Goodbye Dud Candidate, Hello Stellar Recruit!

By Jennifer Roeslmeier Mikels

January 24, 2019

How to recruit stellar candidates!

EVERYONE has trouble recruiting good candidates.  Where are they?  Where did they go?  How do you find them?  That’s the million-dollar question that all recruiters find themselves asking at one point or another.  There are four key denominators, however, that can help you get rid of the dud candidates and in with the stellar ones!  Because who doesn’t like a stellar employee?  Let’s dive into the four denominators: marketing your staffing and recruiting company, not settling on candidates, knowing your history, and keeping the good candidates engaged.

Marketing Your Staffing and Recruiting Company

First you want to start with marketing your staffing and recruiting company.  Good candidates will want to work with your company if they think it will help them land their dream job.  If they are skeptical of the company or think it will be a waste of time in the end, then they will deter away.

Become a Member of an Association

One of the most important things to do to give your company instant credibility is to become a member of a national staffing association.  Being a member of a national staffing association allows you to gain industry knowledge about best practices, news and trends, how laws will change the industry, and much more.  Additionally, you should join your local staffing association to keep current with what is going on locally, and to take advantage of local year-round training and networking.  This not only makes you reputable among candidates, but also gives you credibility among clients.  The more clients you have, the more opportunities you have to place “good” candidates through your company.

Provide an Incentive

Think about providing a cost-free incentive/service for candidates.  This could be your company’s very own course or training program on, for example, “Landing Your Dream Job.”  Another possibility, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of putting together a full course, is conducting workshops throughout the month.  These workshops could include resume writing, what to include in a cover letter, what to say in an interview, etc.  They can be a mix of “lecture” and “hands on”, where you work directly with a candidate’s resume/cover letter.  Recruiters at your company will be able to rotate conducting the workshops!

You might also want to consider offering career counseling and interview preparation services.  Often once one graduates from college, they don’t know where to go for career counseling and interview preparation.  What more perfect place to offer these services then a staffing and recruiting company.

Lastly, you can host a job fair.  At the job fair have a guest speaker, offer individual career consultation, and showcase open jobs for candidates to apply for.  This allows you to interact with many different candidates in-person and see which ones could be a good fit to fill the positions you have open.

You can even consider adding webinars/Skype® sessions into the mix if you don’t want to conduct ALL of the workshops and services in person.  Providing any of these services for candidates gives them the opportunity to further engage with your company.  A “stellar” candidate will want to take the time to attend workshops, job fairs, and career services.  Not all “stellar” candidates will need these services, but it will help attract those that are serious about finding a good job.

Networking Events, Do I Have to Attend?

Networking, networking, networking.  Many people don’t necessarily “like” networking events, however, they are extremely important, especially for the staffing industry!  National and local associations often have networking events.  These allow you to build more connections and meet people you may not otherwise meet.  Even if you don’t meet a “candidate”, perhaps you meet someone that “knows” someone that is looking for a job! You never know when you will be connected with a candidate, but the more opportunities you make for yourself, the more candidates you will connect with.

It is also good to attend networking events for the industry you recruit for.  These networking events are extremely important and allow you to connect with candidates right at your fingertips! It’s a great place to talk about your company and how you can help a candidate land their dream job in the industry.

You can also attend more general networking events.  Are you part of your college alumni association?  I went to the University of Wisconsin- Madison and the Chicago Alumni Association always has networking events!  Networking events, similar to an alumnus one, is exceptionally good because you and a candidate both have something in common and have a certain “loyalty” to one another.  If a candidate is looking for a job, why would they work with a random recruiter they don’t know if they could work with someone, they have a connection with?

Your company can also put on your OWN networking event.  This is a way for you to market your staffing company and bring in NEW candidates that you would not have otherwise been connected with.   

Lastly, consider attending a college career fair at a reputable university to fill those entry-level positions.  This allows you to connect with strong entry-level candidates that have a degree and are ready to start their careers.

Again, candidates that are taking the time to attend networking events and career fairs are serious about landing a job.   This can help you weed out the bad candidates!

