How to Cultivate Strong Bonds with Executive Search Candidates

cultivate strong bonds with executive search candidates

Though all of staffing and recruiting runs on relationships, executive search candidates require particular finesse from your recruiting team. These high-level candidates know their worth. They often have a level of business savvy that requires recruiters to go the extra mile to show them the utmost respect and transparency. 

No candidate wants to be treated like a number or a resume. But executive search candidates are even more likely to run in the other direction if they detect that a recruiter sees them as a transaction to be handled rather than a person to forge a strong relationship with.  

Here’s how to build stronger relationships with executive candidates and ensure they don’t feel like just another number. 

How to build stronger relationships with executive candidates

Understand candidate motivations with CLAMPS

To build relationships with anyone, you need a firm understanding of what drives people. For example, to build an understanding with a romantic partner, you need to know what they value, what excites them, what their goals are, and what they see as a red flag. 

The same is true when building relationships with candidates. Your team needs to woo prospects and be skilled in uncovering, understanding, and articulating candidate motivations. That’s where CLAMPS come in.

CLAMPS is a useful acronym that encapsulates candidates’ primary drives. CLAMPS stands for Challenge, Location, Advancement, Money, People, and Security.

  • Challenge: Executive search candidates won’t be satisfied taking roles as mere figureheads. They want to enter into an organization that needs their expertise so they can make their mark. They want to immediately feel like they can make a difference that the rest of their organization will notice and appreciate.
  • Location: “Location, location, location,” they say in real estate – and the same can be said for executive recruiting.These days, location may be less tied to a physical place and can be expressed in an organization’s philosophy on remote work. In fact, 87% of employees want to work remotely at least some of the time.
  • Advancement: Candidates want to see a bright future for themselves and for any organization they join. Spotlighting how your positions are integral to candidates’ career paths helps attract candidates who are serious about their careers – and want to stay at an organization for the long-term.
  • Money: While you want candidates who are driven by purpose as they are by a big salary, compensation is still a big motivator for candidates. 64% of employees name salary and benefits as a critical factor in taking a new job.
  • People: No employee is an island – and this is all the more true of executives who enter into organizations intent on taking on a leadership role. As a result, candidates want to know that they are making a good cultural fit – that they will get along with the people they will spend ⅓ of their time with.
  • Security: Like the desire for advancement, the desire for stability is paramount. Executive candidates are looking for a job that won’t be pulled out from underneath them in a few months. More than half of candidates indicate that job security is one of the most critical factors in taking a new job.

By drilling into these motivations and talking to candidates about what they want in each of these areas of their career, your team will better understand the person behind the resume.

Hear more about how to speak to candidate motivations with the CLAMPS model here.

Communicate consistently and empathetically

All the understanding in the world won’t get your team very far if candidate relationships suffer from communication breakdowns. 

Once you’ve identified and understood a candidate’s motivations, it’s crucial to communicate with them thoughtfully and consistently throughout every phase of their candidate journey. Let them know that your team truly has their backs. Here’s how:

Pen a strong job description

Let prospects know you understand their needs, right from the start. Focus on spotlighting CLAMPS in your job description by highlighting the challenges the candidate may tackle, areas for advancement, job stability, and salary. 

See the job description as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. For example, over 60% of candidates want to see the salary in their job descriptions, but only 27% of job descriptions include them, so this is an opportunity for you to set your client apart.

Use a multichannel communication strategy 

Top candidates aren’t likely to be hanging out in their inboxes, waiting for job opportunities. They are going to be busy – which makes getting their attention that much trickier. 

To reach out to executive search candidates – and to build your relationship with them once you’ve connected – you want to use a multichannel communication approach. 

This involves thoughtfully reaching out to candidates over social media, opening the door to communication via your website, sending thoughtful texts and emails, placing well-timed phone calls, and even reaching out over the underused channel of snail mail (gasp!). For more information about the multi-channel communication strategy, click here.

