Setting Candidate Expectations

Have you ever been blind-sided by a candidate that takes another offer, or declines the offer due to salary? These are primary examples of expectations that were not set by the recruiter. A good recruiter sets the tone for the relationship in the first call, by setting expectations. A great recruiter sets the tone and expectations on every call until the candidate is hired.


Most of us already know that on the first call we need to establish the expectations regarding the job’s duties, salary, benefits and timeline for the hiring process. However, the goal for the first call is much deeper than this. It is to establish an open and honest line of communication, which is a critical component to the recruiting process. It is also an opportunity for the recruiter to shine as an expert in the industry and a valued partner in the process. Candidates are not the experts in the recruiting process, and therefore the recruiter needs to drive the process.


On every call, it is not only important to explain if anything has changed in regards to open position, but to also ascertain if anything has changed for the candidate. Candidates need to see that you are not just interested in your goal of filling a position, but also interested in helping them to meet their goals. When this happens, candidates are much more open to sharing where they are with regard to other opportunities, which in turn helps a recruiter manage his or her own expectations about the candidate. Remember that in the end, your client and your candidate both need to be happy with the results. This can be accomplished by setting expectations with your candidate from the first phone call.