It happens far too often.

Recruiters sift through LinkedIn profiles, trusting that they’ve been updated within the last year or so, and mark a few as “good enough” for the role. They hand the corresponding resumes over to the hiring manager, hoping that one will make the cut, and move on to the next open requisition.

If you’re a recruiter, you might have just shifted uncomfortably in your seat.

Most recruiters will concede that this is an extremely ineffective strategy. In fact, many will admit that they should be contacting these candidates, forming relationships, and asking the right questions. The problem is that many don’t know where to start.

What type of information is a recruiter responsible for? What type of conversations should s/he initiate?

I’m glad you asked.


The Core Four of Every Candidate – Production

Throughout the conversation, your first goal as a recruiter is determining whether the candidate possess the four C’s:

Capacity: Does your candidate have the hard skills needed to do the job? If the candidate is a nurse, has s/he had the proper education and training to be successful in the field? If the candidate is an IT technology representative, is s/he technologically literate? This is the most basic aspect of the Core Four.

Character: This refers to a candidate’s attitude and vision for the job. While this aspect is more difficult to define than the hard skills listed previously, employers now suggest that it might be the number one indicator of success. According to SHRM, one study found that a majority of HR managers surveyed claimed that “they’d hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if his or her technical abilities were lacking…” Otherwise stated, character cannot be overlooked.

Competency: Does your candidate have the drive, or passion, to do the job? Does s/he wake up every morning with a desire to change the industry? Does the candidate encourage others to do the same? Your goal as a recruiter is to produce a candidate that will not burn out two weeks into the job.

Culture Fit: The goal is to discover a candidate that fits the company culture. This requires a bit of extra research on the part of the recruiter: how does the client define its culture? How would the ideal candidate contribute to that culture? For the internal recruiter, this step is even more difficult. Consider stepping back and asking for non-recruiter input before making a judgment about one’s own culture.


Upon completion of the four C’s, recruiters must also consider the four P’s. Take a look at the following:

The Core Four of Every Candidate – Passion

Pain: What does your candidate dislike about his or her current job? Is it poor management, dreadful company culture, a long commute? Every employee has a pain point that can later be used to make a more personalized job offer. A recruiter’s goal is to cure these pain points through the recruitment process.

Pleasure: Of course, the candidate must not dislike everything about his or her current job. After all, s/he continues to work there! Perhaps the candidate receives competitive pay, work-life balance, and fair benefits. If that is the case, a recruiter’s job is to ensure that each of these pleasurable aspects are present within the next job offer.

Pursuit: What does the candidate crave that he or she is not receiving? Perhaps s/he desires an opportunity for advancement or recognition for hard work. Recruiters can use this information to personalize the job offer to an even greater degree. Perhaps the open job requisition presents plenty of career advancement; the recruiter would want to emphasize this to the candidate.

Personal: Are there any accommodations that the candidate MUST have? Perhaps s/he has a special need of some kind. Perhaps the candidate has a child with a special need. Perhaps s/he has children in school and refuses to relocate until they graduate, or perhaps the family has aging parents to consider. Each of these are personal circumstances that must be considered when presenting the job offer.


While this certainly is not a comprehensive framework for the driven recruiter, it is a bold starting point for those wishing to forge connections and begin a positive habit. Relationships are always good for business.

So, step away from the computer, pick up the phone, or go on a coffee date with your most viable candidate. What you learn just might surprise you.


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