Archive for December, 2011

KEEPING YOUR CANDIDATE PIPELINE FULL

Friday, December 9th, 2011

As the economy continues its slow recovery, companies are starting to hire again. Naturally, there is a need to discover talented candidates that can fill newly-created positions. One of the standard ways to accomplish this goal is to build and maintain a candidate pipeline. However, these pipes can leak severely if care is not taken to keep the best candidates there. Theoretically, the pipeline is filled with people who are currently employed and not actively seeking a career change. In practice, the mere suggestion of a new position can get a candidate thinking about a move even if they are happy where they are.

It is important to be up front with the candidate, and let them know exactly what you’re doing. This establishes trust and prevents a backlash from candidates who thought they were responding to a currently available position. It is the opposite of the sales technique of emphasizing urgency. Here, the candidate should be assured that they are only prospecting at the moment and not making an immediate change. However, you cannot become complacent!

Take the time to contact your candidates on a regular basis. And time is the element. You have to devote the time to reach the candidates, and if you wait too long between contacts, the candidate may lose interest or find another job. Thus, one must not keep too many candidates in the pipeline or the success rate may plummet. And while they’re in the pipeline, take the necessary steps to pre-screen them so that when a position comes open, the hiring process can move forward quickly and efficiently.

So, how to keep the pipeline flowing and minimize leaks? Use that sense of urgency that you held back from the candidate and apply it to the hiring manager. It is easy for hiring managers to be complacent in this economy, but they need to know that candidates in the pipeline will not stay there forever, and when qualified candidates are found, it is important to take action to bring these people onboard. Of course, agency recruiters have an extra avenue to pursue: a candidate growing impatient with one company’s slow hiring process can be offered to another company that moves expediently.

Like any “tried-and-true” method, the candidate pipeline has its benefits and flaws. Yet, with the proper care in maintaining the pipeline and moving forward with the right candidates, it can be a time-saver and efficient recruiting tool.  Happy hunting! -Thomas Cunniffe

OVERCOMING CANDIDATE OBJECTIONS

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Whether we admit it or not, recruiting is a sales job, and many of the techniques that make a successful salesperson are identical with those that make a successful recruiter. One of my earliest sales coaches passed on her mantra to me and I’ve used it ever since: Objections are buying signs. She elaborated that even with the hoariest of all objections (the dreaded “I’m not interested”), if they are still on the phone, they are still willing to talk. By engaging the other person in a directed conversation, and answering their objections in a thoughtful concise way, the salesperson can convince their target to consider the proposition being offered. Here are a few tips on how to get a potential candidate to listen to your offer.

An immediate “I’m not interested” or “you’re the fifth recruiter to call me today” can shut down a conversation before it even starts. Some recruiters just ignore these early objections and move on with their pitch, while others respond with a quick witty remark or ask permission to tell about their position before the potential candidate makes a decision. Your personality has to be a big part of your approach on the phone, so use what works best for you, and be willing to adapt your approach to the candidate’s reactions.

Now give a brief synopsis of the job you’re offering, but don’t mention the compensation. Next, ask them about their job history and their salary. You’ll need to know their salary, or at the very least, their salary expectations before telling them the compensation for the position you’re offering. Otherwise, you won’t know if the position you have will fit their financial needs. If the salary is lower than what the potential candidate currently makes, ask them a few probing questions about their previous employers to see if their contentment at a job is centered only on money, or by other factors. Also, try to compare benefits, commissions, bonuses and the like to get a realistic take on the total compensation package.

If the compensation question doesn’t come up right away, ask about the potential candidate’s personal career goals, and determine whether their current job fits those objectives. Depending on their age and career level, time may be the best argument for changing positions. If they want to move up in the world, they can’t afford to spend their time in a stagnant position.

At this point, the potential candidate has the basic information to begin forming a decision. Emphasize that you just want them to take the next step (in-person interview with you and/or the client) rather than pressing for a final decision. Even if they agree to take the next step, there will be more objections to come. However, these later objections should be legitimate concerns rather than just a way to back out. Consider their objections carefully, probe for deeper meaning and understanding and work with the candidate to find a reasonable solution. And if you don’t know the answer, don’t be afraid to say so. The candidate will appreciate that you want to give them the right answer instead of a pat response. Happy hunting!  Thomas Cunniffe