Dear Claudia,

If time is the constraint, how can you analyze a candidate’s level of commitment? I work mostly on corporate-to-corporate contract positions (temporary placements), and I need to submit the resume to the preferred vendor or client within a couple of hours of the requisition opening. How can I avoid vanishing candidates?

Tektree Gopi

Hi Gopi,

I’d like to tell you that speed dating means you don’t have to build relationships, but I’d be lying (unless of course you're looking for a one night stand, but that's a question for a different expert). In contract placement, not only do you have to size up your candidates accurately, but you have to do it faster than your competition -- it’s just the nature of that side of the business.

That said, even contract recruiters build a stable rolodex of talent over time; chances are good that your brilliant placement today may be available again in the future. So you’re actually doing two activities in parallel: making placements as fast as you can, and selectively building a lasting candidate pipeline.

The heart of the issue is still one of watching for candidate behaviors of commitment, and the ‘tells’ are always there. Like playing a giant game of “connect the dots,” you thoughtfully and purposefully get to know your candidates over time; what motivates them, what their values are, what they need. You pay attention in their interactions with you, and you seek the feedback of others who also know and work with them.

I have yet to meet a seasoned recruiter who wasn’t also an adept observer of human behavior. This is what we do for a profession: we watch people make choices and decisions, and follow through on their promises. We watch and connect behaviors of commitment.

Years ago Abraham Maslow published his Theory of Human Motivation which proposed that humans make decisions based upon a hierarchy of needs. Essentially, that basic needs for survival must be met before humans can concentrate on making choices for personal growth. Applied to candidates in a job search mode, the theory might sound something like this:

...If I’m hungry and I need a place to sleep, any job will do. And depending on how hungry or tired I am, I might tell you just about anything to get hired.
...If my basic needs are covered, I may look for a job that brings me greater security and stability (financial or otherwise).
...If I have security and stability, I may look for a job that brings me more friends and peers.
...If I have friends and peers, I may look for a job that builds my confidence and self-esteem.
...If I have confidence and self-esteem, I may look for a job that feeds my passion.

Whenever you find a great candidate, pay attention. Invest in the relationship. Build your stable. No matter how long it takes, the journey is worthwhile; it results in much better matches for your clients, and (hopefully) keeps you engaged in a job that feeds your own passion.

In my day job, I’m the head of Products for Improved Experience, where we help employers use feedback to measure and manage engagement for competitive advantage in hiring and retention. Learn more about us here.

Do you have a question you'd like answered in this weekly forum? Drop me a line!

Views: 769

Comment by Tektree Gopi on April 23, 2008 at 8:41am
Hi Claudia,

"Speed Dating" you got the perfect name for the Contingency Recruitment., it's Excellent.

I really appreciate your efforts in posting my question in RB.(Recruiting Blogs). It's totally true that we should Invest in Relationship in this kind of model.

Abraham Meslow hierarchy of Theory of Motivation is really stupendous. I learnt something today.

Thanks once again for your time & help.

Tektree Gopi.
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Comment by Joshua Letourneau on April 23, 2008 at 2:49pm
Let me keep it real with you - I have buddies who work in IT contract placement and they could give a crap about philosophy, anthropology, Sigmund Frued, or Abraham Maslow. The reason you're encountering 'vanishing candidates' is likely because another IT temp recruiter is submitting them and getting feedback faster than you are. Sure, you can employ some tactics to gain a few more hours with your candidate . . . but the ultimate variable is whether you can get back to them within that ideal window of opportunity. Trust me - relationships are important (and this cannot be understated on the exec search side), but the name of your game is SPEED. What I would honestly recommend is evaluating ways that you can get faster feedback and/or phone screens between the candidate and your client. Gopi, you know what I mean - it's hard to build a relationship when they only give you 4 hours to get them placed or they're moving on. I'd focus more on the relationship after you place them (meaning once you've gained their trust in your ability to deliver) so that you can continue to maintain them in your stable of billing contractors (which is likely how you're compensated anyway!)

Joshua Letourneau
Mg Director, SSF (Strategic Sourcing Framework)
LG & Assoc Search / Talent Strategy
Comment by Tektree Gopi on April 23, 2008 at 5:50pm
Thanks Joshua for your efforts in explaining me how its works on Temp Recruiting.
You are exactly right on the point SPEED. I should concentrate & work more with clients who can give faster feedback as well you are exactly right on pointing out on relationship.
Maintaining constant relationship after the placement with the client & consultant(Job Seeker.)

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Comment by Claudia Faust on April 23, 2008 at 7:25pm
Josh, you said it really well, and more clearly than me: contingency hiring is about speed. Relationships take time to build, and and you're right to clarify that the time for this is after that first placement is made. Thanks for adding your .02!


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