Back in 2009 when the recession began to take its hold on the recruitment industry, sales training was the ‘hot topic’, helping long-term Consultants adjust to the changing market. These Consultants hit and exceeded targets through nurturing the candidate relationship and were suddenly lost at sea without live roles to tempt them with.

So here we are, having emerged from one of the toughest and deepest recessions in our history returning to the dizzy days of ‘candidate being king’. Many of those consultants who understand this market have left for new ventures, hiding away from a role that ‘turned into a sales job’.

I have always been told that there is never quite an equilibrium in recruitment; you’re either candidate rich, job role poor or vice versa. Many of the recruitment companies I worked with in 2015 experienced their best results, as I believe this was the closest we have come to that equilibrium. Sectors across the board were hiring again, tempting candidates who had ‘stayed put’ out of a security, were beginning to consider next steps and dipping their toe into the recruitment waters.

In 2016 employers are working hard to incentivise, develop and engage with their workforce, resulting in more passive candidates. It’s no longer enough to work your way through the hiring process and expect an offer to be accepted – but you know that! Fear not, your clients are only just waking up to these challenges and those who have swung to hire their own recruitment teams are beginning to accept the value in external resources once more.

The non-recruitment industry clients I’m working with all agree that their greatest challenge in 2016 is attracting the right staff. Holding out for them to ‘come along’ is hurting their growth.

79% of candidates stated the job description was the most important information received from their prospective employer.

It’s standard practice to prep a candidate for interview. Done well, I’ve seen candidate preparation increase conversion ratios by 40%.

Typically, I see candidate preparation being carried out by email, confirming interview times, who they will be seeing and perhaps details of how to get there. If this is true for you or your organisation, then you are missing some influential opportunities!

Candidate Mandatory Information & Qualifiers

  • Interview confirmation in writing
  • Clients website address for research and preparation
  • A copy of the CV client is in receipt of (if different from the one they provided)
  • A map/directions to interview location
  • A copy of the client’s job specification, if provided
  • Any other relevant documents relating to the position i.e. company benefits
  • Reconfirm your contact information

A little extra help, can protect them arriving on time, better prepared and standing out from the competition

  • Where should they park; how much? Will they need to allow extra time for pay and display (the right money) or is it pay on exit?
  • If travelling by public transport what’s the nearest station/tube line?
  • LinkedIn profile links for interviewers
  • What are their ‘USP’s’ for the role?

If your candidate hasn’t been on interview for while or it’s the first time they’ve attended an interview through you, book a call/Skype/Facetime to talk through the details and:

  • Run a ‘mock interview’ with them, so they can rehearse them with you and be pitch perfect on the day
  • Manage any reservations the candidate has at this stage
  • Confirm if there are other interviews planned or pending a decision
  • Discuss availability for next stage interview
  • Agree the arrangements for the post interview: this needs to be more than “call me when you’ve left”

Remember candidates in job hunting mode are focussing on getting the offer. It’s only when the offer comes that they start to question if they really want it and can they really do it? Self-doubt in the less confident may creep in.

For the first time in a good while candidates are realising they have a choice out there, help them make choices based on their qualified reasons for moving and motivators other than money.

Consistently apply these steps and you’ll replace ‘flaky candidates’ with candidates who are more likely to accept your clients offer. At the very least you’ll build greater rapport, knowledge and commitment with your candidates.

Tracy Filler

Director –  Willow Training Services Ltd

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