The Real Reason Behind Candidate Drop-outs

I am in no way a recruiter, but i briefly wore the hat of one when I placed 2 perm developers in 1 week without even trying, while I saw other recruiters hustle and struggle to make this number over the span of months in particular tech markets. Over the past 5 years working in the IT industry and walking in the shoes of a candidate, i’ve had the pleasure to work with some of the good recruiters out there and a lot of the not so up to par ones as well, and over this time i’ve had many observations about tech recruitment especially recently when I embarked on a thorough research asking questions and trying to find answers.

In the past few months since the end of 2017, I’ve been talking to many recruiters and reading a lot on this craft, and it appeared to me one of the biggest problems tech recruiters face in high demand technology markets is candidates dropping off mid engagement, which is understanbly frustrating especially working with limited candidate pools, and it leaves one confused and unsure what to do in order to avoid this happening again. Your candidate not even picking up your calls or responding to your emails and not sharing any feedback that you could start with, leaves you pondering in your own head as to what has been the reason for them to just cut you off like that.

Coming back to me and from my experience on the candidate side there are a few things I could say about this. I can think of two main reasons why a candidate would cut off their recruiter and never get back to them:

  1. They just found another opportunity or accepted an offer (This you don’t have control over and it’s too late down the hiring process to rectify this)
  2. They didn’t take you seriously and don’t have any confidence in you or your ability to find them the right role (Now this you have control over and i’ll tell you why)

If a candidate finds another job there’s little you can do to keep them interested in what you have to offer, therefore the best you can do here is accept the nature of the job market and move on, because really when companies or recruiters fill a role they have they don’t get back to each candidate and tell them they weren’t successful (only a few do this). The only control you have over this outcome is to focus on the input which came way earlier in the engagement process before reaching this stage and this gets me to the second point.

If your candidates aren’t taking you seriously chances are it’s because you’ve given them a good reason not to. The first impression you build with your candidate is very very important because that will set the tone and premise on which you will continue your hiring engagement. In that first conversation you must be able to show them you know what you’re talking about, you’re confident about your knowledge of the role (the tech involved and the responsibilities), you’re confident in your knowledge of the client’s work environment and requirements.

Once you exhibit the fact that you’re well informed, this leaves your candidate no choice but to take you seriously and listen to what you’ve got to offer, and this has given you edge of 90% of any other recruiter who might approach your candidate with another opportunity and it drops the chances of your candidate cutting you off by 80% as well, because once you’ve built a relationship with them based on confidence and competence, the least they owe you is an explanation as to why they’re not interested in the role you have anymore, and this right here has flipped your failed attempt to fill the role into an opportunity to learn from feedback.

In a nutshell the best way for you to reduce candidate drop offs and improve your ability to close a perfect candidate for your role is to become a better recruiter. Is it really that simple? how do you do that? you might ask. Try to educate yourself better on the tech involved in your roles, do the homework when it comes to your client, their working environment and requirements, and finally give yourself more time to do these tasks by focussing a little more on one area of the market than others and not just be jack of all trades.

If you would like to find out more on how you can achieve this faster and hassle free, check out my website and book a FREE consultation with me today:

How to Attract Candidates Without Even Trying

It is true there has been quite a lot of efforts in the recruitment industry around candidate attraction in tech markets. I see podcasts and video conference channels solely dedicated for this topic and people daily dissecting different methods and techniques on how to attract talent. From marketing automation to methods of copywriting and promoting job adverts. I wouldn’t want to make assumptions on how the results have been, but from my experience as a candidate and from the research I have done speaking to fellow developers in various disciplines, I could say a few things.

Historically, or maybe just recently it seems to me the craft of recruitment has been closely aligned with sales, it’s looked at as a numbers game where a “consultant” is a glorified sales rep who’s target is to dial as many numbers on their phone and send as many retargeting emails as they could to be able to reach as many candidates as humanly possible telling them about this “urgent role” their client has got, and the rationale is, “If i send 500 emails, and make 20 calls every day this week, I should surely be able to harvest about 10 good CVs (or at least ones I think are good) and send out 5 of those to my client which will eventually get 2 or 3 people into interviews”. This is more or less the strategy which 80% of recruitment businesses follow and I don’t mean to bash or insult anyone, Only highlighting the impact of the rising demand on particular skills which has pushed recruiters to frantically hop on any new or niche tech market they come across, or any requirements that come in from their clients and try to cast their net as wide as they can thinking that’s the way for them to be most profitable in a time where demand on skilled talent is as high as it gets.

