Keeping a great candidate warm during a long hiring process can be difficult, no matter how good your executive recruiter is. Opportunities dwarf the number of qualified professionals. Surrounded by email, social media, and texting, candidates expect frequent communication and quick action. If you don’t meet their expectations, they’re likely to leave the pipeline. Some even abandon an accepted offer. As staffing professionals or hiring companies, we can be “ghosted,” which now applies to careers as much as to dating.

Keeping a candidate invested in the hiring process is not for the timid, and it’s not for the slacker, either. At Parker Blake, keeping candidates warm is a big part of our challenge. Expectations are especially high for us, since we place executive-level talent and those with high-demand skills.

Keeping candidates warm starts early

If a candidate feels simply like a head to be hunted early in the process, you’re already a step behind in recruitment. From the first contact, Parker Blake makes a point to know each candidate beyond the skills-and-experience level. What are the intangibles that make this person exceptionally qualified? Is it a desire to relocate to the area, a drive to take a step up organizationally, experience in a similar position, or even a reputation as the turnaround specialist this situation needs?

Beyond knowing each candidate, Parker Blake begins promoting the hiring company’s brand from the first contact. What is it that makes this a dream job? We make it a point to know the hiring company in a way that makes us a natural and enthusiastic advocate. For professionals who might field dozens of recruiting calls, we make our opportunity memorable and establish a personal connection. When we contact them the second time, we typically get quick recognition. When a candidate becomes a finalist, we can send even more news about company activities and ideas that will intrigue him.

Keeping candidates warm means frequent contact

Executive search firms are like the juggler you see at the circus. They’re keeping multiple balls in the air – juggling the needs of the candidates, the hiring manager, the client’s HR team, and sometimes a board of directors or search committee. It can be busy – but that’s no excuse for losing contact with the candidates. The days of “I’ll call you when I have something to tell you” are gone. Today’s in-demand professionals will stay interested if you keep the conversation going. Emails, text messages, phone calls, face-to-face visits, and even snail-mailed, handwritten notes let the candidate know that she’s still in the running. This can be a daunting order for an in-house HR department, but executive search firms specialize in keeping up a lively conversation.

Keeping candidates warm means being interested in their career development

As we learn more about each candidate, we can often see their career goals more clearly. Sometimes that means they are perfect for the current position; sometimes it means they are headed elsewhere. Listening might be a lost art in much of our world, but for a staffing professional, listening is everything. And that is a distinct advantage to working with an executive recruiter. Because we have a deep network of known talent, we can sometimes find the right person from among our longstanding relationships. Keeping candidates warm can be a years-long task.

Keeping candidates warm is the new reality

It’s clear that we’re not going back to the “old days,” when candidates patiently waited amid silence that could last for months. Today’s top talent is in high demand, and if they feel they are not treated well during their candidacy, they are likely to drop out of the process. Parker Blake has a strategic process that keep candidates warm as we expedite the hiring journey. If candidates are growing cold or ghosting you, let’s talk.