Recruiting Tips

6 Tips to Successfully Booking First Interviews with Dream Candidates

As a recruitment firm, you know that simply sending candidates to your clients isn’t the most important thing. You have to make sure you’re sending them the right candidates.

Ideally, you’re sending them perfect candidates — dream candidates, even.

That’s going to take some work on your part. But it’s work that will prove worth it in the end.

Once you solidify your status as the go-to agency for quality candidates, you’ll have your pick of the litter when it comes to clients.

But, as the old saying goes, the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, and your journey toward getting your dream candidates hired at client companies begins with successfully booking the first interview.

A lot goes into sending that ideal person to the all-important first interview.

You have to ensure that you’re attracting excellent candidates and that they’re qualified for the position you’re looking to fill. You’ll also have to convince the candidate that this is the right company for them.

Read more: 10 candidate sourcing strategies recruiters can use this season.

Remember, quality candidates usually have options, and they don’t stay on the job market for long.

In this article, we’re going to share 6 helpful tips that will ensure you book dream candidates for their first interviews.

1. Promote Benefits

employee benefits

As we mentioned above, dream candidates are going to have options.

Because of this, you’re going to want to prove that the interview you’re inviting them to is worth their time.

There are only so many hours in the week, and if candidates have multiple interviews, they might bail on any that don’t seem overly appealing.

That’s why you have to bait the hook by promoting the benefits offered by your client.

Benefits and perks are huge with job seekers, and most of them are chomping at the bit to work for a company that will give them what they want.

For example, these benefits could look like:

  • Generous paid time off
  • Remote working policy
  • Coworking allowance
  • Laptop and other device allowances
  • Monthly personal or professional development stipends

You also want to be upfront about benefits so that you’re not wasting anyone’s time should they prove less than what a candidate is willing to accept.

Sending a candidate that your client gets excited about only to have them balk at the benefits won’t do anyone any good.

35% of employees in 2021 cited paid leave as a huge perk that they want in the company they work with.

The secret is out about the amount of paid time off workers in European countries get. American workers have looked at this and realized the raw deal they’ve been fed.

Make sure you’re pointing out the amount of PTO your clients are offering. It could be a make-or-break issue for your candidates.

Remote work and flexible working hours are two of the most sought-after benefits for modern workers.

An impressive 27% of U.S. employees stated that this was the single most important benefit for them.

Since the Covid pandemic, most businesses have put remote or hybrid working environments in place.

If your client is planning on creating a flexible work-from-home system or adopting a hybrid model, that’s definitely something that you’re going to want to tell your candidates.

This is both to appeal to those who want that flexibility and to dissuade those who don’t.

However, that’s not to say that salary is no longer of importance.

No matter where you stand about publishing the salary along with a job posting, it helps to have resources such as an industry salary report on your website, so candidates aren’t left in the dark.

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2. Work with Client HR

If you want to send the right candidates to your clients, it’s always good to work alongside their human resources department.

By communicating with your clients, you’ll learn certain things about them that will help you match the right candidates with the right opportunities.

For instance, does your client have an internal HR department, or are they using PEO companies for these duties?

If they have an internal department, your job is a lot easier. You can easily develop a working relationship with representatives from that department, communicating with them regarding the positions you’re filling, the benefits offered by the company, the company culture, and more.

Failure to gather this vital information could lead to you improperly explaining the company’s position to a candidate.

If that happens, they’ll arrive at the interview and quickly realize that things are not as they believed them to be.

The end result is either the company passing on the candidate or the candidate passing on the opportunity.

Either way, it’s wasted time for everyone.

3. Create a Screening Process

candidate screening process

Your clients rely on you to find the right candidates for their open positions.

Let’s say a client business offers same-day delivery courier services.

Its entire business model rises and sets on its ability to provide this vital service to people who want it.

That’s why you need to find candidates who can meet these needs and weed out those who can’t, have no experience, or are otherwise unwilling to perform these duties.

Maybe your client is a tech company that requires knowledge of specific software. You send them someone who claims to have experience in these systems, but when they take a test in their second or third interview, it turns out they have no idea what they’re doing.

That’s why it’s important to create a screening process that all candidates must pass through before moving on to an interview. This will ensure that the candidates you’re sending have the best possible chance at landing the gig.

For starters, consider a questionnaire that you give to all candidates. This is an excellent opportunity for you to gauge both what the candidate is looking for in an employer and determine whether or not they meet your client’s minimum requirements.

Read more: Attention recruiters: Do you do background checks for your clients?

