Be honest. He’s just not that into you.


110110-just-not-into-youThe end game for any recruiter is to get your client to make your candidate an offer, and to get them to accept. If you can manage the process well enough, and have ticked all the boxes along the way, this should be the easy bit. Everyone should be super happy and your candidate should be skipping into their manager’s office to resign as you crack open the bubbles.

But sometimes it doesn’t always go that smoothly, and as recruiters we then find ourselves doing some fast-talking to try and get the deal done. We negotiate, persuade and influence in a desperate attempt to avoid seeing all our hard work go down the gurgler.

This is where most of our emotion as recruiters is spent, as well as a lot of time. And it is nearly always pointless. Because regardless of how good you are at negotiating, persuading an influencing, if the candidate doesn’t want the job then you are on the wrong horse. Anything short of bullying or lying isn’t going to make them take the job, regardless of how much you might need it for your results or commissions.

Maybe the most important part of a recruiter’s skill set is the ability to recognise when a candidate is not interested.

And doing this early in the process, like right at the start, before you have wasted anyone’s time (most importantly yours) is key.

We recruiters have a knack of being able to kid ourselves quite easily. We let ourselves ‘misread’ signs that a candidate is really interested in a role, when really they are not. We take an “OK, I’ll talk to your client” and turn it into “This sounds like an awesome role and I’m going to do everything possible to get it”. We kid ourselves because, it is easier to have someone in the process that we ‘think’ we can get a result from, than keep looking for someone else, especially in a candidate short market. So we keep persisting and kidding ourselves, even though the feedback from the first interview was just ‘Yeh…it was ok’. We tell our boss that the deal is still in pipeline and looking good. And then we get to the offer and guess what…..

Of course, there are often occasions where a candidate needs educating about an opportunity that they may initially be hesitant about, and persuaded that actually it is in line with what they are looking for. But that is very different to trying to force a square peg into a round hole.

When you get to the pointy end of a recruitment process, everyone should already know what the result will be. There should be little “Will he. Won’t he”. There maybe some negotiations to be done, but aside from working out the finer details you should be confident of the answer….and that it will be yes.

“But he told me he was interested”. Well, it is a foolish recruiter who just believes what they are told! And it is a bad recruiter who cannot determine how interested a candidate really is. Personally, I find behaviours a much better guide than what people say. If I am having to leave a candidate numerous messages, and chase them all around town then they are not interested. And as much as I might want them to be I am wasting my time. Move on.

Look at all your roles that are currently in play. How sure are you that your candidates are interested? If they were offered the role, would they take it? (Hint: Not sure probably means No)

***Don’t forget to check out the details of a fantastic event for recruiters coming up soon – the PEARL Consultant Forum. If you are an ambitious and career minded recruiter, then you should go. A fantastic line up of speakers and good fun. See you there hopefully.

Luke Collard


Leave a Reply