In January of 2018, I was prospecting potential recruiting clients in Minnesota and I saw one company already in our system that looked interesting. I revisited previous messages between my company and the client, and I noticed the hiring manager was not only very defensive but also had declined recruiting assistance in the summer of 2017. Plenty of time had passed since then, so I figured that it could not hurt to check in and see how things were going with the client. Months later, I had successfully filled all four of the openings on the hiring manager’s team.
It is easy to give up all hope when the word “no” resonates as a sense of failure. Admittedly, I have been there before and left potential business on the table because I walked away. This was an insidious mindset that I had developed early on in my career. It wasn’t until January 2018, that I realized “no” is temporary when it comes to recruiting new clients. Just because someone tells you a working relationship cannot be developed does not mean that it will not. As my current manager often says to me, “a no is a yes waiting to happen” in the context of contingent business development. Over time, I have learned how to navigate a “no” in a way that still proves my value as a recruiter.
Objection: “We are all set for right now and don’t need any recruiting services.”
Overcome By: Monitoring company activity and checking back in one to two months later.
This is the most common form of “no” in the hiring process. Just because a hiring manager mentions they are all set, it does not mean the hiring process is complete. Give the hiring manager some time, but circle back soon to see how things went with their hiring. Even if they completed the search, you’ve now initiated a professional dialogue between another professional in the field by actively building a relationship. Checking in goes a long way because the next open role could very well be at the front of their mind and here you are, readily available to lend a hand. To maintain that relationship, I strongly advise making consistent small gestures such as wishing happy a holiday or congratulating company successes. It may seem unusual at first, but I can promise you that the small effect may ripple into larger ones in the future. If you care for your prospect, then you will receive care as well.
Objection: “We already work with another firm/agency/recruiter.”
Overcome By: Proving your value
It is a rarely straightforward process to become an approved vendor with a prospective client when you factor in agreement negotiation and the process of signing documents. In a similar vein, it is easy to feel like the cards are stacked against you as a prospecting business. But, don’t give up!
For recruiters that focus in specialized niches, this is your time to shine. Allow time for the hiring process to continue, and if the position remains unfilled, go to your best prospect who is available and looking, and showcase highlights from the candidate’s resume to the hiring manager. Loyalty can be a double-edged sword in business. For hiring managers, it is a great feeling to know that you can rely on someone to get the job done. However, some roles are not linear, and even the strongest recruiters can overlook an unturned stone. This is a frequent dilemma. So, hiring managers who are not finding success must turn to alternative solutions – you.
Not only are you coming to the rescue, but you are also proving your value by walking the walk. Hesitant hiring managers are only hesitant because all-day solicitation from multiple recruiters can seed doubt into any other new recruiter approaching them. If that is the case, then do not tell them what you can do. DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. Be respectful and thoughtful, and do not send over unwarranted candidates. Maintain professionalism by explaining you are associated with active candidates who possess the hard-to-find skills that they’re so vehemently pursuing. Take small iotas from a resume only with a candidate’s consent and highlight why you think that candidate’s background can solve the hiring manager’s dilemma. If you can persist through the objection, not only will you be rewarded for filling the difficult role, but you will also be considered for future opportunities with the same company. So, do you still wish that you just walked away….?
Objection: “We’d rather not pay a fee for this role.”
Overcome By: Explaining your practice.
Most recruiters will hear this objection and think that it is the end of the road. Although it can seem like a roadblock, many hiring managers are simply not familiar with agency recruiting structure and its benefits. For a contingent recruiter, this is the perfect opportunity to explain your plan on filling a role through various sourcing methods. Once the hiring manager understands, you can then describe how contingent recruiting works. Personally, I clarify to hiring managers that they can review as many resumes and hold as many interviews as they want at absolutely no cost. For hiring managers who have only worked with retained searches, this exposure to another creative options serves as a huge benefit. By offering more flexibility with a payable or a guarantee can turn the initial rejection from a hiring manger into a long-term opportunity. Without jumping to assumptions, understand your client’s dilemma and then offer a flexible option. You will start to see more work come your way.
Ultimately, always keep in mind that a “no” is beneficial to you. Maybe it is not of benefit right now, and maybe it will not be a benefit for more than a year, but people and situations do change. Do not let objections get you down! Ask questions and understand why someone is in the hiring predicament they are in. You’ll quickly realize that doing all the little things makes you stand out from the rest of the competition.
One of the most challenging tasks hiring managers face is properly planning ahead for positions they would like to open later in the year. It’s not uncommon to forget about the leg work that goes into implementing an efficient process for reviewing resumes, which can lead to chaos at crunch time. But, by constructing a game plan early on, hiring managers can cut down the time it takes to interview and give out an offer by half, or even more! Here are a few quick tips on how to best set yourself up for a successful hire:
Start sourcing 3 months before
Many times, I’ve witnessed a company open up a position without doing any planning and they always seem to end up with the same results: unqualified candidates, months of interviews, and candidates turning down their offers.
To ensure better results and a talented hire, target candidates three months before opening a position. By doing so, you’ll have a good idea of what the market is currently looking like, and depending on different factors, a chance to make adjustments to the position if needed.
Plus, one of the benefits of searching proactively is that you open up your talent pool to more candidates. Often times, talented candidates are interested in different opportunities in the market, but just aren’t ready to take a gamble yet because they don’t want to leave the security of their current job.
