The Recruitment Process

Everybody has a process, but all methods are not equally effective

For example

When it was an employer-driven market, the commonly used techniques did not emphasize the candidates’ experience and were expected to conform to the hiring company’s process.

Today it’s a candidate’s market; top talent is interviewing at a handful of companies at once, and recruiting teams—no matter the company size— are struggling to compete against simultaneous offers. “We can’t compete on compensation” and “we can’t compete on benefits like fully-remote work” are common responses. Companies struggling to compete on comp and benefits can be successful by offering excellent candidate experiences.

Work/Life Recruiting’s process is both client and candidate-centric.

Clients want:

  1. The best available talent,
  2. That fits within their parameters,
  3. That has the highest probability,
  4. Of performing at an exceeds expectations level.
  5. And the least amount of risk associated with any hire.
Hiring processes typically stretch over weeks; a challenge is keeping the evaluation of candidates analytical and consistent while keeping candidates engaged and interested in the client’s opportunity.

Candidates want:

  1. Work that has meaning,
  2. Intellectually stimulating work in collaborative cultures that recognize work/life balance
  3. Recognition for their accomplishments and contributions
  4. Competitive compensation
  5. A good hiring experience.
Successful hires are at the intersection of the clients’ and candidates’ wants. Identifying and getting to this intersection successfully makes the Work/Life Recruiting process.

Pre-Recruitment Process

Work/Life Recruiting's process begins with the client.

  1. What is your vision for the position to be hired? Accountabilities & responsibilities.
  2. What do you consider relevant experience? Qualifications.
  3. What are your parameters for the position? Location, compensation, onsite/hybrid/remote, etc.
  4. What does the individual need to accomplish in the position to be hired to earn “exceeds expectations” at their first performance appraisal?

Your job description

Your job description is the candidate’s first interaction with your organization. It’s when candidates begin to form the first impression of your company. For this reason, Work/Life Recruiting creates a unique candidate-centric job description.

A screening questionnaire

While creating the job description, a questionnaire is designed. The questionnaire reinforces the qualifications and expectations communicated by the hiring team. The questionnaire is submitted to the hiring team for review and input.

The questionnaire focuses on experience and technical competence and is intended to be answered by the candidates in under 10 minutes. The questionnaire makes it easier to evaluate candidates in critical areas consistently and over time.

Once you have approved the job description and questionnaire, our attention turns to engaging candidates with the requisite skills and experience.

The challenge of reaching potential candidates

Before anyone can be recruited, they must be engaged and willing to participate.
  1. Cold email to potential candidates has 15-22% open rates
  2. Cold LinkedIn InMail responses are typically below 30%
  3. The average response rate for prospecting voicemail is between 4-6%
  4. Most Americans (67%) say their general practice is not to answer the phone when an incoming call is from an unknown number but to check a voicemail if one is left
  5. 87% mostly ignore calls. The Zipwhip survey (n=520 U.S. adults) found that 87% of respondents said they ignore phone calls from unknown numbers “often” or “very often.”

The Candidate Pool

The candidate pool for any position may look big, but it isn’t deep. This means every outreach must be careful and thoughtful. It is uncommon for potential candidates to engage after rejecting the first outreach attempt. This reality stresses a situation; nobody wants to lose a qualified candidate to a sloppy outreach effort.

Work/Life Recruiting uses a direct marketing copywriter approach to outreach. Personalization helps, but the 1st two sentences must compel the reader to act. You benefit from years of testing messages when you engage Work/Life Recruiting.

People are applying to jobs – here’s what we do to get them for you!

The Title

Save the fun titles for business cards and email signatures. Candidates search for new jobs based on job titles. A 2020 Indeed survey found that 36% of job seekers that use job sites search for a job using the title of the job they’re looking for.


Compelling job descriptions cover why candidates would want to work for your company. Answering what’s in it for them (WIIFM) will increase the response rate and provide a larger pool of qualified workers. According to an Indeed survey, 52% of job seekers say the quality of a job description is very or extremely influential on their decision to apply for a job.

Most job descriptions on job boards are neither engaging nor unique.


We recently worked with a San Francisco based biotechnology company on Bioinformatist II position. The person placed was familiar with the client when we revealed the client. The person said that they had seen the Company’s job description before being contacted by us. The person said they hadn’t applied on the Company website because the job description made the job sound boring.

Is your job description click bait?

The job description must be engaging and unique. It should be click bait.

Many contingency recruiters use the clients’ job description without modification. Of the contingent recruiters that do modify a clients’ job description, it is typically a one and done effort. Not for Work/Life Recruiting.

