May 25, 2018

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Setting (Great) Expectations

What do your candidates really want?

We assume that our candidates know exactly what to expect from us, but that's not always the case.

Whenever I hear complaints that recruiters don't lift a finger to help job seekers -- or at the other extreme, become so insanely zealous that they indiscriminately blast their resumes around the world -- I know there has been a failure to communicate.

On the flip side, it's the same failure that leads recruiters to gripe about the lack of cooperation or even outright interference on the part of candidates. Relationships always get strained when ground rules or expectations are never clearly established.

So what can you do to make sure you and your candidates aren't rubbing against each other like two dry sponges?

Scripting Your Intentions
I've found it useful to state clearly in the very beginning exactly what you can and cannot do to help your candidates, and to outline your respective roles in the placement process. Since no two recruiters or candidates are exactly alike, it would be unfair for the candidate to compare your style to that of another recruiter, or to expect your candidate to follow rules he never knew existed.

To add clarity -- and to establish a more cooperative relationship -- try using a script like this (modified, of course, to fit your methods):

Mr. or Ms. Candidate, your background is very impressive. But before we begin to work together, let me explain exactly what I do, how I work, and what you can expect from me. Here are the main points:

  • The recruiter's role. My job is to fill positions. I'll do everything I can to help you, but my primary obligation is to the hiring company, since they're the ones who write my paycheck.

  • Making the match. If your background fits an open position, I'll present your qualifications with the intention of setting up an interview. If the situation is appropriate, I may also explore other positions within the company, or at different companies, to give you as many options as possible.

  • Confidentiality. Anything we discuss about the hiring company is strictly confidential. I'll expect you not to disclose any information about where you've interviewed, who you've interviewed with, or any details from your interview. In return, I'll be sure to get your permission before I disclose any information about you to prospective employers.

  • Accuracy and disclosure. I'll assume that everything you tell me about yourself is factual, including your skills, education, work history and salary. I won't make any claims regarding your background that I know aren't true, nor will I disclose anything about you that you ask me to keep confidential, as long as your request doesn't interfere with my ability to do my job. If anything about your employment or job search status changes, you'll need to let me know right away.

  • Coaching. As a personnel consultant, I'll do whatever I can to help you prepare for interviews and improve the quality of your presentation. I may also make suggestions regarding the content and appearance of your resume, but I won't make any changes until I've discussed them with you.

  • Brokering the deal. If you and the employer are interested in working together, I'll work with both parties to put together an acceptable offer. Once the offer is accepted, I'll give you some tips on how to make a graceful exit from your current job and a smooth transition to your new one.

These are the basic guidelines. Is there anything I've said so far that isn't clear or that you don't feel comfortable with?

By setting simple ground rules in the very beginning, you'll avoid a multitude of problems that typically arise whenever roles or expectations are fuzzy.

-Bill Radin Bill Radin is a top-producing recruiter whose innovative books, tapes, CDs and training seminars have helped thousands of recruiting professionals and search consultants achieve peak performance and career satisfaction. Bill’s extensive experience makes him an ideal source of techniques, methods and ideas for rookies who want to master the fundamentals—or veterans ready to jump to a higher level of success.