How to Build a Relationship When Candidates Talk to a Recruiter

Setting a proper frame of reference with a recruit should be a primary objective during your first in-depth discussion.  This frame of reference may determine whether or not the recruit views you as an asset or a liability.

For the purposes of this blog post, we will define a recruit as someone with whom you have initiated a first contact and someone who, at the point of that initial contact, was NOT actively seeking a change in employment.

Remember . . . ultimately, the decision a recruit makes will impact their life to a greater degree than it will impact yours.

Keeping this in mind, it is imperative for you to quickly identify with the recruit any and all potential motivations they may have for a possible job change.  This can best be accomplished through the proper utilizing of certain questions.  The answers to these questions will quickly establish a realistic frame of reference between the two of you and serve as a foundation for your candidate relationship.

When candidates talk to a recruiter

Once a directed dialogue has been established and you are discussing the recruit’s possible motivations for change, consider framing the subject with the following questions:

“(Recruit’s name), based on what you have already shared with me, it appears as if you will need to answer two primary questions before proceeding.

“First: Is now the time in your career where it is in your best interest to seriously consider making a job change?”

If the answer to the first question is “Yes,” then the second question is, “What specific criteria should you be asking to evaluate which opportunity is best for you?

“At this point in our relationship, my primary responsibility is to help you answer these questions.  Does that seem like a reasonable approach?”

Before proceeding, it is imperative that you gain a positive response from the recruit.  You have just posed two very important questions, and the recruit might need a moment to consider their ramifications.  Once you receive their positive response and/or address any points of concern, continue in a manner similar to the following.

“Let’s begin by taking a closer look at the first question.

“Perhaps the best way for you to determine if now is the time in your career when you should seriously consider the possibility of a job change is to ask yourself a couple of questions most frequently posed by professional career counselors.

“First, are you still being challenged, rewarded, and satisfied by your work?

“Second, are you still growing, learning, and developing?”

Through the proper use of these questions and by carefully listening and appropriately responding to the answers, your frame of reference in the recruit’s eyes will change from being an opportunity broker to a potential career manager.

One frame of reference has situational power, while the other has relationship power.  If you possess a long-term perspective on your role as a recruiter, you will appreciate the benefits of relationship power.

Most recruiters move too fast and sell too hard.  Although this may create a positive response from the recruit, that response is generally situational and many times does not reflect a serious motivation to pursue a job change.  The recruit’s natural curiosity is misinterpreted by the recruiter, who then moves ahead with a process that is not based on a valid point of reference.

By properly utilizing the questioning approach outlined above, you can create a positive frame of reference with the recruit.  This positive frame of reference leads to a more in-depth discussion, which most often will produce a clear picture of the recruit’s true motivations.

Once these motivations have been identified, evaluation criteria can be established and a process can be put in place to facilitate and support the recruit’s ultimate decision.  In this manner, you can ensure the proper outcome will be achieved and that everyone involved will benefit from the relationship.

Top Echelon’s Training Library

Top Echelon offers a free monthly webinar as part of its Recruiter Coaching Series. After the webinars are over, we post the recorded version of the webinars in our Recruiter Training Library. These webinars touch upon a variety of recruiter-related topics. These topics deal with both candidates and clients. As always, our goal with these webinars (and corresponding videos) is to help recruiters make more placements.

In addition to training and webinars, Top Echelon offers other recruitment solutions. These solutions include the following:

For more information about Top Echelon and the products and services that it offers, visit the Top Echelon website by clicking here.

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Terry Petra is one of the recruiting industry’s leading trainers and business consultants.  A Certified Personnel Consultant since 1975 and a Certified International Personnel Consultant since 1989, Petra has extensive experience as a producer, manager, and trainer in all areas of professional search, including retainer, contingency, and contract, as well as clerical/office support and temporary.  For more information about his services, visit his website or call 651.738.8561.