It’s not easy attracting and recruiting the best candidates right now. Although when you think about it, recruiting the best candidates is never easy. However, the challenges in this candidate-driven market are especially daunting.
As you’ve probably noticed, candidates know they’re “in the driver’s seat.” They know they have the leverage in hiring situations. They like it and they act upon it. That’s why it’s difficult to connect with them and even more difficult to engage them in a meaningful conversation about your client’s employment opportunity.
As a result, recruiters need every edge they can get. And to help with gaining that edge, we’ve enlisted the help of Barb Bruno, CPC/CTS of Good as Gold Training. Barb is one of the most respected trainers and speakers in the recruiting and staffing industry.
Attracting and recruiting the best candidates
According to Barb, there are challenges in every type of market. However, the goal remains the same: attracting and recruiting the best candidates so your clients can hire them.
“Our clients want us to provide results by sending them the best talent for their openings,” said Barb. “As a result, the recruiter with the candidate is the one who wins. We’re in a candidate-driven market right now. It’s important that recruiters position themselves to take advantage of it.”
So what’s the answer? Barb does not believe in “candidate control.” (The thought of somehow controlling candidates in this current climate is almost laughable.)
“I believe in candidate rapport instead,” said Barb. “You need to establish a working relationship with your candidates and gain their trust.”
Barb likens the first interview with a candidate to a first date. The similarities are striking.
“Your candidate is only going to be as honest as they can be with a stranger they don’t trust,” said Barb. “During your first conversation, they must sense that you care and are listening to them. But it takes time to develop trust.”
Time isn’t exactly in ample supply in this fast-moving market. Things are happening at lightning speed during the placement process.
“This is why it’s critical to re-ask pertinent questions throughout the entire placement process,” said Barb. “Their answers to your questions will get more accurate as the level of trust increases.”
How to recruit the best candidates by establishing rapport
According to Barb, there are a few strategies that you can use when establishing rapport with candidates.
First, present yourself as a knowledgeable professional. This is Recruiter Branding 101. Candidates must believe that you know what you’re doing before they will trust you.
Second, do not just throw paperwork at them. Explain the benefits to them of completing your agency’s paperwork. Candidates will not doing anything in this market unless you compel them to do it. So compel them.
Third, offer candidates specific options for interviewing with you. Don’t just ask, “When is it convenient for you?” Give them choices at actual times of the day.
Fourth, conduct a strategic and insightful interview. Don’t interview the candidate for one specific opening or assignment. Instead, strive to uncover the candidate’s “hot buttons.” These are the real reasons why they’re considering a change.
Fifth, learn a personal fact about your candidate during every conversation. This can help you to connect more easily with the candidate, especially if you have shared interests or other points of reference.
Base rapport on what candidates want to know
Above all, remember that people want to buy, but they don’t like to be sold. That’s why you must always focus on the candidate’s “WIIFM.” (That’s an acronym for “What’s In It For Me.”) Candidates want to know three things above all others:
- You care about their situation and their career.
- You’re extremely knowledgeable and can put that knowledge to work for them.
- You can be trusted to help them in a way in which they feel comfortable.
This is why sharing testimonials can be so impactful. Candidates will see how you have helped other people just like them. This is one of the best ways to develop trust. Testimonials show that you have provided others with results. It will help convince candidates that you can provide results for them, as well.
It is impossible, of course, to place every candidate or active job seeker. If you can’t help a candidate immediately, market their skills. You could use a top candidate during a MPC (Most Placeable Candidate) presentation. And if you believe that you won’t ever be able to help a certain candidate? Be honest and provide alternate resources for that candidate.
According to Barb, if you’ve done your job recruiting the best candidates, then you should have accomplished the following things:
- You’ve established yourself as a trusted agent and employment expert.
- They have confidence in your abilities.
- You have their reference information.
- If you have an appropriate opportunity, they will agree to go on the interview.
- They trust YOU to do their salary negotiations.
- You can close the candidates and you understand their “hot buttons.”
All of these things are based on what the candidate wants. They want to know that you care, that you’re knowledgeable, and that you can be trusted.
Attract and recruit top talent by really listening
Last, but not least, recruit the best candidates by listening to them. Don’t just wait patiently until it’s your turn to talk. Really listen to them and their concerns.
“I want to stress the importance of becoming the best listener in the lives of your candidates,” said Barb. “You are not listening to them to solve or judge. You’re listening to understand where they’re coming from.”
That’s because candidates’ credentials show who they were and currently are. However, these credentials don’t show what they want to be. The only way to get that information is to listen. In fact, if you can become one of the best listeners in a candidates’ life, then you will become their “recruiter of choice.”
“You will also present the best talent to your clients the fastest, so you will be the recruiter who makes the placement,” said Barb.
Obviously, successfully attracting and recruiting the best candidates is not easy. It involves time, energy, and effort. However, when done correctly, you can give yourself an edge and position yourself to make more placements!