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Boost your placement rate through better candidate qualification

 by Russell Attwood - Unify Communications

Do your consultants spend enough time qualifying their candidates? I had an interesting conversation recently with the director of a local recruitment firm who explained that sometimes, particularly with newer consultants, there can be an issue around their focus being more on booking interviews and trying to place candidates without always having thoroughly qualified them.

One example he gave me involved a candidate who had been to an interview, was offered the role and accepted before later declining on the basis that it would be too far to commute. The consultant’s feedback was that they had discussed this with the candidate at an earlier stage but it had been decided that they’d still go to the interview due to the salary on offer potentially making up for it. Clearly, however, this wasn’t the case as the candidate decided against taking the position in the end, despite no change to what was being offered. So should the candidate have ever attended the interview? With whom does the responsibility for the outcome lie?

It goes without saying that your candidates are responsible for giving you correct information, for being honest and for updating you if their feelings or requirements change – but this director argued that despite that, his consultant should still have been able to avoid this through better candidate qualification both initially and in subsequent conversations. It was obvious that the commute was a fair distance for the candidate, based on the position’s location, so a more detailed conversation around this as well as re-visiting the topic in subsequent conversations could have uncovered this issue sooner.

So what can you do to help your staff improve in this area? 

Ensure they understand their objectives

If your consultants feel too under pressure to deliver in terms of numbers, quality is likely to slip. While it’s obvious that making good placements is the name of the game, it may be that people think the way to achieve this is by booking lots of interviews and putting forward volumes of candidates when opportunities come up – it’s important to make it clear that actually, quality is as important as quantity and the way to make more placements is through good candidate qualification not just volume.

Invest in training on candidate qualification

Providing some form of professional training is a great way for people to learn, to make your staff feel valued as they can see you investing in their development and it saves you time. There are a number of things to consider, such as cultural fit as well as skillset if you really want a placement to last, so a training session that covers all bases would be the most beneficial. Group sessions will also allow people to discuss any challenges they’ve been facing and share ideas, as well as giving them the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned if practical/practice sessions are built into the training.

Review conversations and share good examples

Assuming your phone system allows you to record and monitor calls, review these regularly and share good examples with the team. It’s also worth reviewing conversations with individuals if they do have an issue like my initial example to identify the points at which different or additional questions could have been asked, but it’s important to promote this as a positive exercise for staff development rather than it being seen as a ‘we record all calls so if you make a mistake you’ll be pulled up on it’ type thing.

Provide your consultants with ongoing support

Catch up with your consultants regularly to discuss their progress with them, overall as well as in this area, to give them the opportunity to ask for further help or advice if they need it. If you’ve invested money, time and effort in training and developing your staff, it’s key to follow this up with ongoing support to ensure that the return on your investment is really maximised and that your staff are happy with their progress.

By using these techniques to improve candidate qualification you should find that more of the people put forward for interviews are hitting the mark, and in turn that more candidates are both getting placed and staying 

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