Talent Acquisition

Candidates are King: How to Maximize Your Most Placeable People

If you’ve experienced a candidate-driven market, you’ll know that it means great candidates can pick and choose between employers, which can be difficult for a recruiter to manage. For those of you who are familiar with this scenario, I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate that it feels like it’s getting harder and harder to find good candidates, so when you do, make sure you avoid sending them to your jobs page alone. this requires a complete change of mindset, from ‘working a job’ to ‘working a candidate’.

Don’t wait for jobs to fall on your desk; go out and find them, with the aim of selling in your stellar candidate. This is also a great way for you to open doors with new clients. If you don’t do this you risk the candidate being sent to another company by another agency and totally missing out on new business. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to find them the right role while providing a high level of service. This will mean that even if you don’t place them, when they are looking again in the future you will be at the top of their list to contact! With every good candidate you work with, make sure you do these things (as a minimum):

Match their interests to available opportunities

Make sure you’re not pigeon-holing a candidate into your live jobs. Ask about their passions and career goals – work with them to help them identify a list of available opportunities in the area and send out their CV to other colleagues. When discussing whether there are any companies that the candidate is particularly interested in, make sure you explain to them the benefit of having a third party recruiter proactively approach the company/s on their behalf. I would always recommend doing this in person or over Skype as you can have a detailed conversation (perhaps suggest new industries/job ideas).

Use Google Maps to do a skills-based search

Based on their likes/dislikes, craft a tailored list of companies and managers to call through on their behalf proactively. You can easily find out companies that take on the candidate’s skill set by searching for the skills on Google Maps and cross-referencing the companies on LinkedIn. From here, it’s easy to navigate around the company and find your best point/s of contact.

If you don’t get through to a manager, make sure that you send a tailored follow-up email that explains that you’ve discussed the company / the candidate’s interest in the work that they are doing there. I usually attach a copy of the candidate’s CV with personal details removed as, hopefully, their relevant experience will grab the manager’s attention!

Companies are much more likely to get back to you if they feel that it’s a genuine approach on behalf of a candidate rather than a speculative mail shot. Make reference to the projects that the candidate has mentioned and how they could add value to the company!

Email out their skills-based profile

There aren’t enough hours in the day to call everybody, so tell the candidate you would like to send out their skills-based profile to a wider network of managers to ensure that they are being marketed to all relevant companies. Working in the tech industry, I’d usually include the skill set in the subject title so that clients know how to filter emails I sent- it also ensures that the niche skills that could be of interest grab the attention of recipients.

Stay engaged

Arguably, the most important is to make sure that you keep in contact with the candidate throughout the process and let them know what’s going on with their application/s. It doesn’t take long to pop a candidate a quick five-minute call/email to let them know of any updates; in return, they’ll be grateful (in an industry where reputation is essential and referrals are key). It seems mad that you wouldn’t want to keep them happy. Further down the line, they’ll also be more likely to keep you up to date on leads and people in their network looking (gold dust!).

Ask for referrals

Leverage what you’ve done and make sure you ask for referrals from any candidate you speak with (good candidates know good candidates). If they don’t know of anyone proactively looking, ask them for the names of the two best colleagues they’ve ever worked with and why. Get them to introduce you in case they are ever looking or, if they don’t feel comfortable doing this, pop them a very informal LinkedIn message inflating their ego and explaining that they came highly recommended.


Building trust, staying in contact, and nurturing relationships with these candidates will only result in a positive outcome. Even if you don’t place them, they’re more likely to consider you from the other side of the fence when they do get employed, too. If you don’t manage to place them and they find a new role, ask them to recommend your services to their new company (they’ll want any potential employee to have a good recruitment experience). Even better, if they have started a new role as a hiring manager, ask to meet them to continue the working relationship – a much warmer start to a relationship!

By Naomi Baggs

Account Executive at Link Humans, download our 12 Essentials of Employer Branding eBook now.