According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment has dropped to 7.5% through May 2013. The unemployment rate for candidates 25 years or older with a college degree is under 4%. This recent drop has created a shortage of qualified candidates especially for the highly skilled or technical positions companies are trying to fill. Search firms will be the first to admit: we are now in a candidate driven market.
NexGoal and other search firms must effectively communicate to their clients that in order to secure the top talent, especially for technical and skilled positions, there must be a sense of urgency to move quickly on these candidates once they’ve been found. Project coordinator Angela Berardinelli points to steps recruiters can take to create this environment.
How do search firms effectively communicate to their clients that there must be an urgency to move quickly on qualified candidates once their found?
Trust – One of the biggest keys is creating trust, which comes from creating a partnership with your client and your candidate. Once you have a client interested in the services your firm provides there must be a partnership formed between the client and search firm. “It is our duty to educate the client on the market, along with the ultimate goal of presenting qualified candidates,” says Berardinelli. “Forming a partnership goes beyond signing a contract and hoping that one of your candidates sent to the client will be hired.” It is equally important to develop a trust with the candidate to fully understand what that person is looking for and make sure they achieve their career goals.
Profile the position – Understand the position your client is trying to fill. Berardinelli adds. “We are professionals that know the market and have experienced the ebbs and flows of the recruiting industry. We have the experience in identifying searches that may be difficult to fill. We devote primary resources in finding the right candidate. If a candidate meets all the objectives set forth in the profile of the position then the client needs to streamline the process of making competitive offers quickly.”
Communication – Effectively and constantly communication with both the client and candidate to ensure that all parties are aware of the progress of the search and address hurdles that the recruiter may incur. Berardinelli reminds us that “negative feedback from candidates about the company, compensation or health benefits etc. needs to be communicated back to the client in order for the search to be successful.”
Effective recruiting has evolved from postings on job boards to effective social media in an effort to obtain passive candidates. Most successful search firms have created and instituted their own process of finding, sourcing, and presenting qualified candidates to their clients. These recruiters also realize that it is the passive candidate – the ones not actively searching – that could be the key to their client’s success.
So, how do you take a successful, happy worker, content in their current position, and convert them into a potential candidate taking an interview with your client?
“Again, this goes back to the creation of a partnership between the client and the recruiter,” says Berardinelli. “By creating a partnership, you as the recruiter will understand the client’s culture in and out, benefits, growth plan, etc. within that company. These are the important things that professionals look for in a company. This deeper understanding of the company through this partnership will enable the recruiter to put their sales hat on and tell that passive, but qualified candidate why they need to interview with their client. The ability to have a detailed conversation about the position, and the company, with passive candidates will almost always entice candidates to explore the opportunity. They can’t say no!”
She also points out that search firms need to see the candidates beyond just a fit for a particular job. “For example, if a candidate is not going to move forward after the interview process with your client, make sure to give feedback on the phone with your candidate, because in a candidate market, referrals are a key to the success of a search firm and can shape the reputation for the future. You want to create a good experience for a potential candidate, even as hard as that can be. They could be a great fit for your next position, a referral for a future position, or they can become a Manager and become a potential client in the future.”
The search firm also needs to cultivate trust between the client and the candidate as well. You’ve found that perfect candidate, sold them on considering a career change to go work for another company, and now you need to develop that trust in your client to make the hire.
“Time and time again we have clients that are taking far too long to make a decision on a group of qualified candidates,” says Berardinelli. She relays some of the bad outcomes of this hesitancy:
- A candidate becomes discouraged and thinks there is not a real interest from the company
- Once a “good’ candidate is actively searching multiple offers may come and the candidate makes the decision to go to another company.
- The candidate’s experience with both the search firm and the client will be spoiled
- A prolonged decision by a client to hire a candidate makes the search go “cold.” Typically candidates can see how long positions are posted and will ask why the position has taken so long to fill. The client can go into a perpetual state of search always hoping for a better candidate. Whether it is the first candidate or the 10th when you find the one that meets all your objectives you have to make the offer.
With candidates in the driver seat these days, acting quickly on securing the top talent also requires cultivating a partnership between all parties and making the right, educated decision. “Creating a partnership with all parties involved can only lead to success now and in the future,” concludes Berardinelli. “And eventually, this partnership will help grow your search firm and its reputation.”