If you work with candidates who receive multiple offers, you’re working with the right candidates.
But with each option they have, your chances of a placement diminish.
I know, being the Saint you are, you’d hope your candidates get job offers no matter whether they come from you, or someone else. But, back on this planet, if you’re constantly losing candidates to other roles, it’s going to affect you. Your job, your career and your sanity.
But, other than crying down the phone and asking your once cherished candidate to forgo their own happiness in favour of yours… how do you stop it?
Nope, not on jobs, on candidates.
The best way to manage a candidate with multiple offers is to make sure you’re managing all of their offers. In a talent-tight market, an exclusive candidate is better than an exclusive job.
How though? How do you even ask for a candidate to work with you and no one else?
Well, firstly, you need to ask. But by the time you ask the question, it should be reiterating facts you’ve already told them.
You need candidates to see you as a credible career partner. That means having a great reputation, giving specialist insight and providing a multitude of options so they have no need to look elsewhere. This is infinitely easier when you’re working with a passive candidate.
There is zero point in attaining exclusivity if you don’t have a choice of suitable jobs for your candidates.
The candidate experience is key. The more amazing companies, brands and jobs you work with, the easier the process of gaining exclusivity.
If you’re not confident enough with your range of jobs to ask your candidates for exclusivity, the magical ‘spec in’ may be the answer.
The first and most important element in reverse marketing is to talk through the method, and (obviously) the destination with your candidate. Some candidates may be OK with you sending their CV over to a number of clients on an email. If you’re really good at persuasion, you might be able to convince them this is a good idea.
It rarely is.
The chances of you happening upon a deal like this is pretty slim. It will work from time to time, but it hardly screams ‘I’m a professional’.
It also suggests the fact you don’t have personal relationships with your network. Along with the projects, teams and companies that would make a good fit at that specific time.
The best method to reverse engineer a placement, is to use that magical shiny black box on your desk. Sell. On the phone. And garner interest from your client. If you’ve got a truly amazing candidate, you’ll get interest.
The majority of candidates are passive. The best candidates are always passive.
Therefore it’s important to develop a strategy for building your passive talent pipeline. There are lots of ways to do this. Getting out of the office and meeting people is normally the best way. But making connections on the strength of you just connecting will be powerful.
You don’t want anything from them, nor necessarily anything to offer other than a connection. But if you have a large network, you can sensitively approach them with perfect opportunities when they arrive.
If you’ve built credibility and trust over a long period, you’ll get buy in when the ideal role comes up for that individual. If it’s the first time you’ve ever spoken, then you’re just another recruiter selling their wares.
As a follow on from above, you can’t effectively manage candidates who have multiple offers if you don’t know about them in the first place. Building strong relationships is vital, because candidates are more likely to be open to offers if you have a strong, mutually trusting relationship.
So don’t expect to be able to bend someone’s ear about a role if you’ve only connected on LinkedIn. It’s a start, sure, but you’re hardly best mates.
Meet your network. Regularly.
By doing this you’ll be able to assess whether you have a fruitful relationship.
But this is a theory that goes both ways. You should be selective over both the candidates and the clients you work with. If the client you’re currently working with has been looking for 6 months, interviewed lots of candidates, and worked with multiple agencies let me tell you a secret… you won’t be filling that job.
You could try and work out why. You could get to the bottom of the issue and fire great candidate after great candidate.
Or, you could partner with the best clients out there, who really want to hire. Clients who follow through with their hiring intentions. The knock on of that situation is attracting great candidates. It’s a circular occurrence that will deliver results time after time.
The longer the hiring process takes, the more likely your candidate is to accept another offer.
Time kills deals.
So set out the timeline at the start and have your client agree to it. Define the process from interview to placement. Impress upon your clients the need for haste; schedule interviews close together; arrange for your candidate to meet multiple people in each interview.
This step is always dependent on the availability of your client but, if you’re not asking for interview slots up front, you won’t get them.
And you’re not doing it for you. I mean, you are a little, but you’re predominantly doing it for them. So tell them that.
Mitigate the risk of your client inadvertently jeopardising a successful hire by making sure they’re prepped. This means letting them know what the candidate has on, other than their role.
What are the key drivers for the candidate? What makes them tick? What culture are they looking for? What are the important soft factors other than financial reward? Most importantly, what factors will result in them accepting any offer.
In a candidate-driven market your candidates will often be faced with multiple offers and your ability to manage the process, sell the opportunity, and close the deal will make the difference between billing and blanking.
Senior Front-end Recruitment Consultant at Explore Group
Trainee Recruitment Partner at SRG - STEM Industry Experts
Global Internal Recruitment Consultant at Skills Alliance
Client Consultant - Early Careers Team at Freshminds
Senior Consultant - Digital - Temp / Contract at EMR
Medical Recruitment Consultant at Charterhouse Australia
Digital Consultant - North America at Ultimate Asset Digital Recruitment