5 Keys to Building a Successful Candidate Relationship

Jan 24, 2012   //   by Kevin OBrien   //   Blog, Hiring Process, IT Candidate, Sourcing, Talent Acquisition  //  No Comments

We are entering a time where IT is evolving and the candidate supply is becoming more and more scarce. With this challenge comes a frenzy of opportunities that land in each candidate’s lap; giving them a variety of options at any given point. Of course, this quickly becomes a challenging situation for all of the staffing and services firms that are trying to land the best talent.

Based on data from Dice.com, 2012 will see a rise in IT needs across the industry, with numbers upward of 60% of the companies looking to hire early in the year. This is fantastic news for companies staged for growth, if their recruiting plans are in place to adjust to the demand. However, recruiting plans are only effective if recruiters can execute on the plan. This is where candidate relationship building comes into play; clearly a lost art among the “Job Board Era” recruiting generation. The blocking and tackling of the basic recruiting tactics have gone by the wayside in most organizations, which will force a new (or old) wave of skills required to effectively compete in 2012.

In order to build effective candidate relationships, the following steps will help leverage relationships in a way that you want them to be delivered; diminishing falloffs and turndowns:

  1. Proactively work with the candidate . It’s common for recruiters to casually “ask” the candidate for approval on next steps, like get together and meet, or call them after hours, or talk to a reference. Activity that not positioned proactively with the candidate can be considered passive in a relationship that requires more specific outcomes for both parties. Good candidates appreciate an approach that is well-thought out and organized.
  2. Meet the candidate in person. In conjunction with point #1, meeting a candidate is a must. If you do NOT meet the candidate, and the candidate doesn’t meet you, there is a higher chance of fall off because an established trust level has not been achieved on either side. Meeting the candidate in your office, or go meet them in person at their desired location will help the candidate and the recruiter feel better about the relationship. Outside of limiting the risk through a face-to-face meeting, connecting with the candidate in person could lead to a long term business relationship that will benefit both of you in the long-term.
  3. Set specific action items with the candidate. Working collectively with the candidate on specific next steps will set stage for successful responses to requests from both parties. A process of communicating actions, with complete follow through will incorporate behavior from both sides that should be sustained through a candidates start date.
  4. Confirm vitals orally and in writing. The vitals we refer to are compensation, location, timing and other determining factors. Agreeing on the details about these items in writing through a form or by email is one step in making sure that there is a successful outcome in the end. Confirming the vitals in person and on a regular basis is also a must in making sure that the details don’t get misconstrued at the most inopportune time.
  5. Prep, re-prep, and ultra-prep. Spending time with the candidate on prepping them for phone calls and interviews helps the process go more smoothly. Not only does it help the candidate win, but it will continually engage the process with the candidate. Make sure that the candidate gets all of their questions answered. If the candidate is not engaged in the discussions, feel free to see if there are questions that they have that aren’t answered. It’s very important to make sure that the candidate feels comfortable moving forward with the interview.

The lost art of candidate relationship building will need to resurface as a mainstream activity. Those that decide to utilize tactics and processes to build a relationship will ultimately win.

Photo Credit: Flikr

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