While we don’t expect to find “the one” from advertising. Posting a job description does 2 important things for you, our client.

The 1st benefit to posting our version of the job description is feedback how candidates interpret the job description. Sometimes the job description creates expectations or implies things we did not anticipate


In 2020 we worked a search for a “Director of Sales” to be based in Europe. The people that applied to the Director of Sales position had X salary expectation, which was outside of the pay range for this client. We changed the job title from Director of Sales to Senior Sales Manager and did not change the accountabilities, required experience, or compensation. The people that responded had compensation expectations within the range of our client’s budget with the requisite skills and experience.

We review applications within 24-48 hours of receiving them. This real time feedback enables us to correlate the responses to the job description.

The 2nd benefit of posting our version of the job description, is we see candidates with backgrounds and/or experiences that were not anticipated, but relevant to our client. Leave no stone unturned.

You, our client, benefit from the testing and retesting of the job description. This is one way Work/Life Recruiting improves the quality of our engagement with candidates of interest to you.

First Contact – The Approach

Whether prospecting for new business or engaging potential employees, securing first meetings are becoming more challenging by the day.

An effective outreach message should be short and simple. It shouldn’t sell to the candidate right away, but instead engage them in conversation. The goal is to create familiarity and start building a relationship. Do not send paragraphs of text explaining products and services. This will bore your prospect and push them away.

Effective first contact messages address What’s In It For Me/the candidate (WIIFM) early in the messaging. The first 2-4 sentences are critical!

The 1st conversation – and all subsequent conversations

The first conversation with potential candidates is a sales call! What level of preparation do you expect of your sales staff when making 1st sales call on a $150K to $300K sale? You expect a high level of preparation! You should demand the same from all recruiters, they represent your company.

At a minimum:

  • The conversation style must be genuine, not a sales pitch. Practice active listening skills.
  • Be careful about the expectations created during all conversations. It is disappointing how many people share that their reason for making a job change is that the position is not what was discussed during the interview process.
  • Information about the job and the company must be accurate. Do not assume or make any inferences – candidates accept “I don’t know” better than the discovery that the recruiter made something up.
  • Inaccurate information is an unforced error. When the candidate discovers the inaccuracy, they will have to adjust to the new information. Adjustments are a source of disappointment for candidates and can be the reason for withdrawing from consideration.

The goals of all conversations between your candidate and the recruiter are:

  • Determine if the candidate meets or exceeds the hiring teams expectations, if so
  • Advance the candidate to the next step of the interview process
  • Remind the candidate how your opportunity meets or exceeds their expectations
  • Leave the candidate more excited about your opportunity than at the start of the conversation

This approach to the 1st conversation with prospective candidates, has been tested and refined through 1000s of interviews. It is respectful of both the client and the candidates and works on all level of positions.

The Handoff – moving the candidate from the recruiter to you

Ask your salespeople. Given a choice they prefer to control all aspects of the sale. They are apprehensive when handing off a precious prospect to someone else, a non-salesperson, in the sales process.
In recruiting a successful handoff consists of:

  • The qualifications required are accurately and proactively applied
  • The job responsibilities and accountabilities are consistent with your expectations.
  • The expectations are realistic and obtainable by the candidate

When you receive a candidate from Work/Life Recruiting the question isn’t are they qualified, the question is who is the best fit with your organization.

Recruiters as a buffer

You have found “the one” candidate that meets your expectations. You are ready to make anoffer.
We encourage all clients to have us present their job offers. The reason is simple:

  • Compensation is an emotional topic for candidates, after all compensation is one-way that many candidates quantify their self-worth.
  • Compensation of staff comes up in budgets and can be an emotional topic for hiring managers.
  • Candidates and hiring managers that negotiate directly have the potential to damage the long-term relationship of the candidate and hiring manager. Something to be avoided.


Working for a drug discovery client that required a Scientist with experience with a specific type of instrument. After contacting 4,000 people globally, we found the scientist that was interested in the job, location, and client. The hiring manager insisted on negotiating directly with the candidate.

When the candidate asked for more compensation the hiring manager was offended and rejected the candidate. The hiring manager was upset by the candidate’s request and decided not to hire anyone. This experience could have been avoided if the hiring manager had the recruiter to present the offer and handle the negotiations.

Having the recruiter present the offer, makes the recruiter a buffer between the hiring manager and candidate. Both the hiring manager and candidate can respond honestly when speaking with the recruiter in contrast to negotiating directly.

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