21 January 2015

Are you about to waste another year underutilising your candidates?

As you are getting back into work at the start of the calendar year, take the time to research and write down the answers to the following questions:
 
  • How many candidates did you interview in 2014?
  • How many of these candidates did you refer to a job?
  • How many of these referred candidates were interviewed by a client at least once?
  • How many candidates did you place into a job?
  • Of those candidates that you did not refer to a job how many did you regularly stay in contact with?
 
I suspect that if you accurately compiled the answers, you might be a little bit surprised at how much dead time you wasted on interviewing candidates that you never, or rarely, spoke to post-interview.
 
Doing this exercise is at the heart of understanding your candidate utilisation rate, which is the number of candidates you referred divided by the total candidates you interviewed, expressed as a percentage eg 237 interviews, 112 different candidates referred equals a candidate utilisation rate of forty seven per cent.
 
In other words, in this example, a majority of candidates you interviewed were never referred to a single client or prospect.
 
Wow, what a waste of time and talent.
 
One hundred and twenty five candidate interviews effectively became ‘dead time’, equating to about four working weeks of your year when you calculate interview preparation, interviewing, database entry etc.
 
The worst thing isn’t so much the wasted time, as bad as that is, it’s the candidate expectations that have not been met. Certainly some candidates will have secured a new position before you could make a referral (certainly less than five per cent) and some will have been deemed to have been unsuitable and some will interview well but subsequently have unsatisfactory references. However a majority of candidates will be adequate candidates that you failed to act on because they were never good enough to make a short list of yours.
 
This damages your credibility (personal brand, if you like).
 
It also damages your company’s brand.
 
You only have to read Greg Savage’s recent blog Calling a candidate to tell them there is no news IS news to the candidate to understand how recruiters, generally, are very poor at managing candidate expectations and associated communication.
 
Here’s some suggestions as to what you might do differently to distinguish yourself in a positive way from the ‘recruiter norm’ and improve your candidate ultilisation rate:

  1. Be more rigourous with your phone screening.
  2. Decline to interview general registrations (ie those candidates for which there is no suitable current vacancy) unless they are, after a thorough phone screen, a candidate you are excited to meet because they appear to be that good.
  3. At the end of each interview, be specific about how you can, or cannot, help the candidate with their job search. Be direct and honest; candidates respect your honesty even if they may not respond that well to the message when you deliver it to them face-to-face.
  4. If you are unsure about a candidate then reference check them as soon as possible. For those candidates who are immediately available and push back on reference checks, don’t refer them to any jobs.
  5. In you intend to reverse market the candidate, ask them to provide to you, within 48 hours, the names of six companies they would be interested to be represented to and the names of any companies they do not wish to be represented to. If they fail to do this simple task then they aren’t very serious about their job search and you shouldn’t waste your time reverse marketing them.
  6. Whatever commitments you make to candidates about assisting their job search, record them and ensure you fulfill on these commitments and be in regular contact with the candidate to update them on your progress.
I guarantee that if you acted on all six of the above suggestions, you would improve your results significantly.
 
What have you got to lose, other than your reputation?
 
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