Candidate management: 5 tips for success
Having a strong relationship with every candidate you represent is key – this goes without saying. However, building that relationship often happens within a shorter time-frame, thus making it harder to have control and also the right impact.
In some instances, managing a candidate can be harder than managing a client relationship due to this, especially as in a lot of cases you are dealing with more factors than just getting them the right opportunity.
We wanted to give you 5 core tips for success when working with a candidate to get them the best outcome and ensure that you are using your time and resources as a recruiter effectively!
#1 – Pre close at every stage of the process
We spoke about pre-closing in an earlier edition of Limitless Learning in relation to counteroffers, and it’s crucial that no matter how good your relationship is with a candidate, you are still testing their commitment throughout the whole process.
Pre-closing should happen as early in the process as possible. It gives you better control (and confidence) and allows you to manage the process seamlessly.
Some questions you can ask around this:
- If the client offered you X and X, would you accept?
- What are your thoughts on this offer overall in comparison to other processes you are going in?
- What would the offer need to look like for you to accept?
- If the client offered X, could I accept on your behalf?
- After the interview, how do you now feel about the opportunity in comparison to when we last spoke?
- What would stop you from moving forward in this process?
- What are your concerns, if any, at this stage?
#2 – Build trust throughout the recruitment process
Building trust can be a core differentiator for you as a recruiter. We recently covered this in our Mastering Candidate Management series with Adrienne Howlett.
She highlighted that trust is about working towards or building a partnership. Instead of working on behalf of a candidate or client, it’s a shared effort across both parties.
Going into the candidate management process with this mindset (and also making this explicitly clear to the candidate you’re representing) can help to break down any misconceptions early on.
How can you start to build trust as early on as possible?
- Do everything you say you’re going to do: Whether this is attending calls promptly, sending follow-ups, or actioning anything after a call or interview, stick to your word and don’t cut corners.
- Over communicate: Communication is key for any relationship, and especially in the early stages of building trust with a candidate, you have to be as thorough as possible.
- Encourage them to ask questions: Adrienne highlighted that the candidate is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them, so encouraging candidates to voice their opinions, questions and concerns throughout the process will further reinforce this
- Set expectations: Before talking about the process you’re about to put a candidate through, set expectations and make sure that they’re realistic.
#3 – Lay down the process on the first call
Communication is key, and for you to do your job as a recruiter efficiently you have to set the tone on the very first call.
Not only should you cover the basics when qualifying a candidate, but setting out the full interview process verbally as well as in writing ensures that there is no miscommunication and the candidate knows exactly what is going to happen.
TIP: Use technology to help you with this! Platforms such as Calendly are a great way to secure feedback calls without back and forth emails, plus, it’s free.
An excellent thing to mention at this stage is the circumstances in which you will remove them from the interview process.
This can be a difficult conversation to broach when you are midway or even at the end of an interview process, so it’s better to speak about it as early as possible.
It doesn’t need to be confrontational or negative, either! In fact, talking about removing them from the process can be explained positively. For example:
“For me to ensure that I’m representing you in the best way, if at any point you feel like this role isn’t for you, please communicate with me and I can withdraw you from the process.
It’s in our best interest to not waste your time or the clients, and I’d much rather we nipped it in the bud instead of going through a process that you aren’t committed to.
Additionally, if at any point I feel as though the role may not be for you any more, I will communicate this with you and we can have a discussion about it.
When representing you it’s my responsibility to find you the best opportunity out there, and morally I wouldn’t want you to take an opportunity if I feellt as though there will be something better on the market”
Explaining this to the candidate in a similar format to the above shows that you are operating on a consultative level, and it removes any fear from the candidate that they could be led on in the process.
TIP: Where possible, make yourself an email template so it’s less admin for each candidate when you send a written version of the process! You can do this on Google Docs or word so it’s always on hand.
#4 – Re-qualify, and re-qualify again!
Even if you’ve run a watertight interview process and qualification call, how often are you re-qualifying candidates?
We covered this at Recruitment Mentors with Aaron Farrell, who talks about re-qualifying in three different layers:
- First layer: Candidate remaining engaged and speaking to them often
- Second layer: Who is our competition
- Third layer: Do we still agree that this is a good fit?
There is a balance with keeping in contact with candidates, and although re-qualifying and speaking to candidates are important, speaking every day can be difficult. You should be aiming to speak to your candidate around every 2-3 days depending on the process the candidate is currently in.
To re-qualify, here are some things you can cover on the call that cover all three layers:
- What has changed since we last spoke?
- Have they spoken with any other recruiters?
- If there is an internal role, what is the update on that?
- How does the role compare to others they are currently in a process with?
- Have they had a change of heart?
- What other roles are they now in a process for (that you didn’t already know about)?
If you receive any answers from the candidate that may change the course of the interview process, you can mitigate them there and then, instead of having to deal with them once they’ve progressed later on in the process.
#5 – Don’t forget aftercare!
The candidate experience doesn’t just stop once they start at their new role. To continue that relationship and build your personal brand you should ensure that you’re regularly checking in with your placed candidates.
Whether this is going for coffees or lunches, or simply dropping them a quick phone call once a month, aftercare ensures that you are staying front of mind for your candidates, and also will elevate the service that you provide.
This will make your role much easier as you can ask for introductions and grow your network effectively.
Here are some ways you can approach candidate aftercare:
- Set up monthly calls and lunch once a quarter
- Send them a card/welcome package on their first day
- Send e-cards on notable days such as their birthday, Christmas, Easter, or any other holidays that they celebrate depending on their location
- Add them to a company mailing list if you have a newsletter or e-shot that goes out
- Continue to invite them to any events or roundtables that you host
- Send them market insight via email or on the phone
- Interact with them on LinkedIn
- Ask them how else you can help them (and grow their own network, too)