How To Keep Job Candidates Happy

one-on-one meetingWe recruiters are pretty quick to point out mistakes candidates make during job searches.  We talk about common resume errors, we roll our eyes and relate tales of candidates who answer cell phone calls during interviews, and we complain about the ones who apply for every position posted – even when they clearly don’t have the required background or experience to get the job done.

Let’s turn the tables and think about the things we can do to keep job seekers happy and engaged throughout the process. What got me thinking about this today? An article I read in Forbes, entitled A Job-Hunter’s Bill Of Rights. I suffered a few pangs of guilt as I read Lydia O’Connor’s account of unprepared interviewers, hiring managers showing up in sweat pants, and — the big one — no follow up. Go ahead and take a few minutes to read it. See if you can relate.

I know lots of recruiters. For the most part, we’re an empathetic lot who would never knowingly irritate or pain applicants.  Let’s take Lydia’s story as a warning of what could happen if we ever forget that candidates are every bit as much our clients as are the companies who pay our fees.



50 Best Blogs for Recruiters

Everyone knows recruiters don’t walk, they run through their daily schedule.  Matching the right people to the right jobs is a big task, and one they take seriously.  So how do you fit in time for professional development?  I suggest doing it in snippets.  Reading professional blogs can be a great way to do this.

You might want to start with a visit to The Recruiters Lounge, and then cruise over to Recruiting Animal.  Or maybe Evil HR Lady is more your style.

Here is a list of the 50 Best Blogs for Recruiters*.  Enjoy.  And then come back and leave a comment to tell us which one you like the most.

*Update: 6/16/2013 – Online MBA is experiencing difficulty with Google ranking and asked me to remove the link to their site. The post is still available – and I do recommend you look it up. You can find it through Bing or Google. Here’s an excerpt from the webmaster request:

“We were recently notified that our site was hit with a penalty from Google. This penalty seems to be the result of some unnatural linking patterns. In an attempt to recover, we’re trying to remove many of the links to our site on the internet.

This, unfortunately, means that we’re trying to remove even good links on high quality sites like yours to give ourselves a chance to start over in the eyes of Google. After assessing our options, this seems like the best course of action.” 

Ghost Posting Job Ads: Best Practice or Bad Form?

Why do staffing agencies place job ads for positions that don’t exist?  People who disagree with this practice may say it’s unethical and misleading.  Those who engage in the practice will tell you it’s a necessary part of business, not designed to deceive but to prepare for imminent job orders.  Like most issues, gaining perspective can change the way we view a situation.

Ghost posting – that is, advertisements enticing workers to apply for non-specific positions – applies mainly to temporary work.  Permanent job openings usually come with so many specifics attached to the qualifications and experience desired, they don’t lend themselves to recruiting in advance.  Temporary work, on the other hand, is usually focused on an identified skill set for a short time period – like data entry for 3 months, or warehouse workers assigned to a 6-week reorganization project.

Agencies are expected to be both thorough and speedy: two qualities that don’t always go well together.  In order to make things work, we post jobs in advance so that when the call comes in from our client, we are ready to begin phoning a pool of prescreened, interviewed workers.  The time to recruit for a temporary work order is before the phone rings, not after.

Honesty is a key component to building and maintaining a good reputation.  So how does an agency employ ghost posting with integrity?

In one word: transparency.

Applicants should expect to see wording like this: “Recruiting for upcoming temporary work orders from multiple clients”.  This gives potential recruits the opportunity to decide whether or not to invest their time.

How Can I Win In This Job?

If you’re hiring right now, applicants should be able to expect a clear and succinct answer to that question.

Many recruiting plans go off the rails late in the process when the hiring company suddenly realizes they haven’t invested sufficiently in front-end planning to ensure they’re looking for the right skills.

Try asking that question the next time you’re in a planning session.  “How will the successful candidate win in this job?”

Crystal clear position objectives are measurable.  They’re black and white.  Detailing them before you advertise will simplify the recruitment process, ease onboarding, and increase retention and morale.

Recruiter Workload

Setting appropriate goals for recruiters is a tough task.  Generalist recruiters handle a wide variety of positions which creates productivity peaks and valleys.  Specialists may enjoy a steadier, more predictable workflow in terms of number of hires expected; their challenges come from the differing preferences of the hiring managers they support.  In the agency world, client mix produces measurement complexity due to variations in administrative requirements from client to client.  And then there are the unrecoverable lost hours from cancelled requisitions…  You see the challenge.

Marcus Buckingham, author of “The One Thing You Need To Know”, advocates finding the one metric that is important above all others.  This is a great principle to follow at the organization level, but one that can cause recruiters great angst — unless the “one thing” is universally understood as critically important to both the company and the recruiter. presents an interesting case by telling Jennifer’s story.  It’s worth a read if you have recruiters in your company.