Learning to think like a recruiter will help you make impactful decisions to better your career search. To better understand what we do, let’s walk through the typical recruiting process from receiving a new job order to preparing candidates for the first day on the job.
Steps to the Recruiting Process
Step 1: Detailing the Vacancy
This is probably the most important part of the process as it sets the stage for everything else. Even a short five minute Q&A session the hiring manager can save countless hours “route recalculating” the recruiting GPS. Detailing the vacancy means finding out what the hiring manager/team is actually looking for, both inside and outside of the job description. Example questions are:
Step 2: Outreach
Outreach can be done in many ways: searching databases and calling/emailing candidates that have the “must have” qualifications, advertisements and job postings to attract active candidates, cold calling, networking on social media, and working on a referral network among others.
Working with referrals is a great way to identify talent. For example, if I trust you based of your background, personality, and job experience and you say, “Give John a call because he is amazing, has the skill sets you are looking for, and is open for a change,” then John is someone I want to speak with. I know and trust you, you know and trust John, and therefore I should know and trust John. In the simplest way you are giving him a brief positive reference.
Regardless of the method, the interview process can’t begin without outreach. People can’t interview for a job they don’t know exists.
Best Practices: Even if the person you are thinking of referring isn’t looking, it would still make sense to pass the information of the vacancy along. Recruiters specialize in working with passive candidates and I have personally had countless of referrals who were eternally grateful for the introduction.
Step 3: Initial Phone Screen with Recruiter
The first phone call between a potential candidate and a recruiter should be a mutual exchange of information. The potential candidate wants to learn more about the job opportunity while the recruiter wants to know more about the candidate’s qualifications.
It is helpful if the recruiter has an updated resume prior to the call so they can collect their questions. If they are “flying blind”, the first phone call will generally be very brief and one-sided.
Using the information gained in Step 1 the recruiter can paint a better picture of the company, the position, the expectations, the interview process, and answer most questions candidates have in order to identify whether the opportunity fits with their career expectations and goals.
Once the candidate is interested in the job opportunity, the recruiter needs to make sure that the candidate meets the “must have” qualifications prior to moving forward with the submission. Candidates should be prepared to answer very specific questions regarding their backgrounds/experiences, be able to walk through their job history and reasons for change, and discuss salary history and expectations.
This process may take more than an initial phone call. In fact it could take a handful of calls going back and forth to get to the point where both parties are comfortable in moving forward.
Best Practices: Be upfront yet professional during your calls with your recruiter. They should know the truth about your situation at all times to be able to best represent your candidacy. This is a topic we will tap into in the weeks ahead.
Step 4: Submission
Once there has been a mutual agreement to move forward from the initial phone screen(s), the recruiter will then forward the resume and notes from your conversation to the hiring team.
If your notes make it to the hiring manager, it means that the recruiter feels you are qualified for the position.
Step 5: Scheduling the Interview
Once the hiring team shows interest in scheduling an interview, the recruiter will usually be the liaison to help set everything up by collecting availability and confirmation contact information along with confirming the interview once set.
Step 6: Interview Preparation (only when working with an agency recruiter)
If you are working with an agency recruiter, before every interview there should be a call between the candidate and recruiter…no exceptions! This is your inside track to nailing the interview. First, this is an opportunity to ask any questions that have come up since your earlier call(s) to get a better picture of the opportunity. Second, it gives you a chance to learn from prior experiences. Learn why other candidates made it through the process and why others didn’t. If you are working with an internal recruiter, they will most likely be unable to provide such information.
Step 7: Interview Debrief
Your recruiter will debrief with the hiring manager(s) to discuss next steps. If there is continued interest they will facilitate next steps. If not, they will let you know of the team’s decision not to pursue.
Step 8: Assuming Interest: Repeat Steps 5-7 Until the Interview Process has Been Completed
Step 9: Offer Negotiation
Once the team decides to move forward with an offer, the recruiter will work obtaining internal approvals and will then extend the offer to the candidate. Usually, the verbal offer will come first, allowing for any negotiating to take place. Once the verbal offer has been accepted, they will then work on getting out a formal written offer (which may take a couple of days to produce depending on whose signatures are needed).
If you are working with an agency recruiter, they are master negotiators who should be trying to fight for the best possible offer. After all, their fees are usually based on a percentage of your first year’s salary. Higher salary equates to higher commissions.
If you are working with an internal recruiter, they may also be able to help guide your salary expectations as they are motivated for their positions to fill, a metric their performance is based on.
Step 10: Preparing for the First Day
Whether starting a new permanent position or a contract assignment, recruiters should be checking in with both the candidate and the hiring team to make sure everything is ready for the first day. Background checks and references should be completed. IT should have all computers and systems ready to be accessed and email should be up and running. HR should also be able to provide information regarding what time to report, where to go, and who to ask for.
Candidates should be completely done their previous position prior to starting their new role (part time contractors are an exception), have their first day info, have any office equipment ready (if relevant), and any pre-onboarding paperwork filled completed. At this stage it is common for the candidate and their new manager to be in touch directly, but the recruiter should always be there to help as needed.
Thinking like a recruiter means planning for the long game. Getting an initial call back is your first goal, but make a plan to the nail each interview, plan for an offer, and get ready for your first day. Hiring is largely an insider’s game. The more you know the rules, the better the advantage you have. Don’t hesitate to pick your recruiter’s brain. The information they provide might just be the difference between offer and rejection.
The Headhunter Guide is RECRUITER WRITTEN'S way to provide insider's knowledge to candidates and employers alike. Enjoy!