Think Like a Marketer When Packaging Your Candidate by @bethmctheo

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Jun 23, 2015

We all know how challenging it can be to find a good candidate these days. With unemployment rates at historic lows, good candidates are not only hard to come by, they’ve got more options available to them. So why is it that we still struggle to get timely responses from our hiring managers when we submit a candidate (or three)? My theory: it’s all in the packaging.

Over the course of my 20+ year career in this crazy business, I’ve been a recruiter, I’ve managed a team of recruiters, and I’ve trained hundreds of sourcers and recruiters. And, if I am being totally honest, many of the candidate submittals I have seen over the years are cringe-worthy. It’s time that we stop thinking like recruiters and begin thinking like marketers and resolve to do a better job with our candidate submittals. Why go through all the hard work of finding amazing candidates if you are going to drop the ball at submittal time?

Let’s assume for a moment that your candidates (the product) meet the requirements and are interested in the position. Keeping in mind that our attention spans are getting shorter and everyone is very busy, our goal, then, is to entice the hiring manager (the customer) to take action and do so quickly. To do that, you need honestly evaluate the way you’re presenting candidates. Chances are we could all use some improvement in this area.

Marketers talk about “5 P’s,” which are fundamental elements that are considered in any marketing strategy. Let’s apply this to recruiting. Before you present your next candidate to a hiring manager, consider the 5 Ps of candidate presentation:

  1. Product: As a recruiter, your candidate is your product. You need to know the candidate well in order to market him/her effectively. During your interview with the candidate, be sure to ask questions that will allow you to understand the candidate’s knowledge, skills and competencies in-depth. If some of the answers to your questions leave you feeling unsatisfied, be sure to ask follow up questions and probe for details. You also need to know your candidate’s motivations and goals so you can share that information with your hiring manager. Your goal is to get the answers you need to be able to present the candidate with total confidence to the hiring manager. Don’t settle for less.
  1. Price: The price is the compensation the candidate is able to command. Information is power, so you need to understand the dynamics of the marketplace, your candidate’s expectations and your client’s compensation philosophy. Do you know what your competitors and other companies are paying for candidates with similar skills and experience? If not, make it your mission to get that information. Your candidates are a great source for this information, and there are free resources such as and that can help fill in the blanks. Also, get to know your candidate’s compensation expectations in detail: does he/she have a bottom line below which he/she will not even consider a new opportunity? Finally, educate your client on the marketplace and your candidate so that your hiring managers can respond appropriately.
  1. Promotion: What is it about your candidate that will make your hiring manager excited? What pain does the hiring manager have that this candidate might alleviate? If your candidate has what it takes to do the job well, then you need to sell that to the hiring manager. Just like your job postings, your candidate submittals to need to have substance as well as sizzle in order to be truly effective. Think back to your intake call with the hiring manager and focus on the candidate strengths that will resonate most.
  1. Packaging: Of course, the number one goal is to submit high quality candidates to your hiring managers. But the way you present or “package” your submittal is very important as well. Whether you are using an established template or your own format, style matters. First and foremost, your candidate should have provided you with a professional, error-free resume. It is your job to ensure your candidate presentations look professional and convey the image you intend. Make sure you review formatting, and check the spelling and grammar in all correspondence before you hit send.
  1. Passion: Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are truly passionate about your candidates, make sure that comes across in your communications to the hiring manager.

One of the most fundamental and important skills for recruiters to learn and master is how to properly present candidates to a hiring manager. It takes a lot of time, energy, and skill to find great candidates, so make sure your hard work pays off by presenting candidates with confidence. In the process, you will earn the respect and trust of your hiring managers — and who doesn’t want that?