Why a Proactive Approach to Candidate Relationships Is Critical to Success & ROI

ThinkstockPhotos-460265595With ongoing complaints regarding lack of communication between staffing firms, clients and candidates, it is important to examine the differences between “transactional” methods of recruitment vs. a “holistic, proactive, individualized” approach to candidate intake and placement.

As staffing industry professionals, our work focuses on identifying, cultivating and matching candidates to our clients’ projects and opportunities. And while we understand our clients’ needs, one aspect often overlooked is understanding a potential candidate’s full scope of professional needs and goals.

Taking the time to deeply understand a candidate’s requirements is instrumental in achieving long-term relationships with a job seeker and allows for better candidate selection and retention. Additionally, taking a proactive and holistic approach allows us to discover the additional value each candidate brings to the table outside of the original job scope. Discovering “hidden” candidate value is essential to lasting happiness of a client, a job candidate and their contentment with the staffing firm.

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A holistic approach to candidate identification, intake, and placement makes finding and placing a candidate more about  getting to know a candidate and understanding his/her needs at a personal level.  It’s built on forging a relationship and following through on finding perfect opportunities with a client who can offer unforeseen returns in career growth and ROI. While this seems ‘touchy-feely’ and too time consuming, this is intended to help maximize the value generated from the candidate relationship and placement efforts. Too often, we use a transactional approach to recruitment and placement – which fills a position quickly – but does not insure candidates and clients will be satisfied in the long run. The bottom line is, with a holistic, personal approach, staffing firms, clients and candidates all benefit.

A central element necessary to implementing a holistic candidate process, focused on their individual needs, goals, skills, and short and long-term professional aspirations is to adopt a proactive, full-spectrum approach – as opposed to simply reacting to the needs of a particular opportunity.

Here are some tips to establish and achieve a proactive, candidate-focused approach necessary to meet these goals:

  • Initial Phone Interview/Pre-Screening. Establish an initial connection with the candidate, as well as a surface understanding of their skills, needs, and goals to allow you to determine if he/she is a good fit and if pursuing a relationship makes sense.
  • Face-to-Face Intake Meeting. Following the initial phone conversation, set an in-person meeting focused solely on the candidate, to facilitate a more in-depth discussion to gather key background information on several key items, for development into a candidate profile, such as:
    • Motivators. What are the candidate’s ‘must-haves’ for a successful working environment/project?  Do they prefer working individually or in a group, is having access to the latest technology a ‘must- have, ‘What are their interests and what do they perceive to be a ‘win’ in a position?
    • Skill Set. What skills and talents does the candidate possess that bring value not just to a specific opportunity at hand but in the long term for future engagements that may arise down the road?
    • Compensation. What are their expectations? What has their compensation history looked like on past assignments?
    • Short and Long-Term Professional Goals. Based on past experiences and/or resume-building goal targets, what is important to the candidate to be fulfilled?
    • Lifestyle Considerations. What considerations, such as commute, skill training/professional development opportunities and others, are important to the candidate?

Once you’ve uncovered a candidate’s individual goals, needs, and the talents and skills they bring to the table, compile them into a Candidate Profile document that can be shared with your organization’s account executives to more accurately and efficiently filter and match individuals to client engagements. Also, track outreach and communication with each candidate, trying to contact him/her once every 30 days to ensure the channels remain open and the candidate feels valued, understood, and engaged in the process with your organization and brand.

Overall, the days of plucking a developer’s resume off of the internet and sending it to a client are over. Adopting a holistic approach to candidate relations, management, and placement is an integral step in driving maximum client satisfaction, candidate retention, and long-term ROI for your staffing organization. Transitioning to a proactive, individually-focused process is key in building your organization’s brand among candidate contacts and client organizations to keep you on the road to lasting growth and success.

MORE: Interviewing candidates: do you have a deal-breaker list?


Matt Chamberlain
Matt Chamberlain is executive director, delivery/recruiting operations of Digital Intelligence Systems LLC (DISYS).

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