Candidate control: how to stop your placements falling through

Had one too many placements fall through recently? Losing your candidates to other career opportunities right at the point of receiving an offer? Or maybe your candidates keep falling victim to the dreaded counter-offer... Well, we’ve all heard the term ‘candidate’ control, but not everyone got the memo about what it actually means and how to practise it throughout the recruitment process.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re currently operating in a candidate-driven market. Candidates are in demand and have a wide sea of opportunities available to them. For this reason, candidate control has never been more important to your desk - you can’t afford to let any more candidates slip through the cracks!

Check out our top tips to stop your placements falling through:

  • Establish their motivation to move
  • Find out where else they’ve applied
  • Carry out interview prep calls
  • Clarify and reiterate salary expectations
  • Pre-close

Recruitment tips for better candidate control

1. Relationship building

The most foundational step in good candidate control is building a solid recruiter-candidate relationship. Make sure your candidates don’t see you as ‘just another recruiter.’ Instead, go the extra mile and get to know your candidates. Find out about their home life, their interests, and make sure you’re always transparent with them in order to create a trusting relationship so they know they can count on you.

2. Establish their motivation to move

Too many recruiters glaze past this part of the process. It’s easy to run away with yourself as soon as a candidate shows the slightest interest in your position. But the reason behind their interest is a crucial element of candidate control. It’s not enough to just get a ‘yes’ from a candidate. Really find out what their pain is in their current role. Is there even a real pain point? If your candidate isn’t showing commitment to switching careers and is just interested in the whiff of a slightly higher salary, you should start to hear the haunting sound of ‘dropout’ whispering in your ears. Work with candidates who have a real pain point and show a genuine interest in moving roles.

3. Match opportunities to candidate expectations

If you try to throw every job opportunity at your candidates to see what sticks, you’ll create a lot of trouble for yourself later down the line. It’s no good trying to fit round pegs into square holes - always bring it back to the candidate’s expectations and only present the job opportunities that are closely aligned with their expectations.

4. Find out where else they’ve applied

In an ideal world, you’ll gain the candidate’s exclusivity to solely work with you and no other recruiters. In reality, their phone is probably getting hit up 10 times a day and they may very well get tempted by other opportunities. It’s your job to stay in the loop about all the other job opportunities and to keep tabs on their progress.
There’s nothing worse than presenting your candidate with a job offer only to be wiped out of the equation by a surprise competitor. You should have a debrief with your candidate after every interview...even if it wasn’t arranged by you!

5. Read between the lines

Ever get the feeling your candidate isn’t sharing the whole story with you? Maybe your gut is telling you they’re not being totally transparent. It’s important to pick up on signals and listen to your intuition - often it’s not so much what the candidate says, but more what they don’t say! Have the courage to ask probing questions and tackle difficult conversations. The recruiter-candidate relationship is a two-way street and you need total honesty from your candidates if the placement is going to be a success.

6. Carry out interview prep calls

By carrying out interview prep calls you’re giving your candidate the best possible shot of making it through to the next stage. If you’ve taken a thorough job brief from the client, you’ll have a deep understanding of the company and role. If you don’t share all of that knowledge with the candidate, you’re seriously missing a trick! Tell them about the hiring manager, about past hires and about the interview format.
It’s also a good idea to make sure your candidates have prepared questions for the interviewer to ensure they come out of the interview with all their questions resolved.

7. Clarify and reiterate salary expectations

Have you ever submitted a candidate with a salary expectation of £28,000 only to find that that expectation has miraculously increased to £34,000 when you present the job offer? Well, something’s gone wrong somewhere along the way. Not only is it okay to continuously check in with your candidate regarding their salary expectation… It's necessary! Make a habit of reconfirming the salary and their expectations throughout the interview process. If you don’t, their imagination might just run wild in the interim!

8. Over communicate

Communication is an absolute must for great candidate control. Don’t ever leave your candidates waiting - if there’s ever a delay in the process, make sure you contact them to let them know. Check in with your candidates at key milestones such as the day before their interview, post-interview debrief, resignation day etc.

9. Pre-close

The close begins way before the deal is sealed and takes place throughout the interview process, constantly reaffirming the candidate’s commitment to the new career opportunity.
An effective technique for closing candidates is to walk them through the resignation process way before it’s even on the cards. For most candidates, leaving their job is just a distant idea which then gets real all of a sudden. Good candidate management will cover the resignation process early, getting the candidate to really think about how their manager will react to their resignation, and how they’d respond to a counter-offer. If a candidate is unable to dig deep in this task, it could indicate a low level of commitment to leaving their company.

Goodbye dropouts, hello placements

Candidate control is a real technique providing real results, and the best recruiters out there have copped onto this. If you seem to be constantly running into issues with your placements, it’s time to take an honest look at your approach to fill the holes before they get bigger. Regular contact, clear communication and a strong professional relationship are all key pillars to better candidate relationship management.

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