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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Guide to Candidate Control

Proactive candidates

Who are these?

Proactive candidates are people actively seeking employment – whether it be Temp, contract or perm, they are out there posting their CV on every job board they can find and possibly registering with agencies in the high street too.  They are very fickle and not loyal to anyone except the company that places them.  They have one goal in mind – securing their next role and will often aggressively seek out their next role with little though for the agencies they may potentially be dealing with. 

  • Open to suggestions
  • Are often prepared for taking agency calls at work
  • Know what they are looking for
  • Have bought into the job-seeking process
  • Happy to attend interviews and prepared to take time out from work (although not always)

  • Probably known to many agencies
  • Lots of other people have access to their data on line
  • May be on several interviews for different jobs at one time
  • Likely to change their minds an d be fickle with their choices
  • Often disloyal to agencies

Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are any permanent candidates sat on your database or a job board (no matter from how long ago) and contract and temp workers who are coming to the end of a contracts and happen to be on your database or job boards from ages ago – of pretty much anyone on linked in. 

Basically all people in permanent roles are potential candidates.  Who isn’t flattered to hear of a new job, paying more money and offering more responsibility than they currently have??  They may not be actively “looking” but it doesn’t mean that they won’t be interested in what you have to say.

  • No other agencies are working with them at that time
  • They are probably not on interview elsewhere and are more likely to go for the job you have available
  • Tend to be very loyal to their agent

  • Will need a lot of persuading to leave a comfortable role in their current company
  • Will need better money, pay , location or any other number of things to what to leave their role
  • May use the exercise as a means to gain a counter offer or to purely massage their ego
  • Could be more likely to change their mind part way through the process unless carefully managed


  1. Poor relationships at work
  2. The role is not paying them enough money to cover their personal financial commitments
  3. Job role is unfulfilling
  4. Peers / supervisors are incompatible
  5. Candidate has different goals than their employer              
  6. Issues or differences in political values, religious background or other socio economic matters
  7. The overall corporate structure isn’t right for them and is our of sync with the candidate’s ideal
  8. The working environment and physical appearance of their place of work leaves a lot to be desired or is possible too “stuffy” for their requirements

  1. The candidate’s ability to achieve career goals or technical fulfilment is stifled

  1. Commuting distance
  2. Air quality
  3. Accessibility to local amenities (childcare / schools for example)
  4. Spouse may have accepted a job in another location
  5. May be looking to move out of their current location because of changes to things in their local proximity
  6. May be looking to move house because of financial reasons

The point is that there are a million and one reasons why a candidate may want to leave their current role but it is important for you to know what their individual reasons are, what their motivation is for finding a new role and what their key drivers are when selecting a new place of work.

Surprisingly money is often NOT the most important thing to candidates when asked.   If it is the only or main deciding factor then this candidate may be conducting a “tyre kicking” exercise” to see how much they should be being paid or literally conducting job searches to provoke a counter offer from their current employers. Bear this in mind!
QU:  When does candidates control begin?

ANS:  From the moment you take the job from the client....

Your responsibilities as a consultant

If you don’t take a detailed job specifications and know and understand the facts that will enable you to answer candidate queries effectively from the outset then you could be losing commitment from your candidates hand over fist – and this is before you have even advertised the job role!

  1. Know your clients
  2. Know their offices and working environment
  3. Know their USP’s and why they are a great company to work for
  4. Know all about their premises, parking, office plan etc
  5. Know about the team (size, culture, hiring manager etc)
  6. Know the pros and the cons (remembering that different people have different pro’s on cons) – i.e You might like an office where you wear the same suit every day, where others want to be more relaxed and quirky in the way they dress.
  7. Know about their location  and public transport links
  9. What salaries they pay
  10. Anything you can think of that can help you to sell a job to a candidate.
  11. Know any negative points that could put a candidate off (size, salary, statutory benefits / holidays, location, transport links, dress code etc)


Candidates need to understand that you are there to help them.  You need to be able to install confidence in them that you are the best person to help them in securing a new job role.

