Snagging Today’s Candidates: Move Fast or Lose!

In this Brave New World of Internet Recruiting, speed definitely rules. The easier it is to find the candidate, the faster you have to respond to nail him. It’s true that there are many great candidates looking for jobs on the Internet?but everyone wants them. You have to move quickly to get your fair share. If you don’t call, phone screen, and interview candidates within 72 hours, you’ll lose many of the best. Courting the Active and Semi-Active Candidate Active Candidates are those people who place their resumes on all the major sites, waiting to be found. And they’re found by everyone; you need to move quickly to get the top 20% of these candidates. You’ll need to reorganize your internal hiring process to screen, interview, and put offers together within two weeks from the initial sighting. We’ve lost many great Active Candidates because our clients didn’t respond fast enough. Semi-Active Candidates are people who are also actively looking, but want to screen who gets their resumes. The key to attracting this group is a compelling job description, broadcast everywhere, and at the top of the list of the hundreds of other competing jobs. Location, location, location. This is why recruiting needs to be more marketing than selling. Candidates in this group will go to major sites and search for open jobs. They’ll then cherry-pick the most enticing positions, visit the company’s web site, and send in their resume if the position makes sense. You’ll get more unqualified resumes than you can imagine, but every now and then you’ll discover a star. Make sure someone is screening these resumes more than once daily. Quick response is important. The quality of the first contact will determine if you’re going to be able to add a star to your pool. Whether this is a phone call, letter, or email, make it professional. Good candidates will pull themselves out of contention if the quality of the contact isn’t as compelling as the quality of the job and the website. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> With more and more companies going after the best candidates, the following three steps are essential to a quality sourcing program for the semi-active candidate. There just aren’t enough top candidates to go around for everyone.

  1. Within 24 hours, you need to express your interest and get the process started. An auto-response email is useful here, but be sure to make it sound personal and heartfelt. For example, it could begin like this: “Thanks for sending in your resume; you’ve got an impressive background. We’ll be back in touch with you very shortly.” Avoid the whining approach used by too many organizations: “We regret that we can’t answer all replies personally.” Not a very upbeat way to start a relationship, is it? You can use this first email to set another qualifying or filtering task. For example, describe a great aspect of the job, and ask the candidate for a half-page summary of something they’ve accomplished that’s comparable.
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  3. Within 72 hours, phone the top two or three candidates. Your goal is to schedule a personal interview to be completed no more than five days later.
  4. Ideally, the interview should be followed by a successful offer and hire a week or two later.

To win the e-talent wars, you need some old-fashioned creativity and a new game plan to make the most of the speed and reach of the Internet. It’s an evolving learning process. Only those who fail to embrace it need worry about their futures.

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group – a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring℠. Adler is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007). His most recent book has just been published, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013). He is also the author of the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Build Great Teams (2007).


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