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This article originally appeard in Issue 41 of InSight   Published 16 July 2008     It’s the beginning of the new financial year and everyone is looking to get off to a good start with a strong fee result in July.     Some nervous candidates may be reading the press and viewing the TV news and deciding it’s “better the devil you know” and consequently putting their job search on hold until it’s more certain as to what the future holds for the economy.   In this climate, there is even more reason to work hard on placing immediately available candidates.   When I was working a perm desk I always paid special attention to my immediately available candidates. Although they may not have all been A1 candidates, they were often a much better bet than many currently employed candidates as a reliable source of placements.   Here are 10 reasons to prioritise placing immediately available candidates:

  1. They don’t have job income     Immediately available candidates aren’t currently earning a wage and this is unlikely to be a situation they can afford to have continue indefinitely. Lack of income is a highly motivating reason for a candidate to be focused and committed to their job search.    
  2. References are easier to complete    As the candidate isn’t employed, there aren’t any confidentially issues with respect to checking references. I highly recommend taking a couple of references as soon as you have decided to represent an immediately available candidate.     You will find out the candidate is either not worth pursuing further or you will have gained excellent evidence to present to your client(s) as to your candidate’s capabilities appropriately matching those of the job(s). Either way, you can’t lose.    
  3. Setting up interviews with clients is easier     Arranging interviews for employed candidates is always fraught with difficulty as you try to juggle candidate and client around a mutually agreeable time, almost always before work, after work or at lunch time.     Immediately available candidates are available for interviews at any time that’s suitable to the client. In fact, if convenient with the client, you can send them to your client straight after you have interviewed them.    
  4. They have more time to prepare for interviews properly    As the immediately available candidate has no current work to distract them, they can spend more time being briefed and coached by you for the interview, researching the client and preparing their interview questions and responses.    
  5. They are less likely to cancel or re-schedule the interview    After all the hassle of arranging an interview for your superstar-but-currently-employed candidate, you can bet that 50% of the time the interview has to be re-scheduled because they “have been called into a meeting”, are “too busy” or simply change their mind about the job. There is little or no chance of any of this happening with an immediately available candidate.    
  6. They are less fussy     Candidates who are currently employed are naturally looking for a higher paying, more interesting job with a better employer than what they currently have. Otherwise, they won’t leave their current job. Immediately available candidates have already left and are likely to be less fussy and easier to please.    
  7. No counter offer    The bane of every perm recruiter’s life: the candidate’s current employer makes a counter offer that’s “too good to refuse”. With immediately available candidates you don’t have to worry about a counter offer from their lounge couch or PlayStation.    
  8. They are available for both perm and temp jobs    People who bat for both teams, double their chances of picking up on a Saturday night. Similarly, candidates who are immediately available double their chances of securing a job. If there are doubts on either the candidate or the client’s mind about a permanent job it’s a very easy to suggest the temp-to-perm option with no guarantees either way.    
  9. Clients prefer them    Most clients want the successful candidate to start yesterday. Being available to start tomorrow or next week makes your immediately available candidate a more enticing choice to your client, compared to the start-in-four-or-five-weeks currently employed candidate.    
  10. You get your money sooner    If your organisation invoices clients on the candidate’s start date rather than placement date then you get paid for your work sooner.

If you are not working hard on your immediately available candidates today, some other recruiter will be!

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