What YOU say when your client says “send me the resume”

The fact is you make a placement only if your candidate gets an interview.

So your job as a recruiter is so much more than sourcing the talent and making the match. As important as they are, it’s all a waste of time if you don’t get your candidate sitting opposite your client.

And so you find yourself enthusiastically telling your client about this great candidate for his job, which he has told you he is desperate to fill. The candidate is a perfect fit, but of course, she has other interviews on the go. So you need to get her that interview fast. Your client listens, agrees she ‘sounds great’, and then utters those fateful words. “Just send me her resume and I will get back to you”.

Mediocre recruiters do just that, and if the client reverts at all, it’s usually all too late, and a competitor quickly places your top candidate… somewhere else.

So, your job is to push back. Find a way to get that candidate an interview. And it must be done on this call, right now.

Here is how

Firstly, you say,

“I will send you a resume Mr. Client, in due course. However it’s clear she is worth you seeing quickly, as she fits your role so well. In fact I will stake my reputation with you that you will not waste your time seeing her. She is a prime candidate, and I want you to secure seeing her before she goes to one of your competitors.”

Then, if the client needs more persuading, you elaborate,

“Mr. Client, while I do have the candidate’s permission to talk to you, she does not want to hawk her resume around town. Between the candidate and I, we have isolated just a handful of opportunities she is interested in. Yours is one of those. She is a perfect fit, and is keen to work for your company. We really should move fast to see her, and let her know that you want to see her, or else we allow her other options to have an advantage over you. It is best we set up a time now, and the resume will follow well before the meeting.”

But then, if required, you have the clincher. So obvious, so true, but hardly ever raised by recruiters in this situation.

“What is there on the resume Mr. Client that I cannot tell you in far more detail right now?”

How brilliant is that? It cuts through everything. I mean, what can a piece of paper tell a client that you, who interviewed the candidate, reference checked the candidate, and has a relationship with the candidate, cannot tell him far, far better?

Indeed, there are many critical hiring criteria that a resume CANNOT tell the client, but you can. For example.

  • Her personality. She is honest, sincere, believable, humorous, charismatic, determined. These are the types of characteristics crucial to success in many jobs. Does a resume expose those?
  • Her attitude. She is co-operative, a ‘can do’ person, willing, cheerful, a team player. Again, clients talk so much about culture and team fit, and you can offer those insights, while a three-page resume cannot.
  • Her appearance. She is professional, smart, impeccably groomed. Or, she is hip, fashionable, edgy. We all know that different employers have different styles, and you cannot see that on a resume.
  • Her circumstances. Under what conditions has she achieved what she has? For example, she hit the sales targets mentioned on the resume, but she did this without getting any leads handed to her at all. She had to source all her clients from scratch, and what’s more, she did that while her husband was ill, and she had to deal with her kids at the same time.
  • Her real reason for leaving a job. Sometimes these can be sensitive. Maybe there was sexual harassment situation, or a legitimate personality clash, that cannot, and should not, be put on a resume, where it looks ugly and maybe suspicious. But if it can be discretely explained, in many cases you can ensure it reflects well on your candidate.
  • You can explain the passion with which a referee endorses your candidate… that is best explained verbally and it has great power to say “The CEO of APEX industries said she was the best Account Director he has ever worked with in 30 years”.
  • On the telephone you can sell real examples of her traits and skills. You can actually tell stories of her achievements, outline how she overcame adversity and detail her wins… not as easy to do on a resume. And anyway, who says your client will even read the resume you send him. Mostly they don’t, or they skim.

So, your job is to get your candidate interviewed. Don’t stumble at the first tricky hurdle, which will often be “send me the resume”. You are a ‘consultant’ and trusted advisor, and advocate for your candidates.

You have the words and the tools, above. You just need the courage to fight the good fight, and get your candidate an opportunity to shine.

It’s in the interview that the magic happens

Make sure she gets that interview

Views: 7258

Comment by Theresa Hunter on November 28, 2012 at 12:14pm

Hi Greg...I have always wanted to get some answer to that tricky question.  So thanks for the info.  Now for my tricky question, in my field I deal with the recruiting coordinator most of the time so giving all those awesome answers really does not help because they are not the decision maker when it comes to the position.  I am in the legal industry.  If I go outside the rules and talk with the Partner I usually get a call from the recruiting coordinator telling me that I need to call them and not to bother the Partner. Should I go ahead and call the Partner when I have what I think is a good candidate for the position and take the risk of getting into "trouble"?

Comment by Greg Savage on November 28, 2012 at 5:51pm

That is an age old problem many of us face.. mostly dealing with HR when the Line Manager is the key person. Its a minefield. Simply bypassing the "coordinator" can make you an enemy which will backfire

I recomend

1) Coaching, advising, begging the Co -coordinator to see that s/he and you need to work as allies to make sure the partner and her firm do NOT lose this great talent. So try to shift it from "you vs her/him", to "you and her vs the competing firms"

2) Consult with her to " allow" you to speak to the partner. Acknowledge he /she is busy but that securing great talent is key to the firm and that the partner will thank the coordinator in the end if the best person is hired

3) if all else fails, bypass the coordinator, but be prepared for the relationship to break down

Comment by Jamee Savel on December 4, 2012 at 4:55pm

LOVE THIS.  Another hurdle I have trouble with is cold feet after an interview.  
They interview the person, like them-have NOTHING negative to say but still "want to see any additional candidates I may have."  WHAT?!  I just fetched EXACTLY what you wanted!

I'm not saying every candidate that interviews should get the job- but an A+ candidate that WILL find another position (and is perfect for the job), should not have to wait around until the client realizes he/she was the best choice after he/she has interviewed 3 candidates after. 

Often time what happens is, they want to extend an offer a couple weeks later and by then its too late... :-/

Comment by Greg Savage on December 4, 2012 at 5:07pm

Exactly @Jamee Wheeler..happens so often and is SO frustrating

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 4, 2012 at 6:24pm

Great advice for corporate recruiters as well! We also have to worry about losing great passive candidates because a hiring manager thinks they need to A) review the resume first and then B) pick it apart. Luckily most of my clients are in the same building so if they insist on seeing a resume I'll sometimes insist on hand delivering it. It's harder to tell me no in person. :)

Comment by Greg Savage on December 4, 2012 at 6:34pm

From @Amy Ala, above

so if they insist on seeing a resume I'll sometimes insist on hand delivering it. It's harder to tell me no in person. :)


That is great advice for agency recruiters too..present your shortlist face to face, overcome negatives, sell the candidates in. Everyone you recommend gets interviewed


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