As recruiters, there are several things we need to do our jobs. Decent job descriptions, realistic salary ranges, candidates who do not tell lies, managers who can make a hiring decision, etc. etc.
However, there is one thing that trumps all in the process. I’ve often referred to it as the currency in which mostly all recruiters and talent acquisitions folk trade on a daily basis.
Simply put that item is access.
Now before you cry out that I’m completely full of crap, indulge me for a bit. I’m willing to bet that this scenario has played out once or twice in your recruiting career:
Recruiter 1:“Hey Joe. What happened to that req you were working on last week? You looked incredibly stressed out; did you manage to find someone?”
Recruiter2:“See, what had happened was the hiring manager stopped talking to me because they were too busy with their project. Something about, like milestones or something, I don’t know, but they’re not returning my calls or emails.”
Ok, so I’m not a screenwriter, but I’m willing to bet that this event has happened to us more than we’d like to admit.
The cure to this problem? Access.
In my past corporate life, I would always close out my intake meetings with a reminder to my hiring managers that we were in this together and needed to close the req as quickly as possible. If I sent them something, it needed to be reviewed immediately. Additionally, if I went by their office to discuss the situation, we needed to chat immediately. I needed to have access to their time, just as much as they needed to speak to me.
This also worked with candidates. I completely understood if they couldn’t speak to me until lunch time, or even after hours. Hell, the further along the candidate went in the interview process, the more access they had to me. That’s how you lockdown and close the candidate.
My best story about this subject is when the CFO was in the treasurer’s office. Treasurer had an open req for a senior director and I needed some firm commitments from them to nail down interview times. Treasurer sees me and I’m immediately waved into the office. Short story long, we end up discussing several items as well as setting interview dates/times etc.
All of this drove a certain manager who sat outside the office a bit crazy. See, that manager and I didn’t always agree on certain things and when he looked up from his desk to see the CFO and treasurer chatting with me, well, let’s just say his look was priceless, and I just smiled.
It’s important to remember that while we trade on access every day, it is a very fickle currency that has some unique properties. First off, it’s perishable. Use too much, and you become a pain. Too little, and you may be marginalized. However, if you strike a balance and use access the right way, and in the right amount, stuff gets done.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go darken someone’s door…