Getting information from the interested applicant

Once you have an applicant interested either from an ad response, a call to a referral, someone in our files, or a list, you must establish yourself as someone to be respected and 'deferred to' on career move issues.  For example, if the applicant tells you he/she doesn't want to interview on a Friday afternoon because of traffic, he/she must respect your knowledge that career opportunities don't wait for the right traffic patterns and that career people make rewarding careers happen by removing roadblocks.  Even if she/he doesn't understand this concept, the applicant should defer to your judgment and give you every opportunity to do your position, because you are the expert.  Therefore, 'when in doubt listen to a recruiter you can trust.'  This long-winded dissertation is commonly referred to in one word: control.  I prefer another word: trust.

Applicant trust (control) is defined as the process whereby the applicant does, goes, and says what/where you tell him, because he/she believes it is in his/her best interest to follow your advice.

Determining If You Have The Applicant's Trust (control):

      Candidate doesn't return phone calls (yes = control).

      Candidate calls collect (yes = no control).

      Candidate has spoken to family about new position possibilities and they back him/her 100% (yes = control).

      Candidate has felt out his/her company prior to going on your interview (yes = no control).

      Candidate is considering other companies on his/her own (yes = no control).

      Candidate volunteers information regarding himself/ herself to help you help him/her (yes = control).

      Candidate furnishes references (yes = control).

      Candidate researches your company prior to interview (yes = control).

      Candidate sends resume on time (yes = control).

      Candidate is willing to provide proof of salary, via a pay stub or W2, if asked by employer (yes = control).

      Candidate is aware that some employers verify degrees (yes = control).

This 'unknown' individual has taken the time to call based upon interest in the career opportunity advertised in the paper or has listened to your description of a new position.

The applicant may be guarded or defensive.  He/she will want to know about the position; often asking very specific questions.  You must, therefore, have a complete knowledge of the ads run and the Position(s) they were based on.

You do not want to stay in this mode of responding to their questions.  You want to know about them.  Answer a couple of questions and then ask them for the correct spelling of their first and last name, complete address and phone numbers, email address, current employer and a description of their experience.

Start writing and take charge; start building their trust in your expertise.  Tell the applicant about how you and your department work as a team.  The applicant will benefit by having 4-5-6 people working for them.  Tell the applicant that you are a professional marketer.  You market the professional background of Engineers / Programmers / Analysts / Auditors / Accountants, etc.

The applicant must respect your ability.  You know your field as well as he/she knows his/hers.  You have something of tangible value to offer the candidate (the market, what's hot--what's not, how to move a career along, how to negotiate the interview for the better positions).

Tell the applicant that you can show him/her opportunities from which they can make a decision.  To do so you need some information.

Ask questions! Question them about their professional background.  Make it a conversation.  It's okay to talk about the market, Southern California, the weather, just don't forget why you're doing soYou are building rapport and trustEstablish identity.  The applicant is speaking with a professional human being: You!  Coach them to respond to your questions.  Set up your pre-close:  If the salary they want is too much, your response could be, “That's a lot of money; not very many people make that.”  “Not many people work 10 minutes from home.”

After you have an applicant interested in looking or in a particular position, you must probe deeper into his/her desires (hot buttons).  The answers to these low level probes will help you close as the process moves forward.  Find out:

      What does he/she really want?

      What does his/her family want?

      What does he/she presently have?

      What can he/she have in the future with his/her present company.

Get the applicant to describe the ideal position in terms of content, location, and salary by asking these low level probes.

Position - the responsibilities, growth of the position, growth of the department, growth of the company, growth of the industry, growth of the economy, potential of learning new skills, the value of the experience in the future, the management, the people, technical training.

Location - distance from home, type of commute (car pooling, public transportation, area driven through, freeways, against traffic), relocation (paid by company or paid by allowance).

Salary - present value vs. future value, paying for results and not promises, skill level = pay level.  The right position may not even pay what they're earning right now!

Always ask for a resume and references.  If you can't get a resume from an applicant, you have no trust!  Explain the confidentiality with which you will hold the resume.  Tell them no resume is sent without specific permission.  Some companies require a resume even from you, but you will ask before sending.  Ask the applicant about how his/her search has gone.  What companies have they interviewed with in the past 6 months? What type of positions were they? Get the manager's name! Where have you mailed the resume? What other recruiters or agencies have your resume? You must get this information or you have not developed any trust with the applicant (control).  Once you get a resume, you should give them the single bullet spiel, described below.

If the references haven't been provided with or before the resume, and the applicant is someone you intend to work with, you must get references before you can do any further work.  At this point, the references are critical.  You must get at least three references that can provide information on the applicant's work.  They should include at least one peer and at least one supervisor.