In my line of work, I speak with a lot of potential hires on behalf of client organizations, so it’s not surprising that I’ve learned quite a bit about what candidates want and don’t want from me and the companies I represent.  We believe that what makes KMR’s search process different from every other firms is our focus on becoming an extension of your business.  We learn the ins and outs of your company, what makes you different and unique, so that we can represent your brand and your culture in the candidate marketplace.  Beyond the job functions and expectations, we consult with a client organization to fully understand their marketplace, their culture, their pain points so we can provide to you a short list of the highest quality candidates for the role, not a long list of possibilities.

At the end of the day it’s all about impressions and how you, as an organization, are represented in the marketplace. I treat candidates and clients with the same level of respect.  Even if a candidate is not ultimately hired, they come away from their experience with KMR with a positive impression of your organization.  This sort of professional, considerate behavior reflects positively on our client’s organization and bolsters their brand in the candidate marketplace.

So, what makes a potential candidate turn his/her nose up at a company and walk away?

PS – it is often not salary.

 Here’s how the process works best:

It starts with being responsive and respectful. As a search consultant I am typically initiating the first outreach to prospective candidates on my client’s behalf and it always starts with a phone call. Even if   I simply leave a detailed voicemail, I can convey my sincerity and professionalism. It sets the right tone and facilitates further productive discussions – and it’s always followed up with an email. I find that I have a high percentage of response from prospective candidates.

I keep the lines of communication between client and candidate open – I address their questions and keep them informed as to the status of the search in a timely manner. Too often I hear from candidates that they were left hanging by recruiters – the recruiter has gone radio silent. This lack of communication effects the client’s reputation as well.  It doesn’t take much to pick up the phone or send an email to provide a candidate with feedback.

Candidates want transparency. I take the time to work with my client organizations to understand the full scope of the position, how the business runs and most importantly, the culture and nuances of the hiring manager. This helps me to work with candidates – I can convey the strengths AND the weaknesses of the  organization and the overall ‘fit’ for the relationship that I am representing. The culture and core values of the company must fit those of the prospective employee. If the leadership tends to micromanage, I let the candidate know. On the flip side, if upon hire they are shown to an office and told “have at it” with no guidance, I make sure they understand the situation they are walking into. There is no right or wrong in either of these examples, but the potential hire needs to know.

Candidates deserve feedback.  Getting feedback from my client’s is vital. Potential hires want to know if they are a contender, sooner than later. If based upon my initial meetings with my client, I don’t feel like the prospective candidate will fit – I let the candidate know immediately, providing them with the reasons why.   Candidates, like companies, want and deserve responsive communication. You never know if another position will come along for which they might be a great fit – providing honest and timely feedback can keep your company on a candidate’s radar down the road.

 As a Recruiter, I don’t send them in cold. Just like I set expectations with my clients, I let the potential hire know what to expect during the interview process – from who they are meeting with, to logistics, to company culture. It’s important for them to understand the company’s policies, process, and procedures for hiring. Does the client utilize assessments or pre-hire screenings? Are there multiple interviews with multiple teams? When will the client make a hiring decision? You know what they say, knowledge is power. This is no truer than during the interview stage.

 More feedback again – the post interview de-brief.  When our client is in the final decision-making stages naturally the short list of candidates wants to know where they stand. So many in-house recruiters and executive search firms fail to follow up post-interview with feedback. At this point a candidate has proven to be attractive enough that we have presented them to our client. Providing feedback, positive and negative, regarding their interview efforts is only fair and critical to the next step in the process – the hire. I’ve seen candidates walk away from what was perceived as a perfect match when the recruiter or in-house team didn’t check in with them following an interview. It goes back to the courtesy and respect.

My client’s journey – post hire. I like to think that we get it right 100% of the time at KMR, but the only way to know for sure is to keep in touch with both the employer and the candidate post-placement. This is a continuation of the relationship that was established early in the search process.  We want to know how it’s going for both parties.

In the end, it’s all about communication, respect, and transparency.   We partner with an organization to learn about their business, culture, team, and their expectations of the open position so that we can find the best fit possible while keeping the lines of communication open along the way.

About the author:

Ken McGovern is the President of KMR Executive Search. He is based in our firm’s Farmington, CT office. Ken is a seasoned executive and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience creating and managing diverse teams and building dynamic cultures. As important as experience, background, and skill sets are in assessing a prospective new employee, Ken believes that fit and culture are equally critical components to identifying and hiring the next management team member who will positively impact an organization. His experience includes management search assignments within the market sectors of Healthcare, Financial Services, Information Technology, and Non-Profit, among others. For more information on Ken and KMR Executive Search, please visit