Lights out….radio silence
“Did she leave the company?”
“Did he have an accident?”
“Did I say something wrong?”
Ah, the thoughts that go through a recruiter’s mind when you suddenly “go dark” and stop responding.
Let me set the stage:
You’ve been banging your head against the wall trying to fill a vital Regulatory Affairs leadership role; a position critical to the organization’s product development progress.
For the last few weeks you feel like you’ve been living inside of a pressure cooker as everyone is counting on you to bring in qualified candidates. The candidates who have applied don’t come close to meeting the necessary qualifications.
Since when do Accountants think they are qualified to lead a Regulatory Affairs department?
You decide to ask for a recruiter’s help in identifying, qualifying, attracting, and ultimately helping you to land the right talent.
The recruiter was able to capture the attention of a Rockstar and you excited to present him to the Hiring Manager. Finally, some progress!
Then it happens…
The hiring manager says he is rethinking the position.
“Maybe there is an internal solution”
“Maybe the scope of the role should change”
“Let me have some time to talk with the internal candidate and rethink what this role really should be,” he says.
Instead of the recruiter hunting talent, you become the hunted
Voicemail after voicemail…..
Email after email, starving for feedback….
What about the candidate who decided to step out of her comfort zone and listen to the recruiter’s recommendation to explore this role?
She’s now questioning everything….
“Do I not have the skills I thought I had?”
“Does the recruiter not really have the relationship with the company he said he did?”
“Is this how the organization makes decisions?”
You know you need to respond to this recruiter, but you don’t know what to say.
So, instead you continue to avoid a response at all.
What most don’t realize is the incredible negative consequences “going dark” on your recruitment partner can have on your company’s brand equity in the marketplace.
The recruiter, who took your word that this was an urgent situation, put other priorities aside to help you recruit for this role.
He put his own reputation on the line for you and the organization by compelling the candidate to entertain this opportunity.
Now he is playing the fool.
What type of advocate will he be for you or your organization moving forward when speaking with others in the marketplace?
The candidate whose intrigue was peaked is now feeling deflated, disappointed, annoyed, and confused.
How much longer do you think she will be interested in pursuing this opportunity?
What type of message might she send to others when your company comes up in future conversations?
You may be asking yourself…
“Well what am I supposed to say if I don’t know what to say”?
There are 5 simple solutions that will help you significantly strengthen the 3-way relationship between you as the HR pro, the hiring manager, and your recruitment partner.
Leverage these suggestions and you will avoid unnecessary, unintentional harm to your personal reputation and your company’s brand.
1. Set expectations up front
Commit to communicating…… good, bad, or indifferent
Just like you would expect your recruitment partner to respond to your inquiries promptly, it’s imperative that this is a two-way street. Whether it’s 24, 48, 72 hours, etc. set expectations of when each of you can expect to hear back from the other.
2. Be transparent
Remember, your recruitment partner is functioning as an extension of your internal recruitment team.
The more your recruiter knows about the specific recruitment process (e.g. timing of interviews, number of candidates in process, feedback on candidate interviews, etc) the more he is positioned to act on your behalf.
This includes keeping candidates engaged, or “warm”, knowing when to push or back off, and providing professional recommendations that will help you achieve your ultimate goal of hiring the best candidate in the shortest amount of time without losing your shirt on compensation.
Keep in mind, a strong, niched recruiter makes over 20 placements a year across multiple companies in the same space. Leverage the knowledge they have.
3. Be humble
It’s ok to say you don’t have the answer.
You can then work as a unified team to devise a solution. Put yourself in the shoes of others who are helping you to be successful (the hiring manager, the recruiter, the candidate).
Ask yourself, what would you want if you were in their shoes.
4. Be strong
Sometimes Human Resources or Talent Acquisition professionals have a tendency to defer to the hiring manager’s decisions.
If you know that the hiring manager’s decision can negatively impact the company, and therefore your own role, have the courage and strength to provide recommendations with alternative solutions.
The hiring manager will respect you for it. If she doesn’t, well that’s a whole different problem in of itself.
5. Have three-way conference calls
To help ensure you all stay on the same page, it’s important to set up opportunities for everyone to hear each other’s thoughts and concerns in real time. That way, you can share ideas that will push you towards the goal of landing the right talent.
While unintentional, “going dark” on your recruiter can clearly have repercussions that extend far beyond one recruiter, one candidate, or one hiring process.
The next time you are faced with a similar challenge, leverage these tips, and I promise YOU and the organization will be in a much stronger position than your competitors who fail to do the same.