>>Recruiting Best Practices: Agencies Coaching Candidates

Recruiting Best Practices: Agencies Coaching Candidates

 Who should coach candidates?

Last week, we passed along some recruiting best practices when it comes to coaching candidates. Small advice like how to spiff up the resume or prepare for the interview – can make all the difference.

But we also posed this question:

What about candidates that are submitted through 3rd party recruiting agencies? What are the recruiting best practices when working with headhunters? Both the HH and HR have the candidate’s ear, but who should be the candidates “coach”?

best recruiting  for coachingThe Big Debate: Should HR or HH Coach Candidates?

We got some great responses, and even a bit of a debate after last week’s post. After reading all the back and forth, here’s what we imagine the conversation between HR and a 3rd party recruiter sounds like.

Feel free to grab your coworkers and LARP (Live Action Role Play) it out if you like.

LARP – Worthy Scene from HR and 3rd Party Recruiter

INT. Office Day

HR and 3RD PARTY RECRUITER sit at communal office table discussing who should coach candidates.


This is clear. It’s got to be HR. We know exactly what the hiring manager is looking for. We’ve already had the opportunity to vet the candidate prior to speaking with the HM, and we’re the most motivated to fill the job; it impacts my bonus and my company directly.


Uh, with all due respect, I agree that you’re motivated to get this candidate hired, but I am just as motivated if not more. If my candidate isn’t hired, I just did all this work for free!


So I guess this means you think the agency should coach the candidate?


Absolutely! First of all, this is my job. This is why you pay me a fee. You might have a great relationship with the hiring manager, but I have the best relationship with the candidate. The candidate sees me as their independent advocate who they can ask anything without repercussion.

I can, and usually do, suggest changes to the candidate’s resume before you even see it. I’m learning about the candidates true motivations that they just wouldn’t share with an official interviewer. I’ll say this though, when it comes to nuances about your company and the job, the candidate definitely likes to hear most of that directly from you.


You’ve got some good points, but you are giving yourself too much credit. If there’s too much coaching without me knowing about it, you could be covering up fatal flaws that come back to haunt me later. This not only hurts me and my company, but it could hurt your reputation if too many of your candidates look great on paper but can’t get past the interview.


That makes sense. Wow, you are really smart. I don’t know why I keep trying to get around you to talk directly to hiring managers, we should talk more often!


Recruiting Best Practices Include 3rd Party Recruiters when it comes to Coaching


Seriously, from all that feedback and our experience, we strongly believe that coaching (and selling) the candidate should be a partnership between HR and the referring HH.

The headhunter is best suited for the situations where open discussions with the candidate are needed. The best headhunters help evaluate a candidate’s needs and desires and then introduce the opportunity to fit. In talking with a 3rd party recruiter, candidates can openly explore positives and negatives without judgement from those making hiring decisions.

The best recruiting agencies will also explore potential offer details to increase the likelihood of candidate acceptance. Having open discussions and even preparing for the interview process doesn’t mean the wrong candidate will be hired. It means the aspects of the position were fully evaluated and the relationship between employer and employee are better matched for the long term.

HR represents the actual company which the candidate is considering being a part of. Role details, company culture, and future potential are all things that while a HH should discuss with candidate, they hold more power when coming directly from the source, the hiring company.

If you’re a top level athlete trying to decide between professional teams, your agent may be your trusted consultant, but you make the final decision. The choice to join the team is based off of your experience interacting with the coaches and other athletes and if specifics like salary meet your needs. Think of the hiring process as a little like being traded in the NBA.

Do you agree with our conclusion that recruiting best practices include both HR and headhunters coaching candidates? Ever seen this go completely wrong? Have you own recruiting best practices? Share your opinion or story in the comments, on Twitter, or LinkedIn.


By |2017-07-28T16:38:04+00:00November 19th, 2014|Categories: Talent Acquisition Trends|Comments Off on Recruiting Best Practices: Agencies Coaching Candidates

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