If they don’t have confident in you, then they will walk all over you, let you down and show you no loyalty.

Top tips for keeping control

  1. Keep in touch throughout the entire recruitment process
  2. Give feedback
  3. Keep your promises
  4. Ensure you know all of your clients inside out before putting a candidate across to them (and that includes the client recruitment processes as well as environment, people, interviewers, team fit etc)
  5. Understanding the job role you are sending them over to – if you aren’t 100% then ask for help (speak to your manager about this but in most cases a quick call to the hiring manager will answer any awkward questions)
  6. Don’t JUST know the responsibilities of the role, know about how that role fits into the organisation
  7. Make sure you fully brief your candidates over the phone
  8. Send a confirmation email with links to relevant areas for the candidate to research, a copy of the job spec / person spec and some interview tips on interviewing skills (telephone or face to face – whichever is appropriate)
  9. Check in with your candidate on the day of their interview to ensure they are ready and prepped.  Asked some questions about what they know about the company and the role to make sure they have prepared.  Wish them luck and make sure they know to call you with feedback the minute they get out of their interview (or as soon as is convenient)
  10. Gain feedback and pass on to your candidates as quickly as possible – keeping your clients informed of your candidate’s subsequent feedback and “manage” the process as effectively as you can
  11. Treat your candidates with respect (if you don’t have an answer for them, call them and tell them that you don’t. They will respect you more for it.
  12. Remember that every candidate that you deal with could become your next client and feedback is the only thing they want from you.  Obviously a new job would be nice but feedback is the key here and it’s the main reason that candidates don’t respect recruitment consultants – because they rarely get any.

How do you get candidates to sell themselves?

  • Ensure that they have a thorough catalogue of relevant accomplishments to hand and have prepared for their interview (based on the information you have given them and their knowledge of the job role and what the client is looking for).
  • They should be able to communicate their value to the organisation through those accomplishments.  Make sure they have examples to hand of problems they have solved, money they have saved or ways in which they have utilised their skills to an exceptionally high standard ( in the areas they need to promote to win the job of course)
  • Candidates need to be able to show that they know about the company and the job role and give 3 solid reasons why they are the best person for the job
  • They need to be able to sell themselves to the client and tell them how interested they are in the position.
  • Candidates need to ask questions as well as answering them.  If they ask the right questions they can establish the clients’ agenda.  For example asking the interviewer what they believe the challenges of the open position are... If they can give answers to questions based on information they have managed to get from the interviewer then they are far more likely to form a relationship with them and have a positive outcome.
  • Being confident and assertive on interview can be taken in two different ways but a bit of confidence isn’t usually a reason fro someone not getting a job.  Tell your candidates that if they want the job they need to let the interviewer know.  Get them to ask at the end of the interview how many other people they are seeing, how they have matched up to the competition and if a second interview is involved whether they would like to arrange a suitable time now. 
Deal makers and deal breakers

  • Appearance
  • Body Language
  • Enthusiasm
  • Preparation
  • Timekeeping
  • Their close

 At which point, you need to ask yourself: Who’s really in control?

Ever heard of the phrase “leading the witness”? It goes something like this: “You’re okay with that 2 hour commute right? You’re okay with a smaller company right? You’re okay with less money, right?” This is obviously not a 2 way dialogue or two way street. This is a one way dictation.
The next time you are calling a candidate, discussing an opportunity, inviting them in for a meeting, booking them in for an interview - expect them to be asking themselves “what’s in it for me” at every step of the process. 
First contact – “What’s in it for me to call this recruiter back”?
Office Invite – “What’s in it for me to meet with this person face to face”?
Job Presentation – “What’s in it for me to move forward with this job”?
Interview – What’s in it for me if I shell out £200 travel costs to get to this interview or miss a day’s pay to attend?
Job Offer – “What’s in it for me to take this job”?
Your job is to have answers at each step to help lead the candidate to a destination that benefits THEM. Once you have this mentality – selling becomes easier, business relationships become more productive, you will waste less time, have fewer turndowns and a heck of a lot less frustration!

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