Bring each candidate in for a special interview, armed with the knowledge you’ve gained from your client’s human resources department. Question them on what they’re looking for and explain the position in great detail.

Ensure that they are interested and enthusiastic about the potential opportunity before passing them along.

After that, you might want to implement a second screening process before moving them to your client for a first interview. If the client is highly technical or requires specific knowledge, have your candidate complete a skills assessment.

Read more: How can recruiters assess candidates accurately?

Unfortunately, sometimes people lie on their resumes. Anyone can say that they’re intimately familiar with specific software, but only by testing them in its use can you be sure that they can do what you need.

Your screening process will undoubtedly weed out many candidates, but that’s the point. By having your candidates go through this screening process, you ensure that everyone you send to your client is a dream candidate.

4. Seek Candidates That Appeal to Your Client’s Vision

A true dream candidate appeals to the vision of your client. Every company you work with will have a unique vision and mission statement.

These are the values that your company rests its entire business on. They’re always looking for candidates who embody those values.

Let’s look at an example from Stack. This is a company that has a story based on persistence. It makes sure to tell that story in great detail on its website.

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Make sure that you do your research on each client that you send candidates to. It’s your job to understand their stories and mission statements forward and back.

That’s the only way you’re going to be able to match them with candidates who uphold the same values that make your client organization unique.

You might have four candidates who match your client listing from a skill level and experience perspective. But only one out of the four has a personality that speaks to the unique vision of the client’s business.

You now know that while you may have four quality candidates, there’s only one dream candidate.  

One of the first things you should do is ensure that your candidate connects with the client’s vision before suggesting them for an interview.

You can do this by telling your candidates the heartfelt tale of the company’s founding and seeing how it resonates with them and how they respond.

5. Get Creative with Outreach Emails

Sometimes you can’t wait for the dream candidate to walk in the door. You have to find them yourself through recruiting outreach.

A solid part of any outreach strategy is outreach emails. Through these messages, you can catch the eye of ideal candidates and convince them that you have a dream opportunity that they couldn’t possibly pass up.

You can improve your chances of appealing to these candidates by getting creative with your outreach. Doing so can get the candidate excited about the potential opportunity and make the client business seem like a more exciting place to work.

Anyone can send a boring old email with plain black and white text. But you’re trying to garner an emotional reaction and generate a positive response. That means you need bold colors and exciting imagery.

Try using vector graphics to create fun, colorful messaging that will help you stand out among all the messages in a crowded email inbox.

As you can see here, a little creativity and boldness can go a long way. When recruiting for a specific position, doll up your emails with imagery and consider using the client’s brand colors for added effect (if they’re okay with it).

Read more: 7 best email templates for agency recruiters.

6. Promote Company Culture

how to book interviews with candidates

The company culture of a business can do a lot to attract dream candidates. Young professionals today aren’t willing to slave away at a job they hate.

They want to know that the company they’re going to has a culture and environment they can fit into. Because of this, you should talk up the company culture when interviewing a promising candidate.

If the entire team goes out for drinks on Thursday nights, that’s something to bring up to prospective candidates.

If that candidate seems excited by what you’re telling them, that’s a good sign. It means they’ll likely fit in fine with the company culture.

However, if they seem overly stiff and make a face when you mention team-building activities, they might not be an ideal candidate for this job.

This is another area where your client organization can greatly help your recruitment efforts.

Ask them to provide you with employee testimonial videos. You can show these off to your candidates in your initial interview, or provide these testimonials in an email.

This allows the candidate to get a good look at some of the people they’ll be working with. Much like consumers are more likely to believe customer reviews, positive information about a company means more when it’s coming from a peer.

To that end, it’s also a great idea to have your clients encourage employees to leave positive reviews about the workplace environment on employer review websites like Glassdoor.

If many positive reviews speak to the company culture and their wonderful work-life balance, you should share these with your candidate.

Doing so could be the final push they need to be sold on a dream career with your client company.

In Final Words

Your reputation as a top recruitment agency rests on your ability to deliver dream candidates. In the recruitment game, it’s definitely more about quality than quantity.

By following these 6 tips, you’ll be able to successfully identify dream candidates for your clients and get them through the door for that all-important first interview.

Once that’s done, you can sit back and watch as your amazing candidates delight and amaze your clients, earning you more revenue and improving your reputation.

Written by–

Ezra Sandzer-Bell works at Appointlet as a product marketing manager and customer advocate. He has helped thousands of customers improve their online scheduling workflow. Outside of work, he is a music theory instructor and founder of a music software company.

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