So the candidate told you he is happy where he is in his career but also just admitted to you that there may be something better out there?
What next? How do you handle this critical conversation where the candidate seems to be on the fence so early in the process?
Remember, the moment they give you an objection, your job isn’t to overcome it. It’s to have built enough of an emotional bank account with them so that you now have the right to make a withdrawal from that relationship. And your withdrawal is the rebuttal itself and how you bring them along to a decision that they perceive will ultimately benefit them. Your primary job as a recruiter is to build a relationship of authenticity with this person, a complete stranger, so that they trust you at the beginning of the process and all the way through to its end, when you are telling them not to take that counteroffer that their boss, friend, and mentor will eventually give them to keep them on their team.
Most recruiters make the mistake of giving an objection immediately after the candidate displays some sort of concern or says he is happy where he is. They go right into how great the opportunity is, how fantastic the advancement potential is, without having enough of an emotional bank account to make a withdrawal from.
Here’s a phrase you can use to get them to open up to you, to share their concerns, and to tell you what would motivate them to go forward, and to do it in a way that isn’t duplicitous and manipulative, but genuine. Just say this:
Joe, what I’d like to do is find out more about you. I’d like to find out about where you have come from in the past in your career, what you are doing currently, and where you would like to go in the future. And if the direction you want to pursue is a place that my client can take you, then I’ll tell you everything about this opportunity and you can decide for yourself what you’d like to do. Whatever you want to do or pursue is fine with me.
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This soft-sell approach relieves tension in the relationship by giving control back to the candidate. In my experience, the more I push people, the more they will either push back or run away (like not returning my calls, telling me they are going to send me a rÃ©sumÃ© and never doing it, or just falling off the ends of the earth). So instead of pushing them, I lead them. I let their internal desire guide the whole process, and I am just a facilitator helping them get to a place where they want to go but might not even know what that place is just yet.
What is the primary focus of this conversation? The candidate’s motivation. It’s all about the candidate. It’s not about the strength of your client’s opportunity or that person’s potential. It’s about giving the candidate control of his or her career. People want to be in control of their own careers, and the myth of candidate control has pushed many candidates into the abyss of “I don’t trust recruiters.” Many recruiters mistakenly think that “candidate control” is all about manipulating someone to do something that will culminate in a fee. Instead, your job is to find out where they want to go and then show them how your client’s opportunity will get them what they really want. Use the candidate’s intrinsic motivation as the energy that guides the whole process. If you do that, you’ll minimize fall-offs, decrease counteroffers, and have candidates as willing participants all the way through.
Scott Love is a recruiter who has created a big billing model of success that anyone can duplicate. His website has over 150 free articles, free tools, and free downloads that can help you bill more. Visit it at www.recruitingmastery.com. Copyright Â© 2007 Scott Love