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Candidate & Client Control

There’s no such thing as candidate control or client control. These are misconceptions in our industry, drilled into our heads by trainers older than time. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible. 

I’ve said it a million times, but it always warrants repeating:

Nothing you say to a candidate is going to make them take a job they don’t want. Nothing you say to a client is going to make them extend an offer to someone they don’t want.

Life as a recruiter is easier to manage once you’ve accepted these as absolutes. Instead of trying to control people, let’s build alignment so we have a shot at influence. Let’s consistently put their interests above our own and serve them in a way they’re unaccustomed to by someone in our role.

There are several ways to do this. With a client, the fastest path to influence is to pull your own candidate before the client rejects them. When we withdraw a candidate on our own, our credibility soars. This gives your client an opportunity to see that you’re looking out for their best interests, even when it’s not in your best interest. If you know the candidate isn’t going to make it, it’s better to pull them yourself. You might say something to the client like, “I certainly don’t have the same experience as you do in gauging engineering skill, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some concerns I have about this candidate.” If you share the concern, and the client has the same concern, you’ve generated alignment.

On the candidate side, the easiest way to use alignment to generate influence is through a counteroffer. We know it’s counterintuitive, but when a candidate insists they would never consider a counteroffer, you should ask them “why not?”

Explain to your candidate, at the point of resignation they have more leverage than ever before. Their boss is likely caught off guard, and it really makes sense for them to have a clearly defined expectation of what it would take for them to stay. Your job is then to anchor them to a significantly higher expectation than you believe is likely from their current employer.

Alignment garners influence. You don’t have control over anyone. 

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Tricia Tamkin, headhunter, advisor, coach, and gladiator. Tricia has spoken at over 50 recruiting events, been quoted in multiple national publications, and her name is often dropped in groups as the solution to any recruiters’ challenges. She brings over 30 years of deep recruiting experience and offers counsel in a way which is perspective changing and entertaining.

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