The Modern Recruiter series: Understand your target candidate

Today, while going through the prized “ebooks” folder on my computer, I found an ebook we had released last year.

And I’m glad I rediscovered it – it was a good refresher as some of the takeaways have sort of become fuzzy over time.

Here is the ebook cover. You can click on it to download it.

 

What happens when you don’t understand the target candidates

I bet you have heard complaints from recruiters such as:

Candidates are lazy and casual. They don’t want to take our assessment tests and start ghosting us.
Oh, we are paying top salaries. So, we top talent will line up to join us.
People are taking our offers but declining them. They are just so unprofessional.

Let me clarify – I’m not saying these conclusions are unfounded. However, if you are getting too many unpleasant surprises in your hiring process, perhaps you’re missing to see the candidate side story.

In recruiting, like in sales, everything starts with your target customer

Fundamentally, recruiting is a lot like sales. However, have you ever heard a sales person

These prospects are so unprofessional. They are not buying our product.

angry leonardo dicaprio GIF

 

Sales people don’t do that. Instead, they try to talk to the prospects, understand their goals, experiment with the sales process and try to fix the problems.

But, as recruiters, we often blame the candidates for not behaving the way we expect them to. For example, if you really dug deeper in the reasons of the complaints above, you may find reasons such as:

Hasty conclusion: Candidates are lazy and casual. They don’t want to take our assessment tests and start ghosting us.

One likely explanation: Perhaps your target candidates have taken other such tests and didn’t get any update after that. So, they are reluctant to do this without a strong assurance from your side.

Hasty conclusion: Oh, we are paying top salaries. So, we top talent will line up to join us.

One likely explanation: Perhaps your top salaries are not working since your company lacks credibility as an employer

Hasty conclusion: People are taking our offers but declining them. They are just so unprofessional.

One likely explanation: Perhaps you’re giving offers to the wrong candidates who anyway never looked so keen on joining your company. There was a chance you could have found this out before offering, but alas you never designed a step to do this.

Understanding your target candidates and designing your hiring process is really the first step

Very few recruiters try to talk to the target candidates and try to stand in their shoes.

Thinking like a sales or marketing person helps. Apart from doing the usual hiring discussion, talk to the candidates more freely to understand what’s going on in their mind. If someone drops out of the process, try to find out the real reason. If someone declines the offer, try to know the root cause.

Learn. Improve. Repeat. And you should see less of unpleasant surprises and more of happier results.

Want to talk to the candidates more but got no time?

I know what are you thinking. There are so many candidates, you can barely complete the key hiring steps. Where is the time to explore more about them?

I understand. And that’s why it’s important to filter the candidates early on (that’s why you use CutShort, right?) Then spend more time on the candidates that really matter.

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This post is a part of The Modern Recruiter initiative to help hire better in 2020 and beyond. 

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