they ever presented – sometimes you go all-in before the flop because big slick is looking really good after the blinds are raised and everyone limped in, but you won't always win that bet. This article is my rant on lack of control - not excusing slipshod practices.

As Scott said, candidates will always do what they believe is in their best interest - why are you representing them if you aren't convinced you are paramount to achieving their best interest?

To understand control, people should watch episodes of the Dog Whisperer for inspiration. It starts with Trust.

I just know I am going to be called a Flip-Flopper on this nuance. Now I know how Barack Obama feels on his comments about troop withdrawl.

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