Candidate influence is the holy grail of the recruitment industry. Recruitment consultants are looking for different ways to get a better grip of candidates during the recruitment process.
If you’re keen to drive success in your career as a recruiter then understanding candidate influence is crucial, and ever so important especially when hiring leaders or niche talent.
In our last article, we discussed placing senior-level candidates effectively and skimmed through candidate and client influence.
Today, we’re going to discuss the science of candidate influence. We’ll discuss different tips you should master to ensure that your influence has the greatest impact.
So, what is candidate influence anyway?
Candidate influence, commonly known as candidate control, is the process of building cordial relations with job seekers & candidates through engagements that foster mutual goals and credibility to achieve their outcomes.
Let’s clarify what candidate influence is actually all about.
It’s a process, not destination -- it’s always going to be executed depending on the circumstances you have with your job seekers or candidates. Instead of thinking of candidate influence as a to-do list, you should view it as a set of thumb rules to create credible and goal-oriented engagements.
It spans the entire recruitment process -- candidate influence is stronger in the last two stages of recruitment i.e. assessment & on-boarding than in the first two stages of identification & engagement, but that doesn’t mean candidate influence is least effective or least important in the initial stages.
Lastly, it not about you -- candidate influence is a means of ensuring that your job seekers and candidates achieve their goals as discussed in the beginning of your conversation. When you make the objective of your engagement about them you exert even greater influence.
When candidate control is executed right it’ll help you sift dodgy candidates who aren’t certain about what they want out of the recruitment process.
What is the goal of candidate influence?
Candidates begin their job search with specific goals in mind. If you can identify those goals and fulfil them through the opportunities you have then you’ve won their hearts.
Understanding your candidate’s pain points and career aspirations in conjunction to their skills, experience and academic qualifications gives you the capacity to match their profile with the right job opportunity.
When you discuss an opportunity based on their goals and outcomes you can discover areas of commonality and differences. This awareness gives you an opportunity to advise and negotiate & advocate for your candidates well.
Now that we have explored the meaning and goal of candidate influence let’s look at what you can do to develop candidate influence at different stages of the recruitment process.
7 Tips on How to Get Your Candidate Influence Right
Understand the role you are recruiting for -- this means doing great research around the position you’re hiring for by talking to people who’re working in a similar role.
Gather important aspects about the job -- Ask for crucial skills, projects and a threshold of required experience from your client.
What does ideal experience look like i.e. is 2 years more or less around the required experience acceptable?
What critical projects should an ideal candidate have worked on?
Are client-facing, technical or both skills vital for the position?
Develop a mind-map of which percentage constitutes your candidates’ work i.e. 70% Data Visualisation; 20% Stakeholder Engagement & 10% Modell Development is a clear bias towards a reporting intelligence role
Attract your ideal candidate with engaging job ad copy -- write clear job ad summaries and descriptions describing what you’re looking for and what your client is offering
Use the most relevant channels for reaching out to your ideal job seekers -- If you are attracting executive- or senior- level talent it would make sense to use references; database searches or targeted mailers.
Ask questions to understand your candidate’ career in greater detail. You are looking for information that’s not mentioned on the CV. Your line of questioning should cover the following topics:
Career aspirations & job search -- motivation for changing jobs; what the candidate is looking for in their next role; if they are currently in an interview process or whether they hold an offer, etc.
Relocation preferences -- why they’re keen to move to a different city? What’s in it for them if they moved to a different city?
Compensation preferences -- expected fixed and variable figures; whether they’re due for a bonus; whether they hold an offer in hand & how it compares to the deal you have, etc.
Understanding the role on offer and how it relates to their current work -- what projects they’ve worked on; who they report to or who reports to them; how they use X or Y technology, etc.
Ask questions to probe the probability of your candidate joining their new employer. Your questions should probe the following topics:
If a candidate is still interviewing with other organisations
If a candidate is emotionally ready to put down their papers and join their new employer
How they’ll react if their current employer tries to retain them
What their notice period looks like
As a recruiter your candidate influence is the life-blood of brokering deals that sail through. You should put serious consideration into developing the tactics we discussed above.
Influencing your candidates effectively means gathering as much information as possible and making sense of it to help you help them find the right job to grow their career.
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