Talking with candidates is the most essential part of recruiting. Knowing how to manage the conversation and steer it where it needs to go is crucial to making placements or adding new hires to your team. The fastest way to make a candidate mad is to ‘wing it’ yet that’s what the majority of new recruiters do if they bypass recruiter training.
The end goal is to hire the best talent for the position. Initial conversations weed out less qualified candidates quickly and conduct in-depth interviews with the candidates most worthy of our time. Fundamental to finding success in recruiting is the ability to ask good questions right out of the gate.
We have about 30 -45 seconds max to gain the cooperation of a candidate who is probably at work when they answer our call. Thus, a good script is needed to engage. A good script disarms and shuts down an automatic response of, ‘Go away I’m busy’. When a recruiter can engage and build a little trust fast, a candidate will spend five – ten –twenty minutes talking about their situation so they can hear about what you have to offer.
The biggest mistake new recruiters make is telling a candidate too much about their opportunity before the candidate is ready. This error flips the control of the process to the listener. If one gives out all their info too soon, they have no more carrots to dangle in front of the listener to keep them talking. If a prospective employee uses this power to prematurely dismiss an opportunity the call is shut down. The recruiter is left without knowing whether that was an appropriate decision or not because they failed to get enough information to qualify the candidate.
In the initial give and take, for the ultimate win/win result is to unfold one must create an atmosphere where the candidate is given bits of information in return for information provided. When they demonstrate they may be a good to great match for the job the floodgates of information open. The process is the same no matter if we’re speaking with CEOs or entry-level sales people. The process remains the same for every industry, and every position. What changes is the terminology and hiring criteria.
Recruiting is a series of small closes. Contingency fee recruiters work with a sense of urgency because they provide superior service by working quickly. We work on commission so if we don’t produce, we don’t get paid. By honoring our main objective, which is to provide the best talent, we almost guarantee our client will use us again and again.
Think of the recruiting call strategically. Make a list of what a candidate must have in terms of skill sets and personality in order to qualify for an interview. Design your questions around those factors. Before you call anyone you must clarify in your own mind what constitutes a poor, fair, good, or excellent answer. Ask the same questions to each candidate to gather objective information.
We make decisions on objective and subjective information so your information must be detailed and accurate. Check the facts. During the conversation your currency is information so parcel it out based on what the candidate needs to hear in order to move forward. Be friendly but make sure you manage the call.
When ten minutes passes the right candidate will be really excited to move ahead. 10 times out of 11 it will be our job to let the candidate know they're not quite right for the position or the employer, if we've done our job correctly. There are a dozen ways to respectfully and kindly set aside less than desirable candidates. Put yourself in their shoes and down the road when you re-contact them with an opportunity that does match their experience, they’ll greet you like an old friend.
The steps in the recruiting process are easy to learn and take practice to perfect. Without recruiter training so much time is wasted on trial and error that a vast number of new recruiters quit the profession. Working without success sucks. Learning how to effectively handle any question, situation, or surprise will help anyone close more deals and avoid pricey conversational collisions.
It’s all about the conversation so develop the recruiting skills, know-how, and follow the process. One more thing…you’re going to need a wheel barrel. The wheel barrel is for taking your money to the bank and believe me, that’s one job you’ll never fail to enjoy.
by Kimberly Schenk, Executive Recruiter, Trainer, Author