Qualifying Your Candidate's Current Situation
One you have sourced your active and passive candidates it is time to begin interviewing and screening your candidates. I think a good and natural place to begin is by qualifying your candidate’s current situation. Uncovering and qualifying your candidate’s current situation refers to the recruiter understanding the candidate's current employment status including:
- Are they employed or unemployed?
- If employed, full-time, part-time or contract? If unemployed, are they seeking work
- When are they available (to begin working for you) and why?
- How satisfied & content or, how unhappy and discontent is the candidate with their current employment status including:
- Their job role?
- Quality of work?
- Commute (to and from home)?
- Pay/salary and benefits?
- Company and culture?
- Career path including learning and development?
Common questions for recruiters to ask in order to qualify their candidate’s current situation include:
- Has he or she given his or her current employer notice? If so, when? Why or why not?
- How long has the candidate been actively seeking new work? Why or why not?
- Where is the candidate in his or her current search process?
- Has another recruiter submitted the candidate’s resume anywhere, and if so, when?
- Has the candidate begun the interview process elsewhere? If so when and why?
- Is the candidate waiting on a job offer? If so, for how long?
- Has the candidate received any job offers?
- Has the candidate been sitting on a job offer for a week but not made a decision and if so, why not?
These are all real-world scenarios that recruiter’s face. These questions really boil down to getting to know your candidate. Your ability to uncover and understand where your candidates stand in their search process and why is the essence of recruiters qualifying the candidate’s “current situation.”
You may have also noticed from my sample qualifying questions that simply uncovering this information is not good enough. As a recruiter it is also critically important that you understand the ‘why’ behind the answers to each of these questions because more important than qualifying your candidate’s current situation is understanding why their situation is what it is. Uncovering the ‘why’ will reveal key insights into how your candidate thinks and what is important to them. This information will enable you shape a personalized recruiting strategy for each candidate and ask more effective qualifying questions to ensure your candidates accept your job offers. If you fail to do these things however you will in all likelihood struggle to deliver candidates on a consistent basis.
A key component to qualifying your candidates current situation rests squarely on your ability to master the skill of disarming. When recruiters fail to disarm their candidates and make them feel comfortable in being transparent in sharing private, sensitive information regarding their current situation they withhold information. You know you have failed to disarm your candidate when you start see behaviors like:
- Candidates failing to do what they said they would do
- Candidates failing to return your calls or emails
- Recruiters learning of new information (about their candidate) late in the IT recruitment process such as a counter offer or other/new job opportunities the candidate is considering
Finally, you will need to listen carefully to the tonality in which your candidates answer your current situation qualifying questions. If the candidate’s words tell you one thing, but their tone or attitude tells you something else or sends a mixed message, you need to probe further. This should be a red flag! There is no need to start qualifying the candidates relevant experience and technical skills if you identify red flags regarding their current situation. Ignoring "red flags" when qualifying the candidate's current situation almost ALWAYS blow up deals.
Understanding and qualifying your candidate’s current situation as early in the process as possible is crucial to effectively managing your time and avoid wasting time on candidates you will never close.
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.