Stay Active on Social Media

On your company’s social media pages, especially LinkedIn®, make sure you are staying active!  Post tips for job seekers, post job openings, write blog articles and post them, etc.  Providing resources to job seekers helps market your company and can engage candidates to your page.  Additionally, consider creating videos for your company!  Video marketing is HOT right now.  Think about making a video about your company and feature different recruiters.  You could even include a success story in the video.  Videos help excite people about your business and allows them to put a “face” with the brand.

Recruiters should also be active on social media.  It’s a fantastic way to find and connect with people.  LinkedIn® allows you to search for candidates that would be a GREAT fit for the job you are trying to fill.  When you are searching for candidates, make it a point to find the phenomenal ones.  You want to find candidates that don’t jump jobs every 6 months and have a positive track record.  On their profile, see what they have accomplished at their current and previous jobs.  Then analyze, if you think they could bring similar achievements to the position you are trying to fill for.  If it’s a match, then message them!

LinkedIn® additionally allows recruiters to connect with a community.  Be sure to join groups on LinkedIn® that are affiliated with the industry you are recruiting for.  This is a way for you to reach NEW candidates.

You also need to make sure that you make the job sound catchy and appealing!  If you are bored by your job description, then it probably isn’t the right one to approach people with.  You need to make the job sound EXCITING and like a position that can’t be passed up.  Make sure you have a short and simple job description.  You want to keep the description concise, otherwise you will lose their attention if you write an essay.  Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes.  If someone reached out to you with the job description, would you be interested?  And more importantly, would you respond? 

Finally, when approaching people on LinkedIn®, make sure you don’t harass!  There is a fine line between giving space and “stalking.”  If they don’t respond the first time, give it some time before you send another message.  Use your discretion on how many messages you think is appropriate to send if they aren’t responding, but if they don’t respond after 2 or 3, they probably aren’t interested.  If someone responds within a 24-hour period, that is a good way to know they are actively considering looking for a new job and are a serious candidate.

Add References to Your Website

Consider adding quotes to your website from candidates with successful placement stories.  Everyone likes to see a good success story and it helps assure candidates that you are the right company to work with.  Also consider adding the companies you recruit for to your website!  This helps candidates gauge the kind of companies you recruit for and maybe they will see a company they want to work at!

Don’t Settle on Candidates

One important thing to remember is to not settle on candidates!  The best recruiters are those that genuinely know their candidates and their clients.  If you have a so-so candidate that is interested in the job, but you sense they aren’t the right fit, then don’t proceed!  You often have to trust your gut feeling and if it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t!

Don’t be afraid to tell your client you don’t have anyone at this time and let them know you will present only candidates that you feel are a great possible fit!  In the end, it will cost more time and money if you settle with a candidate that doesn’t work out after a few months.  Keep looking for that stellar candidate and you will come across them!  Your customer will appreciate not being bombarded with “dud” resumes which are a waste of their time and decrease your credibility.

Know Your History

What is meant by “Know Your History?”  You have to know where you found your best candidates.  Keep a track record of where some of your top candidates came from.  Is there a pattern?  If there is one, this can help you know where you should spend most of your time recruiting.  Consider doing the same exercise reversed.  Think about some of the bad candidates you recruited that didn’t work out.  Where did they come from?  Is there a trend?  Discovering patterns on where you find your good and bad candidates can help you prioritize your time better.  It will also allow for you to not only be a better recruiter, but to be a more efficient one!

Keep the Good Ones Engaged

Even if a candidate is not a good fit for the position you are recruiting for, stay engaged with that candidate if they are a good one.  Suppose you interviewed a candidate and you LOVED them, however, either they aren’t interested in the position or you don’t think they are a good fit for the position.  Stay connected with them!  Don’t let the good ones get away!  Whatever the circumstance is, make sure you stay in touch if they are GOOD.  If they weren’t interested in the position you were recruiting for, make sure you understand what they are looking for and what kind of job would be the right fit for them.  Once you know what kind of job they are looking for, try to find one for them.  If you don’t have a job that’s a good fit at the time, continue to reach out to them every month or so.  See how their job search is going and tell them you are still trying to find the right fit for them.  More than likely, they WANT to hear from you and they want to know someone is helping them with their job search.

We all want to recruit STELLAR candidates!  Hope some of these tips help you say “Goodbye dud candidate, hello STELLAR recruit!”