Practice active listening with candidates 

With candidates, active listening means listening behind their words – and behind their resume – to drill into what each candidate really wants and what they have to offer. 

This means giving candidates your undivided attention. You want your team to make them feel as if they are the only candidate you’re thinking about. Though your recruiters will be talking to dozens if not hundreds of candidates, they shouldn’t assume they know the answers to any questions. 

Recruiters should also remain curious, ask strategic follow-up questions, and reflect candidate answers back to them to make sure they grasp what’s most important for every potential executive.

Keep candidates informed of their status throughout the process.

Executive candidates want to feel like your team values their time. Nothing says “transactional relationship” quite like ghosting a candidate after they’ve served their purpose: 80% of job seekers say they would not reapply to a company that didn’t notify them of their application status

Even if a client decides to go in a different direction, your team should keep candidates in the loop. This is not only a way to build the best long-term relationships, it also makes good business sense. 

By remaining in touch with candidates, you increase the likelihood that a candidate will maintain a relationship with your company, will give you positive feedback and reviews, and will refer their friends to your agency in the future.

How executive search software helps your team create better relationships

You might be thinking, ok, so our team works hard to understand candidates, connect with candidates, and remain in constant communication so they always know their status. How can my team accomplish all of this, while maintaining their sales pipeline, constantly connecting with new leads, and tending to clients? 

The short answer is: they can’t. None of that is possible without the help of automation and business analytics. The right executive search software can help your team maintain the impeccable level of service that executive candidates expect. Here’s how.

Engagement tools for passive and active candidates

Maintaining all the communication necessary to build these relationships can be daunting for recruiters – and downright impossible to do manually. Recruiters need to automate outreach while making executive candidates feel as though they are receiving one-to-one conversations. This is where the right engagement tools can make the difference between a well-nurtured candidate and one that switches to another recruiting firm.

What’s more, since over 70% of potential candidates are passive job seekers, your engagement tools need to serve both active and passive candidates. 

Look for executive search software with the following capabilities to drive relationship building with both passive and active candidates:

  • Create customized workflows targeted at active or passive candidates.
  • Ensure timely follow-up with real-time notifications so recruiters never miss a candidate message.
  • Email and text from within your platform to ensure consistent, timely, and personalized communication.
  • Templated outreach helps your recruiters craft the best messages to keep executive candidates engaged at every step of their journey with you.

Call and email tracking

If your team is doing their best outreach day in and day out but isn’t tracking their results, they are going to be in the dark about what “best” truly means. Executive search software with call and email journaling will allow you and your recruiters to hone in on the outreach tactics that work best for your executive candidates. 

You can delve deep into outreach metrics to understand granular variables that make all the difference in relationship building, such as the most effective time of day to send a message; whether certain candidates respond better to call, email, or text; and what messaging helps build trust and openness in candidates.

Data-driven reports

There are many other ways, outside of communication insights, that data helps your team be as effective as possible. 

Many solutions offer bolted-on software that doesn’t actually integrate with your ATS. This results in siloed tech and shadow processes that can impact the veracity of your data. 

But, with the right recruiting analytics built into your executive search software, you can easily gain insight into the overall health of your recruiting machine. Customizable, data-driven reports can help you monitor every aspect of candidate relationships.

  • Evaluate your entire talent pipeline and get a quick insight into what sources are yielding the best candidates. 
  • Analyze engagement and relationship-building metrics by any segment of your business – from specific recruiters, teams, clients, or positions.
  • Understand how many touchpoints candidates need on average before committing to a placement.
  • Analyze time-to-hire to give both candidates and clients an accurate sense of how long a search process may take.
  • Identify any recruiting bottlenecks that may drive away top candidates so you can troubleshoot to provide the best service.

Creating strong relationships with executive search candidates is about more than just a matching game, pairing the right resume with the right opening. It’s more akin to an art, in which your recruiting team engages in deep listening, empathetic understanding, and agile industry knowledge to find candidates and clients with synchronous needs. To learn more about the keys to executive search success, click here

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