So the candidate is interested and qualified and motivated to get to the next step in the process. You've already qualified his or her background and have determined that it could be a possible fit. What next?
Clarify the expecations and roles that you will play in the rest of the process. Say it this way:
"Joe, from here on out I am a third party intermediary. My job is to facilitate this process of discovery one step at a time, and to make sure that this is something that will work for both you and my client. And if we go through this process and decide that it doesn't work for either one of you and that it's not going to be a good fit, I'm fine with that. I just want to know about any concerns that you have so that you can make the decision that benefits you the most."
Congratulations. You have just become a pressure valve for the candidate. Don't be a pressure builder. Be a pressure valve and release the pressure that the candidate anticipates will be heaped upon him. By focusing purely on the contribution of this opportunity to the candidate, the candidate will follow your lead. Remember that the candidate doesn't care about your needs...only his. Let's just admit that reality and leverage it to our advantage (and ultimately the client's advantage and the candidate's advantage.) So help the candidate do what's really in his or her best interests, and hopefully that will be to join your client's organization.
Explain what will happen in this process. Keep it simple. Nobody cares about your gazillion-step search process. Keep it to three steps instead of thirty-three so the candidate doesn't start drooling on his desk because he fell asleep when you got to the part of the resignation.
Explain it this way:
"Joe, there are three steps to my process. There is the presentation phase, the interview phase, and the transition phase. Let me tell you about each of those." And then go on to tell the candidate that you will present his resume and sizzle sheet to the client (five quantifiable reasons why the client should hire him) and that you will then prep him on how to interview effectively once the client is interested. Then explain to the candidate that you will get involved in the salary negotiation and that you will be involved in helping the candidate prepare for the resignation process.
Ask the candidate if he or she has any questions at this point. Once their questions are answered, ask him this: "So at this point, Joe, is there anything that would keep you from going forward, talking with my client, and possibly joining their company in the next sixty days?" And sit quietly and listen. Listen to what he or she is saying, and what he or she is not saying. Keep your ears open for any nuances in the response. Pay attention to hesitations and subtle coughs and throat clearing noises and stalls in the candidate's answer.
Wrap it up with this question: "Let's just say that my client likes you, you like my client, and you get an offer and accept it and turn your notice in. How would your employer respond to your notice?" What you have done is begun the first of the four counteroffer preps.
Read last week's Step One
Copyright © 2005 Scott T. Love
Scott Love improves the performance of recruiters and the margins of search firms and staffing agencies. His training website, www.recruitingmastery.com, has become one of the largest free internet training sites for the industry. To have him show your staff how to produce more than they thought possible, call him at 828-225-7700.