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

November, 2008

The Frankenstein Candidate

Jamie was a passive candidate, and he couldn't believe his luck.

Three weeks ago, a young recruiter called with an intriguing opportunity. And now, after a furious round of interviews—and a good bit of haggling—Jamie was riding high.

The company made an offer, but Jamie turned it down. Of course, if he'd actually needed a job, he would have jumped all over it. But Jamie was already employed.

With nothing to lose, Jamie pushed for more. A sign-on bonus. An extra week's vacation. And a 90-day performance review. Incredibly, the company said yes. And Jamie was delighted.

Trouble in Paradise
Tina, however, was worried. As a recruiter, she had done everything right—or so she thought.

She had cold-called Jamie, who was perfect for the job. She set up the interviews, checked the references and pushed the company to make an offer.

Even after Jamie rejected the initial offer and took over the negotiations, Tina was optimistic. She sensed the company would meet his demands, and sure enough, they delivered on every point.

But Tina was puzzled. If Jamie had gotten everything he asked for, why did he say he needed to "think it over" for a few days? And why was he dodging her calls?

Tina Creates a Monster
Her formerly passive candidate was now logged onto every job board in sight, shopping like a maniac. With an offer in hand, he had every incentive to leverage his position.

Could Tina put the genie back in the bottle? Probably not. She either had to pray that Jamie would accept the job, or try to force his hand by setting a "drop dead" date, after which the offer would be withdrawn.

In either case, she seriously lacked control. In 20/20 hindsight, Tina realized that she had forced the company to make concessions, without asking for a commitment from Jamie in return.

So Tina made herself a promise. In the future, she would—without exception—follow a few simple rules:


Never let the candidate control the negotiation. To be effective, the recruiter needs to broker the deal.




Close the candidate before the offer is extended. Assuming all the conditions are met, get permission to accept the offer in advance, on the candidate's behalf.




Get the candidate to take action. As soon as the offer is formally accepted, instruct the candidate to call the employer to confirm the deal.




Generate a letter of acceptance. Add a signature line and an expiration date of 9:00 PM. Have the candidate sign the letter and fax it back to the employer.


After four days of nail-biting and fatalism, Tina finally got a call from Jamie: He would accept her company's offer.

Tina sighed in relief: She had dodged a bullet. But she knew that next time around, she would close the candidate and get an acceptance—before an offer is extended.


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