Recruiting For the Future: Don’t Forget About the Candidate

Internet Recruiting, Applicant Tracking Systems, Job Posting Software, Reducing Cycle Time, Reducing Cost Per Hire, Recruiting Metrics, Job Matching Systems, Building Talent Pipelines, Attracting High Tech Talent, new sourcing methodologies?These are the buzz words, topics of conferences, and essential issues occupying the minds and the conference rooms of companies worldwide. They are all great things to think about and improve upon in our organizations. However, in an effort to become more efficient we can?t forget about the candidate. They are the most essential piece of our recruiting process and must be treated as attentively as we do our largest clients.

A candidate who has had a great experience during the interviewing process will tell three friends. The candidate who has had a negative experience will tell ten friends. No matter what the outcome, every candidate should feel that they have had a positive experience with your company. All the tracking systems, sourcing methodologies, and posting software in the world will not replace a negative press generated by dissatisfied candidates.

Keeping the Candidate Warm is one of the most productive things a recruiter can do during the recruiting cycle and beyond. Once a candidate is contacted and in your recruiting process, it is critical to maintain constant contact. We can never assume that candidates are not being interviewed and courted by other companies. The Internet provides such wide access to positions and companies worldwide that good candidates literally have a world of opportunity. Building a relationship early on in the recruiting process will keep them interested and will keep you, the recruiter up to date on the candidates thoughts, concerns, likes and dislikes — all tidbits of information that become extremely important in the process of closing the offer.

E-mail candidates regularly to keep them updated on the process. It takes just a few moments to send off a quick e-mail. This e-mail contact can truly make the difference between a hire you make and a hire made by your competition. For example, as a recruiter you have spoken with a candidate, presented the information to the hiring managers, and are waiting for a response. The manager may be on vacation or out of town on business and it is taking longer than 48 hours to get a response. This is the time when you should e-mail the candidate with a brief note saying, ?We are still very interested. The specific hiring manager that I want to review your credentials has been on vacation and will be back next week. I will keep you posted on status. In the meantime please feel free to contact me with any questions or updates on your career search.?

Once you have set up an interview with a candidate it is important to do more than just give them the date and where to show up. A few days before the interview, call the candidate to see if they have any questions prior to the interview. If you have an interview schedule set up for the day, give them a brief review of the people with whom they will be meeting. This goes a long way in presenting your company as an organization that cares about its potential new employees.

After the interview, it is critically important to keep good candidates warm and interested. If you work for a company that takes longer than 48 hours to make an offer decision, you NEED to be on the phone with the candidate and communicating via e-mail. Now is the critical time to keep them informed. Even if the only thing you have to say is that the managers will be meeting to discuss candidates in a few days — this phone call is important. Again, candidates need the reinforcement that you are interested in them and that you care. If the general assessment is positive, DO NOT wait for complete feedback from the managers before contacting the candidate. Even if you have nothing to tell them at least they know you are still interested.

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After the offer is made, get more people involved to ?court? the candidate. Recruiter contact, Hiring Manager contact, and Peer level contact are all important here. The recruiter?s role is to make sure that any questions and objections are met. This may require probing and pulling out information from your original conversation about the candidate needs to reinforce that your company is meeting those needs.

The hiring manager should contact the candidate to make him/her feel welcome to the group and really wanted on the team. The manager should be building a strong relationship so that the candidate is compelled to accept the position.

A peer, preferably someone the candidate has met during the interview process should call or e-mail the candidate to address any peer-to-peer questions and to let the candidate know that the team really wants him/her to join the company. The peer should reinforce all the great things the company has to offer and why they like working there.

As Michael Dell put it in his most recent book, Direct from Dell, ?The ability to find and hire the right people can make or break your business. It is as plain as that. No matter where you are in the life cycle of your business, bringing in great talent should always be a top priority. It is also the hardest objective to meet.? When you find great talent, do everything you can to help them feel wanted and welcome. The worst thing you can do is let them go to your competition.

Karen Osofsky (karen.o@tiburongroup.com) is a co-founder of TiburonGroup.com, an e-recruiting consulting firm that provides outsourced recruiting solutions to rapidly growing companies and new ventures. The firm provides a broad range of recruiting consulting, sourcing, screening, and strategy development services to help companies manage the front-end recruiting process. Tiburon Group is a Certified AIRS Solutions Partner.

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