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Oct 24, 2017
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Now that we have our schedule planned for the day, we have reviewed resumes and have calls scheduled with potential candidates we step into Time Management – Candidate Conversations. This series on Time Management is to ultimately make you a more efficient and efficient sourcer/recruiter which will lead to more success.

I am sure we have all been there with candidates who just LOVE to talk. Its ok, we like to talk too. We just need to be critical of the time we are spending on the phone taking notes and screening candidates because you don’t want to waste a half hour on a candidate who at the end of the call doesn’t believe the role is right for them and doesn’t want to move forward. Are we going to have these conversations over and over? Absolutely! It’s part of the job, but I will help you manage the time spent on these calls and various workarounds.

When you have calls scheduled and lined up for the day with candidates or you’re going to be cold calling always keep an eye on the timer on your phone. I have various benchmark times that I like to target to help me keep track and on schedule with phone conversations. Even my voicemails I am critical on the timing. With Voicemails, I try not to exceed a minute. When someone sees a voicemail on their phone, they’re able to see just how long it is. How many of you delete a voicemail if it’s over three minutes long from a number you don’t know? I can assume a lot, and well candidates will do the same.

With voicemails, you want to be sure to get across some main points. The three W’s are very important, who you are, where you’re from, and why you’re calling. This allows the candidate to know who to look up on LinkedIn and what is so enticing about calling you back. To jazz it up I sometimes toss in where I found them or something directly off of their resume if they have an exciting hobby or fact in their summary, this always helps break the ice, and they are more willing to call you back for a quick chat!

Once you get them on the phone, I use the following benchmarks via my timer on my phone, if you don’t have the ability to time yourself on the phone make sure you get a simple digital timer or even a stopwatch. By the five minute mark, I should already be able to measure the candidate’s interest in the job and if they are a fit. By the eight-minute mark, I should be gathering their details needed to get them sent over to the manager if we have agreed on being submitted. By the ten minute mark, we should be wrapping up the call and sending a follow-up email outlining the conversation with the agreed upon details.

This allows me to spend ten minutes a call on each candidate or even less if I can tell by the first five minutes or even quicker if the candidate is not a fit and not interested. There have been multiple times when sometimes a candidate just wants to talk and talk and next you know it’s been a half hour on the phone. Each call is critical when you’re trying to talk to as many candidates as possible.

Sometimes it’s understandable that you need to spend the extra time with a candidate and understand what exactly they do. That is what’s nice about this and being able to manage your time to be effective and efficient. You will see yourself spend a little longer on the phone for more advanced senior roles and a little less time on the phone for lower level positions. Having the mindset to flip back and forth between the two and understand the level of conversation needed and time spent while screening a candidate is very important.

When a candidate is going on a tangent, you must be able to control the conversation. Reel it back in and on track. Showing some authority is perfectly fine, you want to be able to control the time spent talking to the candidate and be able to have control during the recruiting process. The candidate will also respect the fact you can see what the manager needs out of the candidate as well.

One thing we can’t control is time, and in staffing, there is never enough of it. With the right tools and processes though, we can manage our time to be effective and efficient, so no time is wasted!

In my next article, I will be discussing Time Management – Work-Life Balance.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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