But there’s a small problem with this strategy, It doesn’t work anymore. No one has ever stopped to think, why is this high demand on talent though, it is clear it’s because of shortage of skills, and what does that mean? limited number of candidates and what does a small number of candidates mean? it’s not a numbers game anymore. Because when you rotate once and twice and trice on the same candidate pool with your seemingly attractive sales pitch for the role, chances are you’ve pretty much put yourself in front of the whole candidate pool in the window of days. And what happens if your way of presenting this role is poor because you have minimal knowledge of the client or tech? you’ve pretty much ruined the whole candidate pool for yourself (and your colleagues too!). You might be asking how.

I’ve actually seen this happen first hand being part of a very niche technology market with quite a small candidate pool, where the developers in this technology pretty much have a dedicated Slack channel to call out recruiters on how bad they’re approach is to selling these candidates certain roles, and what do you think will happen when some 3000 developers all see your name and laugh at how bad you are at selling this role? You’ve lost yourself the chance to make any placements in this small yet very profitable niche tech market.

Now that we’ve established it’s not a numbers game anymore (limited quantity) let’s try and focus on the quality. When working with such small candidate pools you are expected to be up to the standard in terms of your knowledge of your client requirements, the market, and have a minimal understanding of the technology involved. No one ever stopped to think to ask candidates what they care about, or what they aspire to, or at least what draws their attention. Most recruiters are out there brainstorming theories and making plans and starting full blown startups which are all based on their personal experience in recruitment and minimal research on the market or candidates side which is the side they claim they are the advocate of in their so called innovative endeavor.

So enough foreplay, tell me why i’m reading this, tell me WHAT DO CANDIDATES WANT?

It’s simple, but not really, let me explain. the recruitment industry has gotten so distorted that candidates in small pools and niche technologies dispise recruiters and want to cut them out of the whole job hunt process once and for all, the good news is they really can’t because there’s always going to be a need for experts in finding talent and activating those passive candidates along with a lot of other headwork recruiters can help with and I don’t really need to go into why recruitment is here to stay, that’s a different conversation. But if we drill a bit further with candidates and look beyond this emotionally impulsive grudge they have against recruiters, we can see that all they want (as a start) is to work with someone who knows what they’re talking about, and that’s where it gets simple.

We have gone and complicated things by trying to think hard and come out with ideas in our own head on how to make things good for the candidates without speaking to candidates, how do we attract them? how do I make this job advert sexy enough? etc.. but really all candidates want to know is am I, as a recruiter, being transparent with them? do I know my client and their work environment or I just skimmed some information off of their website and I’m still to have my first chat with the hiring manager after I get interest from this candidate? Do I really know the role and the tech involved or did I just google some stuff and circled the buzzwords used in this industry or just fished some information from a few candidates who will not pick up my calls now? These tricks might have worked with those candidates fresh out of uni and looking to get their first commercial job, or those who are just desperate and need an immediate placement. But for the remaining 90% of candidates in this niche, they can now look through this, matter of fact it’s gotten so bad they don’t even want any recruiters getting through to them.

How do we solve this? Educate yourself, be informed about the tech field, the client, their requirements, and the candidates. Take the time to focus on particular needs your client has and don’t try to be a glorified body for hire to lift any dirty work they might have. Be a little selective in terms of the markets you want to work in, this will allow you to learn more on the technologies, the different client needs, and most importantly what makes candidates tick in these particular markets. Once you do this you’ll be able to build a reputation that beats any AI or marketing automation tooling out there that’s made for attracting candidate. You will be able to naturally make job adverts, or send out emails which directly appeal to your candidate pool and get them to respond and want to work with you and listen to what you have to offer.

I will expand further on these points in a future article where I will highlight the importance of being specialist rather than being generalist in tech recruitment.

If you’re interested in boosting your ability to attract the best talent and differentiate yourself in Tech recruitment markets, book a Free Strategy Session with me today.