When hiring managers reach out to candidates beforehand, not only does this give them enough time to sell the position and benefits of their company but also gives the candidate enough time to weigh the benefits of the opportunity altogether. A candidate is more likely to leave their current role for a better opportunity when they feel like they are personally being selected by a company.
When the time does come for interviewing, the candidates who were reached out to in advance are likely to perform significantly better in interviews because they’ve had time to properly research and will feel more confident that it’s a beneficial career decision for them. For any contracting/consulting roles, this is also an efficient process because you can target candidates who are finishing up a contract and can transition them smoothly into a new project.
Learn more about finding better candidates
Keep a shortlist of candidates you are interested in and contact them every quarter on company updates
Often times, hiring managers come across professionals who they know would be a great resource to their team. However, they lose out on hiring these candidates because they are often 1. Forgotten about and 2. Aren’t sold enough on their company.
To avoid this, using something as simple as an Excel sheet with candidates and their contact information can save months of interviews. By taking 30 minutes every quarter to send out a quick company update to your hot list, you can establish a pipeline of communication that will always benefit you and your company.
Always keep track of talented candidates who interview well.
I’ve seen many candidates over the years, who met all qualifications of a position and performed phenomenally in the interview stage, lose out to another candidate who may have been internally referred or did just a little better than them.
It’s easy to lose track of these candidates because you feel so confident about the new hire you’re bringing in and you’re pleased that your team is set for the foreseeable future. However, these candidates that lose out often go on and obtain more valuable skills with other opportunities that could benefit your team in the future.
I recommend following up with them once a year to see what type of experience they’re developing. In the world of recruiting, timing is everything, and knowing a candidate who is familiar with your company only helps to lessen the time it takes to re-interview them.
By following these tips year-round, you will not only save time but money as well. For more tips on saving money throughout the recruitment process, check out our post, Quick Hits on How Your Company Can Save on Recruiting Costs.
Hiring is an extensive and rewarding process, but it’s not immune to stagnancy. From long stretches without any fresh candidates to getting turned down when using outreach marketing to advertise your role, many obstacles present themselves in the task of hiring new employees. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do and you need someone else to lend a hand. In these types of situations, it’s often wise to bring in the expertise and support of a third party staffing resource to get the role filled.
Selecting the right recruiter is extraordinarily similar to choosing the right candidate; there are aspects of both technical and cultural fit to consider. In a highly competitive market, many staffing agencies, firms, and companies will do anything possible to place themselves on a preferred vendors list. So, bringing in the right partner is a critical step to not only fill an open position but also to incorporate sustainable growth for your company. But, how do you go about doing so in an honest, efficient, and value-based manner?
Look for honesty.
We’ve all met recruiters who say, “Of course, I can get this filled for you in a week!” or “Everyone I send over will be perfect.” As enticing as these promises may be, accepting such temporary relief will often lead to more stress and long-term headaches. Sourcing for talent is not a step-by-step lab experiment but rather an abstract puzzle; since there isn’t one right answer, you’re often left with many alternate solutions. During the initial introduction call, poor recruiters will emphasize false beliefs so as to impress you and gain your trust. Not to invoke a cliché, but trust should be earned.
Talented and efficient recruiters often walk you through their methodology and approach and discuss how to integrate those with your preferences and your company’s process. Keep an ear out for questions such as, “What have been your pain points in finding competitive candidates?” and “To be frank, there is currently no one in my active pool who fits this role, but I will reach out to my network which has always helped point me in the right direction.”
Find out what their niche is.
Often times, a recruiter will state “Sure, I can work on any role that comes my way!” during their first conversation with you, and in some cases, this could actually serve as a huge benefit if hiring is across multiple departments. For more specialized circumstances, however, that same recruiter may not provide effective resolutions. So, don’t be shy in asking a recruiter specifics regarding their recent and related placements.
When a recruiter has built up a talent pool with direct contacts, they have a natural jump start, which often lends to impressive referrals – a jackpot in our industry. For example, let’s say you have a Senior Medical Science Liaison role that targets an individual with not only a doctorate degree and at least five years of experience, but also hands-on research experience in epilepsy and the flexibility to travel to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Recruiters who have never worked in Medical Affairs roles may have a tough time stepping in and efficiently sourcing for this position. Don’t write them off yet! Rather, inquire about their background in neurological Medical Affairs and their approach for this search. If they mention referring back to a previous search/pool or colleagues who have a related network, then that’s a good start and a potentially good partner for this position!
Set expectations up front.
Possibly, the most antagonizing aspect of hiring is not during ruts, but when issues arise in the contract/agreement phase that puts everything to a grinding halt. When a problem crops up so late in the process, it can be related to a misstep or oversight during early communication efforts. Again, look for honesty. You need to find recruiters who not only value, but also practice it. In the initial call, such issues can be deftly navigated before it proceeds to review. Even after the discussion, ask for paperwork regarding agreements and contracts to be sent over and have your legal team review it.
Moreover, to avoid constant rescheduling and unqualified or non-ideal candidates, be sure to set up a weekly meeting with your recruiter. Hiring will always be an addition to your day-to-day responsibilities, but ten minutes each week of clear communication with your recruiter could save hours later.
At the end of the day, do not let hiring create an unwarranted burden on your business. Staffing resources are vital because finding the right addition to your team will impact how the company grows and even how you develop as a leader.