Dear Placed Candidate – Remember Me?

timtolan Communication, Executive Search, Recruiting, Tim Tolan, Working With Recruiters

IStock_000003821334XSmallI use FOT as a great venue to rant from time to time to my HR and recruiter brethren and today will be no exception. Let me whiteboard this scenario for you – my point won’t be hard to understand (promise). I’m sure you have all seen this movie before.

I’m constantly amazed at human behavior when it comes to candidates we work with and place in our practice. Our role is to serve our clients in finding the best talent in the land and we are paid to accomplish that goal each time we make a placement. The reality is that we work for the client and are paid by the client – I get that. We also talk to countless numbers of candidates during the course of a search assignment, sometimes making a friend and (well) sometimes maybe not. I value the relationships we forge over the long haul and intuitively understand that we ARE in the relationship business – plain and simple. Placed candidates today can become the hiring managers of tomorrow. Building and maintaining strong relationships distinguish recruiters (internal or external) from being just good or great. What I don’t get (ever) is how placed candidates somehow forget who we are the minute they start their new gig, as if we’ve never met. Let’s face it – our DNA is all over their new job! H-E-L-L-O! Remember me? I’m not looking for a thank you letter – I just want to see how things are going! Too much to ask?

Better than half the battle of being a successful search professional is selling. I’ve always believed that! We sell the client on the search assignment, sell the candidate on the opportunity and sell both parties to consummate a successful placement. Often, emotions run high on both sides of the table – especially during the offer phase. We usually are somewhere in the middle trying to make sure both the client and the candidate are happy with the outcome and each placement is a “win-win”. The day the offer is accepted,we usually find ourselves in a “love fest” as we celebrate with the candidate on their new job! It’s great news all the way around. What blows me away is right after that, when we follow up to see how things are going with the new job, we get pure dial-tone. NA-DA. ZIP-PO. Is anybody home?

It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. We maintain detailed contact information on each candidate in our database so after they start their new job we can call their home, cell phone, e-mail or send them a text message to set up the post placement follow up call. Sometimes we get absolutely no response. No return phone calls, e-mails or text messages. And sorry – but I don’t get it. I never will.

I’m only guessing their selective amnesia condition will subside when things go south in their career and they need help to find another gig (and they will). Yep. They will likely contact us first as if nothing ever happened… but sorry – it does not work that way. Long term relationships are built on trust and communication – plain and simple. Good communication is never defined by leaving countless voice/text messages that go unanswered. I will struggle and have a hard time returning that phone call when they do reach out. Not returning a phone call from the person who helped you land your new job is (well) not very smart. Nope. I’m just saying.