Ask Barb

Q. When do you feel it’s best to start checking references on a candidate? BB – Toronto, CA

A. The minute you present an opportunity to your candidate is the best time to start reference checking. Let me explain why:

1. References help sell in your candidate
2. You “confirm” the information you believe to be true
3. It is better be proactive that to have an offer “pending references” that you have NOT checked.

If you are newer to the recruiting profession, you may want to check references on your best candidates to help “sell” them to your fellow recruiters.

NEVER FORGET…checking references is the BEST PASSIVE WAY to make marketing presentations. You are usually speaking with a Decision Maker and after checking a reference it is very easy to ask how they attract top talent for their firm!

Q. How do you handle a candidate who refuses to complete our application form? JS – Marietta, GA

A. The reasons for their refusal is based on two realities:

1. They don’t understand the WWIFM (what’s in it for me” if they do fill out your paperwork

2. Higher level executives do not like the word “application.” When I changed our “application” to a “profile form,” no one objected to completing the form. It’s the SAME FORM – different title. (if you’d like a copy of the Profile Form I use, go to

Q. I’m losing deals because hiring processes are taking longer than ever and my candidate loses interest. How do I get my clients to make quicker hiring decisions? NP – Seattle, WA

A. Send in the candidate they want to hire and the process will shorten. I’ve often said “time kills deals!” When the process takes much longer than you had anticipated, often your client is hoping they find a “BETTER” candidate, they are still interviewing and your candidate is the BACK-UP.

One TIP … Always extend the time when you are informing your candidate of the hiring process for your clients. It’s easier to explain why a process is going quicker than to have them anxiously awaiting a decision. Your candidate will automatically start losing interest when the process takes longer than they expected.

If you have a client with a LONG hiring process, explain the competition for top talent and why it would benefit them to shorten the process if at all possible. Explain to your candidate that the reason their hiring process is LONG is they are one of your top clients who only HIRE THE BEST – which is why you presented them!

Q. Do you have any quick solutions to attracting top talent? JL – Memphis, TN

A. I still believe our clients want to hire the “passive” candidate who is out there working for someone else, but would make a change for the right opportunity. Effective recruiting presentations are still the best way to represent the highest level of talent.

You used the word “QUICK” solution….my answer to that would be referrals. So many recruiters don’t GET referrals because they don’t ASK for referrals. Ask everyone you interview, get a minimum of five names from everyone you place in a position and use the names listed on your application/profile forms to lead you to other candidates. I’ve designed my Profile Form to give me the following:

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1. Names of personal references (often co-workers!)
2. Names of their supervisors
3. Who to contact in case of an emergency
4. Business references
5. We also attempt to build an organization chart when interviewing which uncovers many more leads!

Focus on REFERRALS, unique recruiting presentations, and identify the “habits” of the type of candidate you represent (what they read, associations they join, where they go) and you WILL attract TOP TALENT.

Q. I’m having a real problem with my candidates accepting counteroffers. I’ve had my last three deals fall apart all due to counteroffers! JG – Harrisburg, PA

A. This problem area will only increase as the candidate pool decreases with the aging baby boomers! If the ONLY reason your candidate is contemplating a change is “money and advancement” – they WILL accept a counteroffer. You need to ask “what five things would you change about your current employer/job?” and “what must be there in order for you to make a career change?” in order to uncover their REAL motivation for talking with you!

You need to share articles on “counteroffers” you pull off the Internet so your candidate can read what “experts” say about accepting a counteroffer.

Have your client explain their policy regarding counteroffers.

Make sure you explain to your candidate that they WILL receive a counteroffer and ask what you should say to them, to bring them back to the moment they met with you – when they receive the offer! It’s interesting how often a candidate will say “THERE IS NO WAY I WOULD EVER ACCEPT A COUNTER OFFER” and then the offer is made and your candidate forgets their REAL reasons for wanting a change.

Also remember, their CURRENT employer knows how to GET to your candidate better than you do. You must stay in touch with your candidate throughout the entire “two week notice” period and for months after that.

The newest trend …Extending a counter offer thirty – sixty days after your candidate starts their new job. Their past employer realizes how difficult they are to replace and “go after them!” Your job does not end WHEN you make the placement. Keeping in touch with your candidate on a scheduled basis is vital to secure all placements … (and get future referrals). Follow-up or fall off!

Barbara Bruno, CPC is one of the leading Recruiting/HR Training Professionals today with thirty years of experience in the “trenches.” She recently launched her Recruiting Coaching Club and Wealth Building Coaching Clubs. Barb is currently offering over $3,000 worth of Bonuses for the first 100 individuals who sign up at $197.00 per month. Go to for more information. Barb is also the author of the FREE “NO BS” newsletter widely known as one of the most educational recruiting publications on line today…go to and opt in for a FREE copy!

Barb Bruno, CPC, CTS, is one of the most trusted experts, speakers, and trainers in the Staffing and Recruiting Professions. If you want to receive FREE training articles from Barb, sign up for her NO BS Newsletter! Barb has spent the last twenty years focused on helping Owners, Managers, and Recruiters increase their sales, profits, and income.

Her Top Producer Tutor web-based training program jumps-starts new hires and takes experienced recruiters to their next level of production. Barb's cutting-edge program, Happy Candidates, provides you with a Customized Career Portal in less than 10 minutes. Happy Candidates allows you to help the 95% of candidates you don?t place and eliminates the greatest time waster in your business.

If you'd like to contact Barb, call (219) 663-9609 or email


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