How to Find a Genuine Candidate

How to Find a Genuine Candidate

When I say “genuine”, I don’t necessarily mean a kind, charity-giving, family person. Although those qualities are great, what I mean is authentic and honest. Recruiters speak to multiple candidates every day, so finding the ones that truly mean what they say (or what their resumes say) can be a challenge. Often recruiters face the obstacle of working with candidates that are also working with other recruiters, or worse, have fabricated their resume and when invited to an interview can’t back it up.

Here are a few tips that I have learned along the way on how to dig deep into candidates’ motives, without being too intrusive or direct, to determine how genuine they are.

Really read their resume… yes, the entire thing

Too often, it’s easy to see a couple buzzwords and highlights on a resume that stand out at first glance. However, anybody can throw in some key words and mislead recruiters as to what their work history truly looks like. Does it look like it could have been copy and pasted? Take the extra five minutes before a call to thoroughly go through a resume to not only look for misrepresentations, but also to really understand their background.

Ask them to tell you their resume in their own words

Similarly to above, it’s very easy to throw some bullets and portrayals of generic job descriptions on a resume. After the initial introduction, my first question is typically: “So, I have your resume in front of me but if you don’t mind telling me in your own words about your current and past roles.” That way, I can hear their genuineness when it comes to their positions/responsibilities and ensure both what’s written and said align.

Dig into what is making them look for new opportunities

After they go into detail about their current or most recent role, I always ask about what is making them look right now. I pitch it in a friendly way, and leave it open to them if they really want to tell me; “If you don’t mind me asking, what’s making you look right now?” This typically leads to them explaining areas in their role that they are not passionate about, underlying issues with management, salary expectations, or any red flags that might lead me to not want to represent them as a recruiter. Pay attention to negative words, tone of voice, or how they speak about the organization/co-workers.

Inquire about what they’re looking for in the next role

After discussing why they are looking, I always follow up with the questions, “So, what are you looking for in this next opportunity? What’s really important for you to find in this next organization?” Not only does this give me a better idea of companies they would be a good fit for, but also shows me if they are being sincere about why they are looking for. For example, if a candidate says they are looking because they want more opportunity for growth but answers the follow up question with ‘a higher salary’ being what they’re looking for, then they might not be being honest about motives.

Pay attention to timeliness

Lastly, it’s crucial to be aware of how responsive a candidate is. Understandably, some people are procrastinators by nature but when it comes to job searching, if a candidate is serious about needing or looking for a new opportunity they must be timely. Timing is everything in the recruiting/hiring business, and if a candidate takes days to get a resume to you or pushes back interviews consistently, then they are not as invested as you’d hope.  This might lead to problems down the road such as lack of communication, kicked offers, or lack of urgency for next steps.

Do you have any other tips to determine how genuine a candidate is in their job search? Comment below.

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