Many recruiters lose too many good candidates at the beginning of the sourcing and recruiting process, due to lack of basic recruiting skills. As a result, they work too hard screening more candidates than necessary and lowering overall candidate quality, since they let the best ones get away without a fight. The problem starts by not responding properly to the "what's the job?" or "what's the comp?" question when first engaging with a hot prospect.
When calling a prospect you don't know, especially a passive candidate, the person is first naturally going to ask a few basic screening questions just to see if the job is even in the ballpark. These include what's the comp, company, title, and location. Rather than handle this head-on, change the way of first engagement with the person you don't know. The process goes something like this:
- Start by asking a career-oriented quest ion. Rather than asking prospects if they're interested in a specific job, ask if they'd be open to explore a situation if it offered a superior career opportunity. This changes the whole nature of the ensuing conversation by focusing on career strategy, instead of tactics.
- Don't rush it. Recognize that converting a top prospect, especially a passive candidate, into a hot candidate involves a series of information-sharing conversations. At the end lies a potential career move. If you rush it, the candidate is forced to use some type of tactical decision-making process before learning what you really have to offer.
- Deflect the "show-me-the-money" question. For this step, you'll need to reframe the conversation. One way to do this is to suggest that by focusing on the money, the person might be making a long-term decision using short-term information. Then go on to suggest that the criteria a person is likely to use to engage in an initial conversation is not the same as that used to make a yes or no about an offer.
- Persist — no "no's." If these techniques don't work exactly as described, you'll need to fight through the "not interested" candidate response. In this case, invoke some type of attention-getting mechanism like saying "that's exactly why we should talk." Then start over with Step 1 above.
Too many recruiters don't recruit. Either because they don't know how, or they have too many reqs to handle. Regardless, lack of fundamental recruiting skills requires them to contact more people than necessary, letting some of their best prospects get away. Remember, you'll never have enough top candidates nor enough money. This situation is likely to get worse as the demand for top talent increases. In the end, never forget it's never about the money, it's always about the career path. More important, make sure your candidates never forget it, either.