Why Only Talking with the Candidate Can be Really Bad Idea

by Stacy Pursell, The VET Recruiter®

I’ve written before about the dangers of a candidate attempting to circumvent the recruiter and speak with the hiring manager directly after the recruiter has made the candidate aware of the employment opportunity.

Unfortunately, “the door swings both ways” in this kind of situation. In other words, there is plenty of danger for a hiring manager if they choose to speak directly to the candidate without involving the recruiter. Before we get too far into this blog post, I want to set a few things straight. I’m NOT saying these things because:

  • Recruiters are afraid of being “left out of the loop” during the hiring process.
  • Recruiters feel like they are not in control of the situation.
  • Recruiters think they will look clueless unless they are aware of every communication and correspondence.

No, the reason I’m saying these things is for a much different reason. In fact, it’s for the same reason that I say the things I say in all of my newsletter articles and blog posts.

It’s because I want to help my clients successfully hire the candidates they want to hire and because I want the candidates I represent to make good decisions regarding their career so they can enjoy those careers to the fullest.

The “I’m too busy” syndrome

If you have engaged an Animal Health or Veterinary Executive Recruiter to help you fill an important position within your organization, then you must make sure that this search consultant remains part of the process. Yes, I know that everybody’s busy. “No,”you might be thinking to yourself. “I’m not just busy. I’m insanely busy.”

This is the “I’m too busy” syndrome. People use it when they want to justify what they’re doing. (Or what they’re not doing, depending upon the situation.) There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and usually the right way is the right way because it yields the best results. If you’re an employer and you engage a search consultant, it means that you want the executive recruiter to help you achieve the best results.

Once you get into the nitty-gritty of the search, then yes, you may find that you have less time than you thought you were going to have. Then you’re sifting through candidates, including the ones that were submitted by your executive recruiter. In the interest of saving time (at least that what it seems), you begin to communicate with candidates directly, without including the executive recruiter. It seems harmless enough. The recruiter brought the candidate to the doorstep. Now you can deal with them, right?

Wrong. Or perhaps more precisely: right . . . if you want to risk losing the candidate.

Time, energy, and expertise

Remember, I’m saying all of this because I want to help my clients successfully hire the candidates they want to hire. The fact of the matter is the more that a hiring manger communicates directly with one of the candidates that I’ve presented to them, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to successfully hire the candidate.

Once again, let’s run down the reasons why I’m NOT saying this. I’m not saying this because:

  • I think I’m “God’s gift to recruiting.”
  • I’m a control freak of some kind.
  • I believe my clients couldn’t possibly live without me.

This is not about me. This is about me helping my clients, and the best way I can help my clients is to do the job that they’ve hired me to do. And this is where the “I’m too busy syndrome” loses its merit. That’s because if a hiring manager truly is too busy, it would behoove them to lean more heavily upon the executive search consultant. It would actually make less sense not to include them regarding correspondence with the candidates that they presented and that they represent.

Search consultants are a resource. They have time, energy, and expertise—all things that hiring managers can leverage to their advantage. And when you hire a search consultant, that search consultant wants to give you those things. They want to give you those things because they believe it will help you accomplish what you’ve set out to accomplish: hiring the best person in the marketplace for their position and not just the best person looking for a new job.  If you think about it, not communicating with the search consultant is a bit like hiring a real estate agent to sell your house but not communicating with that realtor and having the discussions directly with the buyer. That doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?

The point of view of the candidate

Then, of course, there is the point of view of the candidate, which can not be overlooked. In fact, it’s very integral to this discussion. That’s because a candidate who is represented by a recruiter expects certain things during the hiring process.

Not only that, but the more that a candidate is represented by a recruiter, the more that they expect these things. Somebody who has been placed by a recruiter four or five times or more is expecting the process to unfold in a certain manner. And when it does not unfold in that manner, it signals a “red flag” in their mind. How do I know this, you might ask? As if often the case, the answer is personal experience.

With more than 20 years of experience as an Animal Health Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter, I’ve worked with thousands of candidates. In those instances in which I’ve had a close working relationship with a candidate and the hiring manager has deviated from the standard operating procedure by attempting to communicate with the candidate without including me, the candidate has expressed concern.

What usually happens is that I must do “damage control.” I have to insert myself into a situation of which I should already be a part, alleviating the concerns of the candidate while reminding the hiring manager of the proper channels of communication. This slows the whole process down and jeopardizes the search.

In this candidates’ market, you can NOT give top candidates any reason to be leery of you as the employer. They view their recruiter as somebody with whom they’re partnering to help them take the next step in their career. They view their recruiter as a “career coach” of sorts, and they want their coach to be included in all discussions regarding their job search and the hiring process. I’ve seen employers lose top candidates due to this oversight.

And that is why only talking with the candidate and not working through the search consultant can be a really bad idea.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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