Talent Acquisition Timebound

How to Spot the Naughty Elves (Candidates) in Recruitment

I’m sorry if it sounds like this blog is written by someone who doesn’t like Christmas. Actually, I love this time of year; all the sparkly lights, “good will to all wo/men”, a chance to be generous, kind, to share the Christmas spirit especially if it is a large G+T version….

I spend a lot of the year educating people (through how I personally operate and being more explicit to vocalise them to some) in how to be a recruiter with integrity. I am appalled by some of the stories I hear from collaborative R2Rs I advocate, you know who YOU are… I have had a few horror stories myself over the years although it has to be said, as time goes on, I am getting better at spotting them and you know what, I avoid anyone I think will display the rather unsavoury side of the stereo typical recruiter. (NB. my candidates are recruiters as I am a R2R so for the purpose of this story, I make the candidate any job role, not necessarily a recruitment candidate)

So I have decided to impart my experiences of R2R (since 2002) as my Christmas gift to you all.

How to spot a naughty candidate and avoid wasting your time:

  • Set small commitment tasks: simply after the f2f interview, ask them to call you the next day with their reflections, questions, thoughts on companies briefed on. You would be shocked how many don’t bother so you have to ask yourself, are you going to spend YOUR time chasing THEM? Do they make the amendments to their CV you have asked them to? Ask them to complete it by a set time. Don’t chase them. See if they chase you up on it.
  • Exclusivity: it is so easy if you can get a candidate to work with your exclusively. You can ringfence your competitors, you can pretty much guarantee you will place them (only if they ARE good!) and you can cherry pick the best companies/jobs for them. Win win for everyone: you, the candidate and your client(s). Asking for a period of time means they can be discerning with you- it puts you under a little pressure but I promise you, it shows you, the recruiter, HOW keen they are to be discerning. If they are registered with everyone, I beg you, the recruiter, to make a wise choice. If they are shopping everywhere, you are so unlikely to place them. So if you ask and they won’t give it- I would advise you tell them you can’t help them.
  • Honesty: ever since I started out in recruitment in 1998, I have always been honest in my style- never hiding things up my sleeve- and I expect the same of anyone I partner with. So when it comes to disclosing WHO ELSE you are speaking to, or have sent your CV to, if you won’t tell me, I can’t represent you. Simple as. How do I know what you are buying into, what concerns you have, what you like about them- Surely if you are open and honest about which other companies know about your job search, I will make sure I better them? The caveat with this is I appreciate when dealing with executive level, there is sometimes a shroud of confidentiality about a senior role, however, I have built MY reputation on discretion so you have to prove that worth to your candidate. If you blow my trust by being dishonest, guarded, misrepresenting anything about you or your background, I won’t represent you.
  • Prompt feedback: do you have to chase your candidates for feedback? If YOU have to do the calling to see how it is gone, I would suggest that your candidate either hasn’t been briefed properly to do so, if junior, or is actually so complacent that they don’t actually care. I am renowned with my clients for calling very promptly, despite this, I do allow reflection time. My point is, if a candidate doesn’t call me after their interview, I assume they are not committed.
  • One strike…? How many chances do you give your candidates? I personally give two. I think giving the benefit of the doubt is a rather Christian attribute (even thought I am actually Jewish!) but once that benefit has been broken once, I rarely forgive again.

How forgiving of candidates are you? Is your market candidate led like mine is? Do you pander to your candidates or do you control them properly? As ever, I love hearing your thoughts. I hope my advice has been useful and if you have any further suggestions, feel free to comment!

Whether you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, both or neither, enjoy this festive time of year. Surround yourself with your loved ones, take time to reflect on how YOU behave and set yourself some substantial and measurable goals, not only in relation to revenue and performance, but also HOW you operate as a recruiter too.

By Lysha Holmes

Lysha Holmes is founding director of Qui Recruitment established in 2005 to completely challenge the traditionally poorly perceived service offered by other Rec 2 Rec providers. Lysha as Qui Recruitment is dedicated to representing the best talent to the best suited roles, focussing on placing recruiters of all levels in a candidate led service across the NW.