Sandra and Kelly have interesting thoughts based on the three questions my young friend asked me. Yes, this recruiter is clueless when it comes to the recruiting world – maybe because he came from a very large firm where he only sourced candidates. And by that I mean recruited them for one particular position and never talked with them again – once in the system, they belonged to the recruiter not the person that sourced them. When he left he was amazed that there was actually more to recruiting than just calling someone up and enticing them with a position. Personally, I am amazed that he doesn’t ask me about clients, he seems to already have the background to source candidates for positions; but I believe he may need some clients with loyalty – but maybe he thinks he’ll build a practice by marketing candidates to potential clients. I haven’t asked him as this was his idea to ask me questions – didn’t ask me what I thought he should be doing or asking.
My initial reaction to his questions was one of surprise, as I see candidates as one of the core parts of any recruiting business.
My answer to each question was as follows:
How do you go about prospecting for candidates?
1. I pick up the telephone and start talking to people. I start with my contacts in that field and move closer to the actual people that have the qualifications necessary.
What is your best approach to contact candidates and start the foundation for a strong relationship?
1. Every person you talk with or meet as a potential candidate is a potential client. Everyone. Maybe not today, but at some time in the future. You treat every person you talk with or meet as if they are going to be your client. You find out as much as you can about them as a candidate to see if they are a fit for your current client always remembering that they could be a client in the future. I never burn bridges. If I am referred to someone that is not a fit for my search assignment – or someone who is – I circle back to the referrer, thank them and let them know my thoughts regarding the fit with my current client. I always keep the person I am talking to in the front of my mind as talking to them is the most important action I am doing at that time. I also write short handwritten thank you notes to everyone that has referred someone to me, whether they worked out for any client or not.
How can I map out my practice to candidates I’ve never met to show them I am different than other recruiters?
1. Truly, this question blows my mind. If you have to take time to explain that you or your firm is different from the 100+ others firms/recruiters that called that day you have already lost. You show that you are different by being different – consistently. By asking intelligent questions, by not asking “everyday recruiter” questions. By asking questions about their goals, their plans, their desires, their life plans. By being courteous. By showing an interest in them instead of being interested in yourself. I don’t talk about my firm or myself unless I am asked and then it is short. I let people I talk with know that I am interested in them and what interests them. I am an afterthought; they are the main reason I am talking with them.