DEMtips: Qualifying Candidates

People, especially people in our business, love to make judgments about others. It's the ultimate hubris. So how do we get genuine information from people in order to make the right judgments about who to send out on what jobs?

First, we've got to tackle the fundamental concept that recruitment is all about probabilities. You can be judgmental and yet play the odds.

Serious Candidates vs. Window Shoppers

This market is all about candidate qualification. You must be aware of each candidate's options and, more importantly, be aware of their motivations. Some candidates are interviewing only to receive a counter offer from their current company. Some candidates are interviewing on your job to get a better offer from another company. And some are just testing the waters to see what is out there.

Filling your pipelines with Window Shoppers will not only lead to turndowns, but it will make your serious candidates look bad, people who without the competition, might have been the lead candidate!

Identifying a Shopper [someone who is not at all serious about making a move]

The Shopper:

  • Lacks a need to move - no real motivation.
  • Lacks a deadline.
  • Are more "curious" about what's out there than "furious" about their current situation.
  • Will be far choosier.
  • Will underestimate the fear of change.
  • Will ask for money and benefits they know they can't get.

Never present these people to clients. Instead, ask them for referrals and keep them in the back of your mind for future positions. Now let's consider "Serious Candidates".

Identifying a Serious Candidate [someone who has a nagging but not excruciating pain to move].

The Serious Candidate:

  • Is seeking a form of status.
  • Has one or more personal factors affecting his career.
  • Sees the end coming, but feels honesty here will hurt their "leverage".
  • Has little or no "risk taking" experience.
  • Is trying to play catch up from a bad move.

You can selectively send these people out, under the following circumstances:

  • When the "pain" of being in the current position matches the "gain" in your job.
  • Convenience is overwhelmingly in your favor.
  • It is 2-4 months after they initially "shopped" and turned down an offer.
  • Your job "realigns" them [industry, product, career track].
  • They used to work there.
  • They have a friend inside.
  • It is a direct competitor.
  • Your client knows them through other sources.
  • Your gut says they'll love each other.

Past behavior is a great predictor of future behavior. Below Demitri shares some questions he loves to ask to understand a candidates job changing patterns.

The last time you made a move:

  • How long did it take?
  • What was the first thing you did?
  • How many interviews did you go on?
  • What % of the time did you get a 2nd interview?
  • What % of the time did you get an offer?
  • How did you go about your search?
  • Did you tell your boss you were looking?
  • Once you began interviewing, what mentor relationship did you rely on? What did they tell you?
  • Once you got an offer, how long before you made a decision?
  • Did you receive an increase in pay or did you move strictly for opportunity?
  • Did you experience a fear of change? To what degree?
  • What role did your spouse play?
  • What was your relationship like with your recruiter? What worked? What didn't?
  • Six months later, did you regret having made the change? What does that tell you?

Now, it's your job to make judgments based on the evidence you've collected.