Recruitment: The Candidate Opt-out

Anyone who has spent a reasonable amount of time in the HR/recruiting industry invariably will have been on the wrong end of candidate opting out of an application process. There are of course a multitude of reasons why this might happen, a lot of which are outside of our control, but sadly in a large amount of cases, accountability rests on the shoulders of the agent/HR pro and in a lot of cases this can have significant ramifications. For example, in agency-land the client can quickly lose faith in an agent’s ability to close the recruitment loop. In internal talent acquisition you will be held accountable for the cost associated with the time spent resulting in a no-hire etc. Not to mention the pounding your reputation could take from the candidate or client perspective if it a regular occurrence. Sadly in HR and recruitment the candidate opt-out is an evil that will always play a part in our role but if we ensure adequate focus on the quality of our communication and efficiency of our processes, the risk will be largely minimized. It’s not rocket science by any means, but it’s good to not lose sight of the basics as our experience grows.

Clarity is King: Grey areas are the mortal enemy of any recruiter. When talking to a candidate, the more details that go undiscussed or the more inaccurate the information you give the applicant, the higher the no-hire’o’meter will rise. When talking to a candidate, if you get the impression that any details you’ve divulged about the remit, remuneration package, location or pertinent skills managed to raise the candidate’s eyebrows and perhaps caused un-easiness, DRILL DOWN!. Don’t be happy with getting a half-hearted approval to flick a CV to a client/hiring manager. Ultimately all you will be doing is facilitating the beginning of a fact finding mission for the candidate (which they will opt out of as soon as any facts they don’t like arise) as opposed to offering up all the facts and ascertaining that they are your/clients next superstar. Yes, your CV submittal rate will be higher but your conversion rate will stink.

Recruit in a timely manner, without lacking substance. Anyone who has read my previous blog post (Why the long……process) will know my thoughts on drawn out, lengthy recruitment processes. IMO, if a recruiter or HR pro must ask a candidate to go through a 6 stage process in order for them to ascertain suitability, or if they lack the ability to consult properly with their clients/hiring managers around why this is not needed, then there is some serious training required. Personally, I’m a fan of a robust phone screening process followed by a panel interview or a well put together 2 stage interview process. Keeping in mind the candidate experience, neither option would be arduous but will give more than adequate time to ensure a full screening process.

As I said, by no means rocket science but I’d suggest just keeping these two things in mind will largely contribute to overall recruitment success rate and conversion ratios.

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Recruitment: The Candidate Opt-out

Competency or Experience?

We recruiters and HR professionals are lucky enough to be able to interview and interact with all levels of professional, which I believe to be one of the most alluring and enjoyable parts of what we do. This also means that depending on your interview questioning, we are made privy almost on a daily basis to information pertaining to the hiring and firing habits of other organisations that many professionals have interviewed at or have been employed by before.

A few days ago I met with a candidate for a position we were looking to fill. We discussed his background, what got him into IT, a little about the role we were looking to fill and then we went on to discuss an experience he had during a recruitment process that resonated with me. I thought I’d share it as I’m curious to know how common it is. He described a scenario where he knew 100% that he was capable of doing everything required in a position he applied for. He ensured he knew as much as possible about the remit of the future successful candidate so as to be sure that he was prepared for the interview. He was so sure of this role being the position he wanted in order to take his career on is ideal career path and was even more convinced that he was more than capable of doing it, even if it was a step up. More-over, when he described the role to me and we discussed his skills, approach, style of working, style of management and stakeholder management ability, I was completely convinced too of his ability to bring great value to the position. He went to the interview, he had a well-structured and strong answer for each of the questions asked and realised that even after a discussion with the team from the prospective employer, he had exactly the right idea of what would have been expected of him. He didn’t get the job. The reason he was given is that he hadn’t been in a role at the same level in the past and therefore it was deemed that he was not the “right fit”.

Frankly, I find it quite worrying when thinking back over discussions with many people over the years, the amount of interviewers/organisations that are scared to make a hire based on the candidate not having had exact experience in a position, instead of going down a line of screening deep enough to find out if someone has all the necessary skills to do it. We work in an age where every organisation wants to use buzzwords of being “evolutionary”, “agile” and “dynamic” to describe themselves but when it comes to their recruitment practises, it seems many are still archaic and not willing to go the extra mile to dig deep and find the true gems of talent that cannot be found by reading interview questions off of a script. The professionals that are going to shape our tomorrow are the professionals that don’t think like the masses of today. How far you are from the outcomes that you are working towards or the goals you are looking to achieve will not change by looking back to the way things have been done before. To quote Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome”.

Competency or Experience?