June 22, 2018

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Candidates Lost in Time

When it comes to motivating a hiring manager or internal recruiter to move on your submittal, remember the catchy saying…."Time kills all deals".

One of the most frustrating things to a recruiter is the lag time between finding and submitting a good candidate and getting meaningful feedback through the screening process. Think about it: how often have you taken a request for talent and spent weeks doing the sourcing, pre-screening, preparing and presenting your candidate's case? Now comes the exciting part, right? Your hiring manger or internal recruiter calls you right away, excited about your candidate and asks when they can come in for an interview. Yeah, right!

The problem is that it rarely goes like that. You usually end up waiting days or weeks for someone to follow up with you, share their excitement and invite the candidate in for an interview. Why is it that a busy HM or IR, that wants to fill their open position as quickly as possibly, takes so long to get back to you on a candidate?

Could it be they are really not as impressed as you? Maybe they disagree that the candidate had a good case? Maybe they are really busy and needs some time to get this task completed? Perhaps the motivation to hire has slipped to the back burner. Or they just need a little push from a professionally aggressive recruiter.

Here are some tips on speeding up the client screening process:

  • Verbally present your candidate to the HM or IR

    There's no substitute for the energy and enthusiasm that a good recruiter can add to the equation. Excitement can be contagious. Spark motivation in an HM/IR to set up an interview with a candidate.

  • Follow up within 24 hours of submission

    Call to clarify your position and make your candidate's case. After all, if you're not excited about him/her, why should the HM/IR be?

  • Make sure to focus on the HM/IR needs, not your own

    If you come across as desperate, selfish or uninformed, the deal will break.

  • Stay in constant contact with the candidate during this critical period

    You can use the information you learn about them to expand your case and motivate the HM/IR to move on them.

  • Check a reference and use this positive information to get things moving

    This is a powerful way to bring credible case material into the equation and can motivate the HM/IR to move on your candidate.

  • Keep the HM/IR updated of any changes in status of the candidate

    If the candidate is progressing on another position, or on another company opportunity, let your HM/IR know the fuse is getting shorter.

  • Go for the "No"

    This is a very effective technique to get a decision made. If you have tried all of the above and the HM/IR is still not moving on your candidate, you might try to "take away" the candidate by withdrawing them from the process. If the HM/IR tries to stop you, then they are truly interested. If they do not try to stop you, then perhaps they were not interested enough in the first place to move on the candidate. Either way, you will arrive at a final decision.

  • Time kills all deals

    Good recruiters know this line and live it every day. If the candidates are not moving through the screening process in a timely manner, chances increase the deal will fall apart.

Remember that the most effective recruiters understand how their HM/IR thinks, how they work and what is going on in their business. They set expectations of the process and apply the right amount of persuasive energy without breaking the relationship

The next time you submit a candidate for which you have made a good case, use these tips and watch the screening process time speed up!

- Scott Beardsley

Scott Beardsley ( is co-founder and vice president of recruitment services at Q4B, a recruitment solutions and consulting firm specializing in recruitment process outsourcing. He developed the processes behind Q4B's recruitment solutions. He has 16 years of experience and is an author, speaker, and consultant.