DENVER – When searching for a more rewarding job, candidates for senior leadership positions often must jump through hoops, so to speak, and the odds can be against them.
Typically, for each executive healthcare position offered, dozens of candidates apply. From those, only 10 or 15 are given serious thought and, usually, only five are presented to the client for final consideration. The candidates spend a lot of time, effort and emotion, but with a good chance that there will be nothing to show for it except maybe the experience of the chase and, unfortunately, the inevitable feeling of disappointment and/or rejection.
I think candidates deserve a better deal, or at least more value for their effort. There will only be one “winner” but why dismiss the others who invested hard work and passion and send them away empty handed?
What candidates can expect from our firm:
If you clearly are not qualified or if your experience, accomplishments and/or compensation do not line up with the selection criteria, you will be told sooner than later.
So many candidates send the same resume for every position they pursue. These resumes are typically written by professional resume writers who rarely take the time to understand a candidate’s real value.
Most resumes we see emphasize the chronology and experience but do not specifically highlight experience and accomplishments that are relevant to the client. We examine your value proposition – the description of why you are qualified and the quantifiable accomplishments that corroborate those claims – and coach you on to how improve your resume to accurately reflect the needs of a client. With our Position Prospectus as a basis, candidates are supported through a process that they can then replicate again and again in future searches.
Some recruiters might argue that “coaching” a candidate is not their job. They say their job is simply to find and vet top candidates for their clients. After all they are very busy, busy, busy people. We disagree. When otherwise good candidates are left on the “cutting room floor” because their true value and relevant accomplishments were not accurately reflected in the resume, the client ultimately loses. We simply have added that candidate support component into our search process.
“I sent in my resume and I never heard anything…” “We were not told the schedule for making a decision, we did not know if we had been eliminated…” “For many search firms, communication is poor and candidates find themselves in a dark hole…” Sound familiar? There are some great recruiters who do regularly communicate with their candidates, but they are in the decided minority if you listen to candidates who have gone through more than one executive search process. That was certainly my experience, both as a candidate and as a client.
The standard in our firm is timely notification when a candidate has been eliminated as well as weekly updates on the progress of the engagement to those still in consideration. Travel schedules and client delays in making decisions can and do make this a difficult balancing act. In the interest of fairness, we all have struggled with this issue, but every firm should have a gold standard when it comes to communication with the candidates. They deserve that level of respect.
When candidates are not selected, their names are typically sent back to the files/database for a future engagement. They are all but forgotten. Sometimes they receive a letter. Occasionally they are called.
We include candidates in our career networking list, providing them with useful information on new career management concepts in addition to showing them how to build a resume around their value proposition. We often speak with former candidates if they have questions or need advice. We are all busy these days, but search consultants need to find time for those people who make our success possible by participating in our searches.
Some recruiters refer to candidates as “inventory” or “product.” That is the height of disrespect. Candidates who were not selected in a search are people who have their own busy schedules, and if they are in transition, fears about finding a job so they can provide for their families.
Taking a few minutes with your former candidates will pay incredible dividends I can assure you.
Besides, it is the right thing to do.
© 2021 John Gregory Self