The Most Important thing about Recruiting

Lately most of my blogs have been editorials based off of other people’s posts though this week I felt like writing something based off my own experience and opinion.  I’ve been recruiting for about 12 years and have had my own Executive Search firm since 2007.  Prior to forming ExecuSource where I focus on Senior to Executive level positions I was in the staffing industry placing technologists at all levels in contract and permanent positions.


I worked for a few different companies and due to the turnover in the industry probably had about 6 different Branch Managers or Recruiting Managers. Each of whom had their own philosophy on what’s most important in recruiting.  Their philosophies ranged from number of submittals to negotiating rates, to closing and pipelining.  Those are all important things but which is most important, what comes first?


What actually comes first is the biggest misnomer of them all, the close. We also call this delivery because we are delivering the best candidate for the position.  This means that the only question left when the client makes an offer is the start date as opposed to whether or not they will say yes.  The close is most important because who cares about everything else if the candidate says “no” to an offer and you lose a placement or worse, you lose the client.  Not only that, if your office divides sales and recruiting, how is your salesperson going to feel about you working on their next assignment? Probably not to confident or good, they may even boycott or make a scene depending on their personality.


The next logical question is how could you be so sure the person will say yes?  The answer is that we find our in our very first conversation what the candidate is looking for on their next opportunity.  We could say things like so tell me about your current situation as far as work goes. Another thing we could say is “tell me about your ideal job.”  When they start answering regardless of their answers, you say, “Great, what else?” Make sure that at some point you cover commute and compensation as these seem to be the two biggest reasons why people decline job offers.  Lastly, you make a list of all their answers and read it back to them. That would sound something like this, “So Mr./Mrs. Candidate, it sounds to me like if you were to get an offer making at least 12% more than what your earning now, with at least a Manager title within 45 minutes of your house doing x, y, z you would say yes. Did I understand you correctly?”


During the conversation you should take copious notes and be sure to enter them into your companies ATS so you could refer back to them later. I had one Manager who referred to these notes as bullets and he would say that when you close people you shoot them with their own bullets.  It’s a metaphor, violence is never the answer. If anything they said they want is not part of the job you are calling them on you need to go over the job with them and say so you said you wanted a, b, c & d in order to make a move.  This job has three of the four things you mentioned.  How important is that fourth thing to you? Then you rely on your own judgment which means there is going to be times when you know someone is worthy of an offer but they told you they wouldn’t accept so to save face with your client and salesperson you are going to withdraw or never present that candidate.  The key is that you ask about them first! Never lead with the job description, this takes all power or candidate control away from you.  Good luck and go get’em.

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