How to Make More Placements With Less Candidates

Are you sick of doing searches over and over again? It’s one of the most time-consuming, frustrating, and ultimately expensive experiences a recruiter can have. If it’s an experience you know well, it’s time to look at your interview to hire ratio (or, if you’re not tracking it yet, now’s the time to begin!).

If your ratio is more than 4:1, stop. Something has gone wrong. Until you address it you’re going to be caught in an endless search for more candidates, only to have them rejected. Before you present any more candidates, get to the bottom of the issue.

Here are four common areas that could be affecting your interview to hire ratio:

You’ve got the wrong impression of what the hiring manager wants – or worse, the hiring manager isn’t clear on what he wants

We’ve all worked with someone who “will know it when she sees it” or who says he wants one thing, but is really looking for another. Equally, in niche or technical sectors, it can be tough for recruiters to assess skills they may not have themselves. Whether the confusion is on the agency's end or the hiring manager's, the worst thing you can do is continue to present candidate after candidate when they're being systematically rejected. There comes a time to return to consultation and adapt your approach to avoid wasting any more time.


The way your candidates are being interviewed isn’t bringing out the best in them

If candidates are making it past your screening then failing at interview, it’s possible that the way they’re being interviewed is not giving them the right opportunity to shine. Is personal bias or emotional decision-making a problem? Are the right questions being asked? If you think this might be at the heart of the issue, probe tactfully to find out how the interviews have gone then give a little coaching. Remember your client isn’t just paying to have CVs thrown at them; they’re paying for your expertise.


Your client has unrealistic expectations

At a time when the media leads employers to believe that the market is flooded with candidates, it can be tough to explain that the skills your client is looking for are actually in short supply. Sometimes the complete package they want simply doesn’t exist.

Compromises are going to have to be made - it’s your job to find out where your client is most comfortable with making them. Maybe they’ve got a little extra to spend on salary, or maybe they’re willing to relent that a first class degree isn’t essential for a candidate with more than five years experience. Whatever concessions have to be made, you can’t keep on looking for unicorns!

Candidates are dropping out at offer

Okay, so your candidates are getting to offer – but then they’re dropping out. Counter-offers, more enticing offers from other potential employers, or sudden changes of heart can all contribute to this kind of candidate fallout. It can feel like fallout is outwith our control as recruiters but there’s a lot we can do to minimise the chances of candidates dropping out at offer. Check out this previous post for some tips on how avoid an offer rejection.

As you work on these five areas under control, track your interview to hire ratio weekly. When you start to see an improvement, you know you've struck gold - more placements with fewer candidates. No more repeated searches! You’ll be losing less hair and making more money in no time.

Have you managed to improve your interview to hire ratio? How did you do it? Spill the beans in the comments...

Recruitment KPIs

Ailsa Partridge

Ailsa is a technical writer and solutions engineer working at Instructure in London.

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