June 19, 2018

Jobseekers: Sign In | Sign Up Recruiters
  InFocus Newsletter Newsletter archives

Share this article:
Bookmark and Share

Easy Scripts for Candidate Control

Robert Frost wrote that good fences make good neighbors. A clear and constant boundary line helps instill a sense of order, stability and mutual respect.

The same rule applies to your professional relationship with candidates. By setting simple ground rules, you can minimize many of the problems associated with out-of-control behavior. And good fences will help screen out those who might otherwise waste your time. Here are six easy scripts designed to meet your candidate-control objectives:

  1. Explain your function. “I work on behalf of my clients to fill critical positions. If your background is a match or you can make a contribution, I’ll do everything I can to make sure you get interviewed. And if you and the employer are interested in working together, I’ll do everything I can to generate an acceptable offer.”

  2. Manage expectations. “The employer has a thoughtful process for screening, interviewing and capturing high-quality talent, and their goal is to move as quickly as possible. That being said, scheduling conflicts can often gum things up. So if a delay occurs, I want you to be patient and not take it personally. Can you do that?”

  3. Set ground rules. “It’s very important that you and I work together as a team. To get the best results, I’ve got three simple rules. First, you need to give me good information and not tell me what you think I want to hear. Second, if anything changes on your end—an interview with another company, a change in your job function or salary, or even a change of heart—you need to let me know right away. And third, all communication with my client needs to be cleared by me. If there’s something you want to say, email or Tweet, you’ll need to check with me first. Got it?”

  4. Understand your candidate’s motivation. “I’ve found that when a person wants to make a job change, it boils down to one of two reasons: Either there’s something at your current job that drives you crazy and will never get better; or there’s something you desperately want that’ll never be available. Does either of those scenarios describe your situation?”

  5. Assess the risk of a counteroffer. “Let’s suppose you interview with my company and they make you an offer, and in good faith you accept the offer. But when you go to resign, your current company offers you more money to stay. I’m curious: What would you tell them?”

  6. Put the brakes on turn-downs. “I just want to let you know that it’s my client’s policy not to extend an offer until you’ve signaled through me that you’re ready to accept. If there are any sticking points or loose ends—in terms of salary, benefits, duties, responsibilities or reporting relationships—we’ll iron those out before the offer is made. Are you okay with that?”

While it’s impossible to monitor or control everything a candidate wants, thinks or does, it is possible to provide structure to your relationship and command a greater level of respect. That way, you’ll prevent dysfunction, eliminate surprises and, in the process, fill more jobs.

- Bill Radin

Bill Radin is one of the most popular and highly regarded trainers in the recruiting industry, and has trained many of the largest independent and franchised recruiting organizations, including Management Recruiters, Dunhill, Sanford Rose, Snelling and Fortune Personnel. His speaking engagements include the NAPS national conference, the annual Kennedy Conference, and dozens of state association meetings and network conventions, including Top Echelon and