First Contact with the Candidate: Tips for Success

by Stephen Bruce | BLR


Your technique may vary, but you should have a basic process to follow when getting ready to call your candidate. First, prepare what you need to make the call. Next, rehearse what you have prepared so your words sound natural when you say them. Now you are ready to make the call. Regardless of what happens when you call, don’t forget the crucial step that many ignore—following up.


A Matter of Perspective

When you pore over résumé after résumé , especially if you work for a recruiting company, the candidates can seem like just a bunch of files or a set of numbers. But remember, on the other end are living, breathing people who have no idea you exist. Furthermore, if they are searching for jobs, it’s possible that more than a few less-reputable companies have tried to take advantage of them already. They could be on guard. They could be suspicious. Or they could be a delight. The point is, you won’t know until you call—and putting the wrong foot forward could cost you a perfectly good employee. Perspective counts, and taking a moment to remember that really helps.


Prepare and Prevail!

Again and again, experts underline the absolute need for preparation before you make a call. Calling without preparation makes you sound unsure and might cause a potential candidate to leave the recruitment process before you have a chance to assess his or her potential or attract him or her to your organization.


Here are some good ways to make sure you’ll be ready for whatever happens when you call your candidate. A little bit of homework can make all the difference.


  1. Know what you are going to ask. Even spending a short time jotting down some general questions you want to ask is better than no preparation at all. If you have the time, a complete list of questions works best.
  2. Keep it concise. Summarize who you are and what you want with a few sentences and have it on hand. This way, if someone other than the candidate picks up, or, more likely, the call goes to voicemail, you’ll have a quick, to-the-point response ready to go.
  3. What do you already know? Construct a fairly detailed list of everything you already know about the candidate. This serves two purposes: first, you can tailor your conversation around those points; second, simply confirming these points with the candidate is a decent good way to organize an interview.


Rehearse First

You’ve done your preparation. So you’re ready to pick up the phone right away, right? Well, if you want to sound natural (and unlike a telemarketer), you might want to take a few moments to read what you wrote down. A few quick things to consider at this point:


  • Make absolutely certain you can pronounce the candidate’s name. It’s amazing how well a call can go when the candidate’s name smoothly rolls off your tongue. It’s equally amazing how defensive candidates can become if you botch their name.
  • Be ready to go off-topic. While you may have an agenda for the conversation, sometimes you can learn a lot about a candidate based on how they direct the conversation. Don’t become annoyed if they wander; instead, take notes. However, try to stick to business and the job at hand, as casual conversation can lead to finding out things you don’t want to know, for example, race, religion, or disability.



Read 3467 times Last modified on Thursday, 17 September 2015 09:00


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