Candidates’ Choices – Your Credibility

By Dan Simmons, CPC, and Jim Hipskind, CPC

It goes without saying that we are in a “candidate-driven” market right now and depending upon whom you believe, this trend will only continue as the baby-boomer generation begins to retire. In all likelihood, you’re seeing a pretty good flow of candidates at the moment, but are they the high-level achievers our client companies expect to see from us? Perhaps it would be more accurate to describe today’s market as a “quality candidate-driven” market. These are the candidates who actually have multiple offers and are looking to leverage their careers with the right position.

So what does that mean for us? The job orders are there for anybody who wants to get them. Companies are crying out for qualified candidates and are using our services to help them uncover the right people. So here we are, trying to fill these positions with just about anyone we can find, often in lieu of finding the correct person for the job. See if the following scenario has happened to you. Recently one of us did this; we’re not admitting who it was.

You get caught up in helping a B-level candidate. You know you’re not supposed to, but you’re desperate for a decent candidate for a hard-to-fill search, so you present this candidate, who has a job history that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

During the interview, you look for ways to screen him into the job (come on, we’ve all done this) and listen to his reasons (excuses) for bad job choices. Since you’re seeing what you’re looking for, you present the candidate to your client.

The president/owner of this company reviews the notes and the candidate’s resume and asks about his job changes. You’re able to sum up the reasons and to present the root of the problem: his promotions kept taking him away from his customers, so he’d quit and get another position, closer to the customer. Here’s what the owner says, and it’s excellent advice for us.

“I’d like to be able to count all the people who I’ve interviewed and hired who have told me about the great decisions they’re going to make for me, when they haven’t even made good decisions with their careers.”

The president/owner wasn’t looking at the reasons for the candidate’s job changes, which you could explain, but he was seeing the core problem. And that problem was this – when it came to important decisions, this candidate couldn’t see the big picture before making a choice.

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As recruiters, the most important thing we have to offer to our clients is credibility. It’s extremely important that they trust our decisions when we submit candidates for their consideration. At some point, we’ve probably all encountered the scenario outlined above. However, the frequency with which these scenarios occur will dictate just how long your credibility will remain intact with your clients.

As pointed out by the president of the company, the choices that candidates make in the past are typically a reflection of the types of decisions they’ll make in the future. So when reviewing a candidate’s credentials, take note – if they made poor choices, they’ll make bad decisions.

Don’t let their bad decisions damage your credibility.

Dan Simmons, CPC, President of Continental Search & Outplacement, Inc., in Baltimore, is one of the most successful recruiters in Top Echelon, having won numerous production awards during his tenure with the Network. Simmons began recruiting in 1991 and he has been a Member of the Network since 1996. He’s also a Board Member of the Maryland Recruiters Association and a member of the National Association of Personnel Services. Continental Search recruits top talent for companies across the nation, recruiting sales, technical, and management professionals from the entry to executive levels for direct hire or contract positions in the animal health, animal nutrition, and related industries. It also assists companies in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area recruit Information Technology professionals. Continental Search strives for an intimate understanding of its clients, supplying candidates who possess the skills, experience, and personality for success. For more information, visit Jim Hipskind, CPC, President of Midwest Headhunters, Inc., in Marinette, Wisconsin, is also a Top Producer in Top Echelon. Like Simmons, he joined the Network in 1996, and he started recruiting in 1986. Hipskind works in the Manufacturing industry, specifically in engineering, management, materials, sales & marketing, human resources, and logistics. Hipskind is also a Member of the National Association of Personnel Services. To take advantage of the online training seminars that Simmons and Hipskind have conducted for Top Echelon Network, visit


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