You’ve spoken to the hiring manager and have posted the new position. You know who the ideal candidate is and the market data is saying what you’re looking is probably the mythical purple squirrel. BUT WAIT! After days of sourcing and search strings galore, you think you just might have found that hidden gem:

  • Resume has all the requirements AND matches desired experience
  • Candidate passes initial phone screen with flying colors
  • Hiring manager reviews your feedback and is impressed

So, obviously the next step is to schedule them to speak with the hiring manager. WHAT DO YOU DO? (Remind you much of those Goosebumps pick-your-own ending books? Yes? Great.) This is what separates the Big Dogs from those recruiters we can just label as, “Meh.” Do you just wish the candidate “Good luck” and cross your fingers? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

This is your time to shine. Differentiate yourself from other recruiters. Especially if the candidate is top talent, they most likely have several recruiters chomping at the bit to get at them. Solidify your relationship with them, WOW them, and most importantly prove your genuine interest in their success.

I recently came across an article that showcased an example email from a Google recruiter to an interviewing candidate. This recruiter went above and beyond in ensuring the candidate was properly informed and prepared for the interview. The email began with a summary of the position, organization, and expectations of the role. It was then followed by an outline of the categories of questions that would be asked with examples of each AND suggestions for reading material for the candidate to proactively prepare. Beat that!

Prepping a candidate for the interview is not the only way you can prove your loyalty to them. Below are other ways you can make known that you are your candidate’s advocate.

1. Keep to your scheduled commitments. This phone interview to you may just be one of 37 for the week, but for the candidate this call may be the one they’ve been praying for their entire career. Life happens, and calendars change, I get it. But please don’t reschedule unless you absolutely have to. Not only could it leave a bad taste, it may also cost you a great candidate!

2. Follow up on your promises. If the candidate asks you a question you just don’t have the answer to, gather the information and respond back in a timely manner. Make it known that you are truly listening to their questions/concerns and want to ensure that they have all the information they need to be properly informed on the role. Also, if you state that you will reach out to them with an update by a certain date, DO IT. Don’t leave them hanging. They have better things to do and most likely more opportunities knocking at their door.

3. Summarize for them what you think are their strengths and weaknesses. Did they provide an awesome example of how they streamlined a process and cut down costs by 85%? Tell them! Share exactly why that answer was great, and why it would relate to the role and/or what the hiring manager is looking for. Or … were their answers great but their energy a bit lacking? Be honest! Professionally and subtly, of course. Reinstate just how the team dynamic is high-energy and they are hoping to have someone confident and passionate about sharing their ideas.

4. Share with them what the ideal candidate would look like. While you may have their resume in front of you, the candidate most likely has a better understanding of their own experiences. By sharing the characteristics of the perfect candidate, it may prompt the interviewee to think of additional projects/examples they can share that can solidify their candidacy.

5. Rejected? Call them. This is quite possibly the most crucial step. We’ve all been there, had whom we thought was the perfect candidate, but for one reason or another the hiring manager ultimately decides to go another direction. Certainly not an ideal situation, but don’t let it kill your relationship with them. They might still be the perfect candidate for another upcoming role. Take the time to call and re-emphasize the positives from the interview and provide as much candid feedback as possible. Encourage them to keep on applying and assure them that you will also continue to push their information along when applicable. Remain positive and coach them to do the same. Ensure them that you will continue to advocate for them and cheer them on.

Remember that catchy song from a couple years ago, “Cheerleader” by Omi? Well, take his cue and BE YOUR CANDIDATE’S BIGGEST CHEERLEADER! Make them genuinely trust in your guidance and partnership. Omi was so proud of his girlfriend, his cheerleader. Make an effort to have your candidate think of you in the same way.



Post contributed by Cristal Nobles, Recruiter.