How I Weed Out Window Shopping Candidates for Contract Opportunities


For those of you with contract recruitment experience we've all been there before.  While talking to a potential candidate we get all the right answers but something is a bit off.  Your gut instinct is telling you that this person just wants their resume sent to the client but they may not actually be interested.  So what can we do to avoid a blowup with a client/manager and avoid a window shopping candidate?  I always try to focus on the essentials:

  • When are they finishing their current project?
  • Why do they want to give notice and leave if they still have several months left on their current contract?
  • What motivates this person to take an opportunity (rate, location, duration etc.)?
  • Is there a strong potential for an extension or another internal project their manager is planning to move them to?
  • How long have they been there? (In instances where people have been on a contract for several years I find that sometimes it is harder for them to leave)

All of these variables matter.  If I ask a question and the response does not make sense I hit the brakes.  I will ask, "Can you explain what you mean by that?"  Another tactic I find useful is trying to talk the candidate out of the role.  When the stars do not align I point out potential issues and highlight them very clearly.  In doing so, it allows the candidate to either explain why it makes sense for them, or agree with me.  This will increase your comfort level in presenting the candidate and avoid someone who is window shopping. 

Things I try to avoid:

  • Candidates who want to leave their project early but only for more money.
  • Candidates who are full time who want to leave for a contract opportunity. (Especially if the contract is 6 months or less)
  • Candidates who are on a local project that want to leave early for a traveling opportunity.

Here are some questions that will help you assess a candidate’s interest and the probability of having a placement. 

  • Out of the several opportunities you are pursuing, where does my opportunity rank? Why?
  • Where are you in the interview process with your current opportunities?
  • When did you interview?
  • Will there be a 2nd round to the interview process?
  • Do you have any expectation of when you will receive an offer?
  • Do you currently have any standing offers? 

 

In the fast paced world of contract recruiting we can never assume our opportunity is the only one.  Time is of the essence, however success is determined by attention to detail.  Listening to your candidates and understanding what their needs are will weed out the window shoppers.   I hope you have found this to be helpful!!  Please share thoughts, ideas, and experiences I’d love to hear what you have to say.  

Views: 935

Comment by Becky Northrup on February 2, 2015 at 12:05pm

Good points, Brian! When discussing "window shoppers" it's also important to understand why they would go through the trouble of submitting their resume, interviewing and potentially getting an offer if they were never really serious about taking the job. Are they looking for an offer they can take to their current manager in hopes of a counter offer? Do they just want to see what's out there so they can know if there's a chance for something better (promotion, cool project, more money, closer..)? I love the "take away" tactic. You can also bring up the counter offer and ask what they'll say if their current manager offers them $10 more an hour and/or a promotion to stay. 

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