Look Who’s in the Driver’s Seat Now

For the last several years, candidates were in the driver’s seat when it came recruiting. But since late 2000, the tables have turned, and now it’s the recruiters and companies who have the upper hand. Gone are the days when candidates wouldn’t even talk to you if your opportunity didn’t include stock options and a lucrative signing bonus. Today’s candidates are much less picky; most are just looking for a safe and secure working environment that they can call home. The initial urge is to get some payback for all of those offers that were declined because the company across the street increased their offer by $10,000 over night. But we as recruiters need to look at candidates not only as human beings who deserve to be treated with respect, but also as valuable resources for the future. Below are some ideas on how treat candidates fairly and develop them into relationships that can results in better hires in the future.

  • Job postings. The first area that really needs to be looked at is your job postings. In these economic times, the market is flooded with candidates who have are anxious to find a job after having been handed pink slips by their employers. It is critical, then, that your job postings are not vague and do not leave a lot of room for a candidate to make assumptions about whether they are qualified for the position or not. Be very detailed about the type of experience that is necessary to be considered for the position. This will accomplish two things. First, it will help eliminate candidates applying for the position who are not qualified. This will, in turn, make your job a lot easier by decreasing the number of resumes you will have to review. Second, it won’t give candidates false hope that they may have a shot at getting an interview for a position they think they are qualified for, but in reality are not.
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  • Respond to candidates. It is imperative that you make every effort to respond to candidates who apply for positions. It can even be something simple, like setting up an auto responder to all candidates who apply for a position at your company. But the response needs to clearly state that the candidate will be contacted if it is determined that they are qualified for the position they applied for, and that if they do not meet all of the qualifications for the position, they will be kept on file for future openings that better match their skills. This will help eliminate many of the phone calls you get from candidates wanting to know what their status is for the position they applied for.
  • Give timely feedback. Once you have begun to interview candidates, it’s important to give them feedback as quickly as possible about the outcome of their interview, whether it be positive of negative. Interview processes often take several weeks to complete, so make sure to keep in close contact with the candidates that are still being considered, and notify the candidates that didn’t make the cut that they are no longer being considered. Candidates will greatly appreciate the feedback, even if the news is not what they wanted to hear. In the long run, a candidate who gets timely communication after an interview is more likely to think of your company in a positive light, which can be valuable down the road if they are ever considered for another position within your company in the future.
  • Encourage candidates to come back. After a hire has been made for a particular position, contact all of the candidates that applied and let them know that the position has been filled. But invite them to check your website from time to time for other opportunities that may be better suited for them. Set up a process that keeps these candidates engaged and interested in your company. A basic candidate relationship program, such as a monthly email that announces your new openings to them, isn’t that difficult to set up. These candidates will greatly appreciate the fact that you’ve kept in contact with them and continue to send them new opportunities. Even if they aren’t qualified for these new positions, they may know someone who is. If they think of your company in a positive light, then chances are they will refer quality candidates your way.

We all need to remember that these are tough times, and that we need to go that extra mile to treat everyone fairly. But history shows that economic slowdowns are short lived, and before we all know it, the hiring frenzy will be upon us again. Be ready for it!

Scott Hagen (shagen@recruiters-aid.com) is a graduate of San Diego State University, with over 8 years of high tech corporate recruiting experience with industry leaders such as Qualcomm, Cymer, and Pyxis. Scott is also a co-designer of the Recruiters-Aid PERS (Proprietary E-Recruitment System). Recruiters-Aid provides Internet candidate sourcing and screening services, and guarantees results-or the clients do not pay. Recruiters-Aid manages one of the largest free recruiting resource sites (http://www.recruiters-aid.com/kit.html) online. Recruiters-Aid services were created specifically for recruiters who don't have time to source the Internet themselves.

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