One of the perks of working on a recruiting floor is hearing various stories about candidates, hiring managers, and all the hiccups and successes in the hiring process. It’s also a great opportunity to ask for advice from coworkers when I have the chance to dip my own toes into the recruiting process. As a recruitment marketer, it’s not very often, so having a whole recruiting team to tap into for getting questions answered is invaluable.
Recently, when going over some advice for initial phone screens with candidates, an interesting debate arose. I was talking with two recruiters and getting a list of all the things you should hit on in a phone screen: what the candidate is up to currently, why they’re looking for a new gig, what are the top three things they’re looking for, etc. Then, one of my recruiting coworkers mentioned she always asks for the candidate’s perspective on commutes during the phone screen, to which my other recruiting coworker adamantly disagreed.
Recruiter one’s opinion: I always ask about commute during the phone screen. You don’t want them getting further into the hiring process just to find out they live way further than they’re willing to commute.
Recruiter two’s rebuttal: It’s just not that important. If the job is right the candidate will be willing to make the commute, and they’ve taken a look at the company so they know how far it is.
After hearing both impassioned arguments? My opinion sided with the second point, for a few reasons:
- Unlike salary, which often isn’t on the job posting, the location is and candidate’s can look it up for themselves. They wouldn’t have applied for the job if it was outside their commute range.
- There’s important things to discuss in a phone screen, after all it’s your first vocal contact with the candidate. Lumping commute in with the rest of those imperative items can be distracting.
- As my second coworker said, a commute shouldn’t necessarily be a make or break. As long as it’s not obscenely far, if the job is right the candidate should be okay making the trip. You may get some negotiations about flexing office schedules or work from home opportunities, but if they’re the right candidate it should work for you as well.
Ultimately, a candidate’s commute might be marginally important, but it’s not the end-all be-all, and it’s not something that should be put at the forefront during your first conversation with the candidate.