One of my clientís recruiters had a candidate that wouldnít tell her where he sent his resume.
What would you do with this candidate?
A. Work with the candidate anyway and hope that you present him to places he didnít send his resume. You never know when you might get lucky and make a placement.
B. Drop him like a hot potato. If he wonít tell you where he sent his resume, then he wonít be up front about other things, too.
C. Try to coax him into giving you the information that you need. Then base your decision on that. How would you deal with this candidate and answer this question?
For me, Iíd probably answer C, and then B if the candidate didnít give me all the information. Perhaps the candidate had a bad experience, dare I say it, with another recruiter. Perhaps the candidate isnít educated about working with recruiters. Or maybe heís just an untrusting sort of person. Do we really know whatís going on in his brain and causing him to think this way? Not at all. So we have to try to get that information from him in a way that keeps both the relationship with the candidate and his interest in working with us moving forward in the direction of a placement. Hereís a phrase that you can use to get important information like this from candidates who are reluctant to give it:
"Jim, the way I work is sort of the way a doctor works. I handle sensitive information all the time. It would be like you going to the doctor and saying that you have a pain, and when he tells you to disrobe, you refuse. He canít help you unless you are willing to give him the information he needs, and in the case of working with your career, Iím not going to do anything unless it will benefit you. Thatís the only way a recruiter can work now days, and itís the only way that I work. Does that make sense?"
This phrase applies to candidates who refuse to tell you what their compensation is, what their dream job is, where they have sent their resumes, or what their job-hunting activity has been. Remember that people only do what is in their own best interests, and itís up to us to communicate things to them from that perspective.
You can then go on to tell the candidate that you are not interested in presenting his information to any organizations where he has sent his information prior because it wouldnít make sense for you to double-up on efforts or get involved in something that he has already started. Explain that you just want to make sure that you are not covering ground that has already been covered.
If the candidate still refuses, say this: "You obviously have a reason for feeling that way. Would you mind sharing it with me?"
Hereís the risk in working with this candidate after he doesnít give you all the information you need: You could present him to a company that already has his information and then you risk losing the fee. But you donít just risk losing a placement, you risk losing face with a prospective client, and that means itís a double loss. You lose out on the time you could have spent working on a candidate with a higher probability of placement potential and also the future business that you would have earned from this client had you done your homework. Sure, you might get lucky, but remember that this game of recruiting is a game of probabilities, not random chance, and that by spending your time in areas that are risky, you open yourself up to the risk of not closing a deal.
Youíd be amazed how easy this works, that once you explain how things work to other people, and do it in a way that conveys their personal benefit, that you increase the odds of compliance.
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.