Are you about to waste another year underutilising your candidates?

As you are getting back into work at the start of the
calendar year, take the time to research and write down the answers to
the following questions:


  • How many candidates did you interview in 2014?
  • How many of these candidates did you refer to a
  • How many of these referred candidates were
    interviewed by a client at least once?
  • How many candidates did you place into a job?
  • Of those candidates that you did not refer to a
    job how many did you regularly stay in contact with?

I suspect that if you accurately compiled the
answers, you might be a little bit surprised at how much dead time you
wasted on interviewing candidates that you never, or rarely, spoke to


Doing this exercise is at the heart of understanding
your candidate utilisation rate, which is the number of candidates you
referred divided by the total candidates you interviewed, expressed as a
percentage eg 237 interviews, 112 different candidates referred equals a
candidate utilisation rate of forty seven per cent.


In other words, in this example, a majority of
candidates you interviewed were never referred to a single client or


Wow, what a waste of time and talent.


One hundred and twenty five candidate interviews
effectively became ‘dead time’, equating to about four working weeks of
your year when you calculate interview preparation, interviewing,
database entry etc.


The worst thing isn’t so much the wasted time, as bad
as that is, it’s the candidate expectations that have not been met.
Certainly some candidates will have secured a new position before you
could make a referral (certainly less than five per cent) and some will
have been deemed to have been unsuitable and some will interview well
but subsequently have unsatisfactory references. However a majority of
candidates will be adequate candidates that you failed to act on because
they were never good enough to make a short list of yours.


This damages your credibility (personal brand, if you


It also damages your company’s brand.


You only have to read Greg Savage’s recent blog

Calling a candidate to tell them there is no news IS news to the
to understand how recruiters, generally, are very poor at
managing candidate expectations and associated communication.


Here’s some suggestions as to what you might do
differently to distinguish yourself in a positive way from the
‘recruiter norm’ and improve your candidate ultilisation rate:

  1. Be more rigourous with your phone screening.
  2. Decline to interview general registrations
    (ie those candidates for which there is no
    suitable current vacancy) unless they are, after a thorough phone
    screen, a candidate you are excited   to meet because they
    appear to be that good.
  3. At the end of each interview, be specific about
    how you can, or cannot, help the candidate with their job search. Be
    direct and honest; candidates respect your honesty even if they may
    not respond that well to the message when you deliver it to them
  4. If you are unsure about a candidate then
    reference check them as soon as possible. For those candidates who
    are immediately available and push back on reference checks, don’t
    refer them to any jobs.
  5. In you intend to reverse market the candidate,
    ask them to provide to you, within 48 hours, the names of six
    companies they would be interested to be represented to and the
    names of any companies they do not wish to be represented to. If
    they fail to do this simple task then they aren’t very serious about
    their job search and you shouldn’t waste your time reverse marketing
  6. Whatever commitments you make to candidates about
    assisting their job search, record them and ensure you fulfill on
    these commitments  and be in regular contact with the candidate
    to update them on your progress.

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