As a recruiter you have an important responsibility, one that should be understood and upheld at all times. You are the voice, the face, and the main point of contact for your company. More often than we care to admit we forget that our candidates are not a means to an end, that they are our clients as well. Regardless of wither a situation results in a hire or not, a positive candidate experience is a must every single time. I approach every conversation as an information gatherer and find the correct situations to inject my opinion, knowledge, and recommendations. Each conversation I consider the "5 Rules of Recruiting" I learned a while back.

1. Developing the relationship
Developing the relationship in the first few minutes of the conversation will establish the tone for all future discussions. It will also be your opportunity to let the candidate know they can trust you, cheesy sales talk works on no one. For a candidate unfamiliar with your company an immediate judgment is made from this initial few minutes. This is an opportunity to generate a working relationship style that suits the need of your candidate and you need to make the necessary adjustment to fill that need. For example you will learn your candidates preference of communication methods; email, calling at home or cell, text message and time of day preference. You will get an insight into their own communication style, are they laid back and friendly or hard nosed and down to business. Be adaptive.

2. Creating and identifying the need
A mistake often made by recruiters is focusing on just their need and their companies need, not the candidates. Keep the messy details behind closed doors and always present a polished view of your company. If you scrambled to put together their information packets and booked a conference room 5 minutes prior to their arrival, keep it to yourself. One must be very considerate of the candidates impressions when discussing future career options in such a highly competitive market. Be tactful and act as a career guide, someone there to help them achieve a more fulfilling life through the possibility of a new opportunity.

3. Preventing and overcoming objections
Everyone has things they just hate about the work place. These can include management style, inability to telecommute, lack of personal growth options to name a few. Red flags such as these should be identified and addressed. Dismissing the issues will set a candidates mind at ease and offer them hope that the new opportunity you are presenting them with will be a welcome improvement. Of course not all issues can be dismissed; some offices do not offer telecommuting for example. Address this problem head on and be upfront, perhaps you can talk your candidate through the roadblock and leave them realizing they can indeed change their lifestyle a bit for the right opportunity. Other times the right move is none at all, part ways as friends and plan on doing business again in the future when the situation lines up more properly.

4. filling the need
Filling the need is an excellent section to focus on candidate experience. Rather than selling the position as something your company desperately needs to fill. Focus on selling the candidate that this is the position they have been looking for. You will know exactly what they are looking for if you handle steps 1-3 correctly. This section should be a marriage of your companies need and the candidates search criteria and fit together for a perfect partnership.

5. Closing the sale
Now is the time to earn your money. Lay your cards on the table and win the game. You should have all the information you need to lock down your candidate through a series of buying questions. Questions designed to get the candidate used to saying yes; "If I could do x, y and z for you, then would you accept this position"? "Do you see this as the next logical step in your career growth"? A few questions like these are a great way to start the final compensation discussion. Get the thought in the candidates mind that this opportunity is too great to pass up and you will make them take your offer and feel great about it in the process.

It is no wonder that great recruiters come from such diverse backgrounds. There are a lot of hats to wear in this job and a lot of people to consider and make happy. Hopefully these suggestions can offer you a guide to presenting excellent candidate experiences every time.

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Comment by Nancy Ford on July 23, 2008 at 1:27pm
Jordan, This is an excellent blog post!! It's an excellent reminder for those of us who have been doing this for a while and it's an excellent post for beginners. I'll be forwarding this blog link to everyone in my office. Thanks for adding so much value to the page! :)


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