April 22, 2014 by Walter Cogan
As a technology recruiter I speak with many different people every single day. Much of my day is spent calling existing candidates that I am working with who are in various stages of the interviewing process. I also spend a considerable amount of time cold-calling candidates for open positions that I believe our clients will want to meet. Over the last couple of weeks I have had conversations with two highly experienced, professional software developers that seemed to have something in common.
Within a few short seconds I could tell that these individuals were on their guard and quite skeptical as to why I was calling them. They seemed very uncomfortable. After speaking with them for a few minutes, both candidates admitted to me that they were being hounded by recruiters who would call them up, attempt to collect a great deal of personal information from them, and would then be told about a position that was clearly not aligned with their experience or pay grad. In many cases they said they would just never hear from the recruiters again. I could actually hear the frustration in their voices.
As a professional recruiter, and as a person generally, I always do my best to quickly gain the trust of others. I am told quite often by the candidates I work with that I am generally successful at it – which to me is clearly a compliment. And yet, these two individuals were proving challenging even for me. Their past experiences with recruiters were clearly bad and I was having a tough time cracking through their defenses. Although our recruiting process at DaVinciTek is rather rigorous when it comes to collecting accurate information from candidates so we can best represent them to our clients, I could tell that in the case of both of these individuals, I was going to have to be a little flexible, and indeed patient, if I were going to break though the ice.
The way I did that was to quite simply take the proverbial “step back” and not collect any information at all. I suggested to both candidates instead that I would just send them a job description along with all of my contact information, as well as a link to our website so they could check us out, and suggested that we speak again in a couple of days. In the case of the first developer, I have now been told that I am the only recruiter he really wants to work with going forward. In the case of the second, who I just spoke with initially today, I arranged a Skype call with him for Monday evening (today is a Friday) so I can more formerly introduce myself and hopefully gain his trust. He seemed quite interested in moving forward at that point.
If I have learned one thing as a recruiter over a period of many years, is that if you push your candidates and clients too hard before they really have a chance to know you and trust you, the opportunity to have a fruitful, professional, and hopefully profitable relationship will never realize its full potential. Patience I have found is not a trait that most recruiters typically possess in great abundance. I have found however in the cases where in-demand candidates are frustrated with the recruiters that are constantly calling them, patience is sometimes truly a virtue.