We have all heard this phrase before – “If you want something you never had, then you got to do something you have never done.” Then there is the flipside to the coin where “all good things happen to those who wait.” As a time-starved recruiter, how far should you persist with a candidate before you draw a line and move on to the next best alternative?
Case in point – so I took on a recruiting assignment recently that came with a very specific request. My client, a company that maintains truck transmissions, had only one candidate (let’s call him Bill) in mind and my mission was to convince Bill, their purple squirrel, to accept the offer. I thought I had a reasonable chance of making this happen, as I usually do.What should you do when you meet a candidate who's just not that into you? Click To Tweet
Bill and I met at a nice little café in Port Melbourne, together with my client, where I delivered the one-page proposition and explained how the job would be a perfect fit. I had never felt more like an agent in my life. I also varied the offer on the fly in response to Bill’s comments to try and make it more attractive to him. It was almost a perfect proposition for someone in his position. He was intrigued but not convinced and eventually declined.
3 more conversations ensued after that meeting where I tried to get Bill across the line but he said no each time. However, he was willing to take on a casual consulting role as long as there was no conflict of interests with his current employer. That was really only a half-win for me and not the outcome I was looking for.
It eventually got to a point where I find myself questioning the virtue of my persistence. Should I start looking for alternatives? How do you know where and when to draw the line under a candidate who is just not that into you?
Here are some tips to help you decide:
Your candidate’s goals and your client’s personal mission don’t match up
Your candidate will not accept the job if his or her value proposition does not match and if the goals are different from the hiring organisation’s. These days, candidates place great emphasis on where they should be investing their time, and they are very discerning about the type of work they do.
So ask yourself if your client’s value proposition matches that of your candidate. Does it require the candidate to travel more than he or she would like, does it match his or her level of ambition? How you answer these questions will help you determine whether you should persist with the candidate.
For Bill, he has extremely strong loyalty for the company he has worked for for 40 years and is in the process of winding down towards retirement. He is essentially his own boss and his employer has complete trust in the way he runs the business. My client requires Bill to take on more responsibilities, including transferring of skills and to be on call to support clients, something which he has expressed reluctance to do.
However, I gave it a good go because Bill had mentioned that he has never received a proposition like this before and I was confident that I had a proposal that will sway his mind. The upshot of this was Bill provided me a shortlist of potential candidates who could do the job under his mentorship – which is not ideal but reasonable.
You are constantly getting knock backs
Is your candidate giving you the negative all the time?
Throughout the process, I persisted with Bill because he is the purple squirrel my client had identified. I tried to be flexible and accommodating and went as far as modifying the offer on the fly to try and get him onboard, but each time he came back with the same answer.
As a successful recruiter I believe strongly that if a candidate says no the first time, it could mean you have not fully understood his or her needs. However, if you are still unable to get the candidate over the line after multiple rounds of trying, you need to look at alternatives – which in my case I convinced Bill to take on a casual consulting role to mentor the other candidate we hired.Where to draw a line under a candidate who's just not into you? Click To Tweet
You aren’t able to visualise a positive outcome
Spend some time contemplating the realisation of your goal in detail. Can you clearly picture the candidate taking on the job? Can you see yourself succeeding and feeling good about your success? If you can’t, it is then a good idea to reassess your commitment to getting that candidate.
Bill had actually admitted that he has close to zero motivation to switch jobs and only agreed to meet with me after I had convinced him that he had nothing to lose. I was fighting an uphill battle from the get go.
Fear of missing out on that perfect candidate should never be a factor in taking the right decision for your client. Knowing when to move on with your search is a requirement for success so embrace it, be prepared and do not be afraid go for it.
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