Why Courtesy Interviews are always worth the time

Talent Acquisition is a lot like courtship/dating. In Corporate Talent Acquisition - you have to be a grade-A slut, totally promiscuous, and with rocket-powered libido. That means never settling down with anyone permanently, constantly sourcing new prospects to date and get to know, and cutting pre-nuptial arrangements on a weekly, or even daily basis. 

In courtship, the precursor to commitment and procreating, there's a lot of courtesy involved, and it's complicated. 

For more moralistic, ethical debate and venting of spleen, you should visit Talentmagic.

The constant factor to be aware of is time. You can't possibly meet everyone. But there are certain candidates who deserve the courtesy of a meeting/interview or personalized response - even if they are in no way qualified to work at your place. These people are candidates referred to you by people in the business. 

A candidate introduction from someone important (c-level, someone you placed in a job, wife/girlfriend/partner of a director moving to the area, former client / client, friend of client) should ALWAYS be prioritized and you should have your courtesy powers on full tilt. 

These important people and the people they refer generally have relatively LOW expectations on what's going to happen next. So you can easily over-deliver by exceeding expectations. 

A ton of people (some say as high as 80%) find their jobs through referrals, and this has stepped up as the likes of Linkedin have done for networking and seeking employment, what the internet did done for dating. Going online made it faster, more convenient and well, a lot less embarrassing. 

We all know that these kind of introductions are not always ideal in terms of the fit. Your an IT firm and your boss just asked you, the corporate recruiter to meet with and interview the Big4 CPA-qualified Partner in an Accounting firm to "just see if there is a fit". 

Or the girlfriend of a valued client is moving to town. She's run her own online health supplements business for the last 10 years and is looking for a corporate gig and a six figure salary and you design & manufacture widgets for mobile phones.  

Sometimes I question my whole reason for being when I'm asked to interview people who have near-zero chance of being suitable for a job with us. I had to do one this morning. 

And then I remind myself of this: 

  • That person might one day be a decision-maker with a client or partner company. How they are treated by you will absolutely impact how they perceive your company brand & employer brand. 
  • That person is a human being. Looking for a job usually sucks and frustrates. That means that even if you can't give them a specific career opportunity, any pearls of wisdom on writing cover notes, updating and optimizing the resume and names or introductions of people to talk to will be gratefully received - and remembered.
  • Referrals well managed, mean more referrals. Think about it. If you ignore a referred candidate, the referrer won't refer anyone else in the future unless they are really desperate. By meeting with and providing value to the referred candidate, even if it's not a job, that feedback usually goes back to the person who made the introduction and will directly impact their feelings on sending more people in your direction. 

Finally, you never know -- you might get an unexpected brief for that person's exact skill-set and experience. Don't close your mind to what the future holds!~ 

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