We know that no two candidates are alike. And yet recruiters often get lazy and use the identical recruiting script for everyone, as if each candidate were a clone of the other.
To combat the cookie-cutter approach to recruiting, remember: There are three types of candidates, each with their own set of expectations as to what a recruiter's role should be. Since each type of candidate responds to a different recruiting approach, your job is to find the style that fits the need.
For example, the relationship-driven candidate is like a free agent, and expects the recruiter to act as a career representative. This type of candidate responds best to the "Tell me what you want, and I'll call you when the right job appears" script.
Relationship-driven candidates are typically those for whom a variety of jobs are readily available, such as IT professionals and mid-level accounting types. Due to the high demand in this milieu, a highly skilled candidate can often be sent---on short notice---to two or three companies at a time, once the person has been added to your inventory. By understanding the candidate's needs in advance, you'll be able to save time and increase rapport by making a more perfect match.
By contrast, the situation-driven candidate sees himself as a problem-solver in search of a distinct position worthy of his expertise. These higher-level candidates are typically difficult to inventory and place, due to their unique skills and higher salary expectations. Usually, they're approached in response to an industry-specific search assignment in which generic candidates are inappropriate.
Situation-driven candidates respond best to a storyboard approach, in which you describe a compelling staffing dilemma. The more detail you know about the needs of the client (and the consequences of the job remaining unfilled), the more you'll stimulate the interest of the candidate.
Finally, there's the specification-driven candidate.
He has little interest in "bonding" with the recruiter, and just wants to know the facts: Who's the company? What's the position? How much does it pay? Your relationship with this type of candidate will often be much like a vendor or supplier, but if you've got the right job at the right time, you'll stand a good chance of making a placement. When dealing with this type of candidate, it's best to use a classified ad script, in which you outline the job specifications and benefits clearly and quickly. Be careful not to beat around the bush, or your candidate will quickly lose interest and---poof!---evaporate in mid-sentence.
Candidates, like the rest of us, march to their own drummers. What's important is that you play the tune they like when you first make contact---or adjust your presentation to suit their preference. Otherwise, you'll make a lot of calls with little or no results.
- Bill Radin, President