It’s never a “Slam Dunk”July 11, 2016

….and “One Hit Wonders” are rare.

Recruiting is tough. It takes a ton of time getting to know your clients, understanding their businesses and finding out what they are looking for in an ideal hire. If I were to “do the math”, the hours it takes to get close with any given client can be in the 100s, or even 1000s. It can be even more challenging developing these relationships with new customers, who are essential to growing, or even maintaining, your recruiting “business”.

So, how do you succeed in consistently filling challenging positions?

Twenty years of recruiting has taught me what successfully closes a search is essentially a pipeline of candidates. It’s hard to hire. And if a hiring manager has the chance to meet only one or two qualified applicants, actually finishing the search can be close to impossible.** Things go wrong. References don’t check. People take counteroffers. Spouses don’t approve. Relocation won’t work. The list goes on as to why this or that candidate did not work out. Then, the hiring managers are back to square one. How can they do their day job and produce the candidates necessary to grow their team? This is where Recruiters add value. Generating a pipeline of qualified applicants is, in itself, a job. It takes time, focus and energy. And if you, a Recruiter, are investing the time, why not bring the search to the “finish line” and make your client happy? Doing this often takes presenting your customer an array of qualified candidates until they are able to make a decision and hire one of them.

When you begin the search, you may think you’ve found the “perfect” person for the position after a few calls and emails. That candidate may begin fast-tracking through the interview process and move towards reference check. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily going to get an offer, or accept it. Stopping the recruiting process then, or getting lax about your efforts can be career suicide. As “How to become a Rainmaker” says, “earthquakes don’t count”, and until you have a candidate that has accepted an offer and shown up for work, the search is not complete. Make your activity count!

In order to succeed:

  • Produce a pipeline of qualified candidates for your client.
  • Help your client hire one of the “Rock-Star” candidates you produce.

Create momentum in this process. You need to work with speed and accuracy in producing a flow of qualified candidates. When you think you have a “finalist”, find another. Keep your client engaged with quality candidate submittals. Believe me, they will tell you when they are “tired” of interviewing. Many CEOs and managers are under immense pressure to hire the “right” person, and once you’ve produced a pipeline, ask your client “how you’re doing”, and if they feel they’ve see enough talent. If you get stuck with places to look, regroup with your customer. But: keep producing candidates up until the end, until an offer is actually made and accepted. Make sure your candidate shows up for their first day on the job, and check back in after a few weeks to see how they’re doing. Also: keep your “backup” candidates “warm” just in case you need to call them again. Sometimes you may even get lucky and the client will hire two of your candidates because you produced so many A-players! The best way to close out a search is to NEVER STOP recruiting for it until YOUR candidate shows up for their first day of work!


**Please note I’m not talking about managers that hire people they worked with in the past, that they “know” will accept their offer. Eventually this talent pool runs out for everyone.