Invest in Your Candidates

art - Ryan YoungRecruiters often think that their sole clients are their hiring managers. Oftentimes, those same recruiters end up having their “star” candidates decline an offer.

As hiring professionals, we need to be investing in both of our clients — hiring managers and candidates. We are technically in a sales role; we need to sell opportunities to candidates and candidates to hiring managers. Investing in any sales role is not necessarily about money, but more about time.

Challenge yourself to take a quick litmus test:

  • Do I always call my candidates back?
  • Do I always respond to my candidates’ emails?
  • Do I prep my candidates for phone interviews?
  • Do I prep my candidates for in-person interviews?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” it might be a good indication as to why you’ve had offers declined in the past. If you don’t prep every candidate, you are still going to have offers accepted. But the more time you invest, the more likely you will see a positive return. Recruiting has the same properties of financial investing. If we add $500 a month to our 401(k), we will see a lot more in 10 years than if we only add $250 a month.

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Investing time in each candidate can have a much more significant payoff than just an accepted offer. Candidates who we place in a role and maintain a relationship with will often refer us to friends, family, and even former co-workers who could potentially become candidates themselves. Additionally, a placed candidate can offer us good insight into their department, their manager, and future openings they foresee even before a new requisition lands on our desk.

What about the candidates who don’t get the job? We still need to treat them as clients and know that there may be other opportunities to place them in the future. These candidates, if treated well, can also become a great source of future candidates. If you have invested the time with them and they don’t get the job, they often still appreciate the time you took to help them and will continue to reward you for many years to come.

Ryan Phillips is a technical writer & sourcing researcher at AIRS. She lives in Helena, Montana. Joining AIRS in 2010, she transitioned to the role from the internal recruiting team at The RightThing. Phillips began her recruiting career working for a technical recruitment staffing firm in the Silicon Valley, where she recruited for IT, Engineering, Marketing, and Accounting. She later moved into the RPO field, where she did mainly niche engineering recruitment for Microsoft. She works on curriculum development for all AIRS courses, including the industry-leading AIRS Certification classes. She also continues to consult with RPO clients on their social media branding strategies, as well as support the internal RightThing sourcing team to develop client specific sourcing strategies.


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