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The Recruiter's Digest
 Recruiting News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin

October, 2005

Speeding Up the Placement Process

It drives recruiters crazy. Either their candidates' resumes get hung up in the submission process or the employer goes AWOL after the first interview. Or worse, the candidate is told to expect an offer, after which the employer plays Rip Van Winkle and falls asleep for 20 years.

So how do you exert enough control to keep the hiring process moving, without becoming a pest? Here are some ideas:

1. Establish your ground rules early. If timely turnaround is important (which it always is), let the employer know that your policy is to give a higher priority to companies that respond quickly. In other words, if the employer drags his feet, you'll have no choice but to walk away.

2. Don't work with surrogates. Generally speaking, the people who are directly impacted by the hire (and who feel the pain caused by an unfilled position) have the greatest sense of urgency, and will act with more velocity. In contrast, intermediaries can often impede your progress, which is a good reason to avoid including them in the placement process.

3. Set up a system or an activity template that automatically moves the process forward. Not only will you establish greater control and consistency in your work, you'll remove the emotional quotient from the picture.

Let's suppose you want to schedule a single afternoon in which the employer interviews multiple candidates, rather than send out a series of candidates over a period of days or weeks. If that's the case, you'll want to describe your methodology when you first accept the assignment. Refer to your method as an integral part of your overall business model, rather than an idea you just dreamed up. That way, you can set your course in the beginning, instead of bargaining for the employer's attention later on.

Rooting for a Placement
I've found that there are several "pressure points" during the placement cycle, in which your degree of control becomes critical to your effectiveness.

The first involves the way in which candidates are presented to the employer for consideration. I'm not a big fan of resume "submissions," because resumes tend to focus more on keywords than the candidate's ability to do the job. A more effective method is to make a telephone presentation of the candidate's background, get feedback, answer any questions and set up the interview. After all, your objective is to set up interviews, not push paper.

The second pressure point is the interview scheduling process. As in the example given earlier, I would rather the employer interview four candidates in consecutive blocks of time, rather than over the course of several days or weeks. In addition to maximizing my odds of filling the job (by monopolizing the flow of qualified candidates), this approach benefits the employer, in that he or she can make instant comparisons within a spectrum of talent, while dramatically shortening the placement time line.

Control of the offer process is the third pressure point. Always set yourself up to "broker" the deal, or act as a bridge between the candidate and the employer. That way, you can preclose the candidate before the offer is extended. If the offer is too low, you can circumvent a turn down; or if you find the candidate is angling for a counteroffer or using your client's offer as leverage, you can advise the employer to withhold the offer until such time as the candidate is ready to accept it.

By establishing control and setting ground rules up front, you can add value and play an active role in the game, rather than sitting on the sidelines as a mere spectator.



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