The One Follow-up Question You’re Missing That Could Cost You a Future Prospect

A smart boy in classroom scratching his head.

Hey, I get it. We’ve all done it. When we experience that initial rejection of “No, I’m really not looking right now,” or “I’m actually really happy where I’m at,” we thank a candidate for their time and try not to take up too much more of it. What if I told you that pushing a little bit further could land you a question that would make a future search, in the words of Katy Perry, “swish swish?”

Trust

When we’re reaching out to candidates, and they confide in us enough to hand over their phone number and have a conversation with us, we’re establishing trust. It’s really easy for people in this day and age to want to hole up and away from phone calls, so the fact that you’ve gotten this far with them says something. In my experience, candidates want to feel taken care of, and something I think about regularly is how we as recruiters and talent acquisition individuals can better facilitate that process for them.

Best Practice

When I’m searching for candidates, I send them a connecting request with a quick note: “Hi ______, I was hoping to connect with you via phone on ________. Could we make that happen? Thanks, Ashley.” If/when these folks choose to connect with me, I get a notification in my LinkedIn inbox that they’re now a connection, because I took the time to add that note. Now I have the opportunity to follow up with them again because they’re now a first-degree connection. I’ve had a lot of success following up a second time with candidates that may have missed an email or got too busy to respond to a voicemail previously.

The Million Dollar Question

Enter the follow up question. It’s the end of the conversation and it’s evident that it’s just “not going to be the right time” to pursue this role any further. “Ok,” you concede, “Not a problem. If I were to call you in the future and ask you about a role, where would it be located and what would the title be?” Candidates are usually taken aback by this question—it’s a thinker! After they provide a response to me with geographic preferences, their tone is different. Appreciative. The fact that it would occur to me to think of them in the future according to their preferences and ideal roles lets candidates I interact with know that I have their best interests at heart. As always, connect with your candidates on LinkedIn. This ensures that they’re able to see what you post, and what you share from your company’s page(s).

Keeping Connected

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I view networking as an art, and I treat it that way while I’m conducting my own measures to keep myself connected. Keep yourself organized. Talent acquisition moves fast, and a lot of folks might find that their once steel-trap mind isn’t functioning the way it used to before the chaos began. I use an excel spreadsheet categorized with each person’s first and last name, method used to contact, location, LinkedIn URL, and notes. I house detailed notes on candidates within LinkedIn Recruiter as well in the event that one of my team members pulls up their profile from a shared opening.

However you choose to run your desk, ask yourself how your demographic of candidates would prefer to be taken care of. Do they care about future openings? Do they want a relationship with you where you check in on them periodically? As soon as talent acquisition workers can start viewing the candidate experience from the actual candidate’s point of view, the sooner the magic happens.

 

 

Ashley has 5 years’ experience supporting the talent acquisition function in a variety of specialties.  Currently, she supports the Hudson/KapStone team by sourcing and engaging passive candidates. Ashley celebrated her one year anniversary with Hudson in January 2017. She has her Bachelor’s in Human Resources and Personnel Psychology from Washington State University. She lives in Kelso, WA with her fiancé, Garrett. 

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