Most people have been candidates at one point or another their careers. They carefully monitor job boards, listen out for clues on upcoming roles via social media and speak to their networks about potential opportunities. They have conversations with recruiters, apply for roles and expect engagement with them leading to interviews and feedback.
Like most service industries, the customer experience can vary wildly between service providers. I’m not talking about a recruiter’s relationship with their client who, as the source of ongoing business for them, is undoubtedly just fine. I’m talking about the experience a candidate has with a recruitment firm (who is also a source of revenue for the recruiter when placed in a role).
So I’m going to put it out there and say that there is an underlying view from many people I’ve spoken with that indicates most people who have applied for a role via a recruitment firm have had an experience that could have been greatly improved.
Big call or not?
The ludicrous thing is that the most common complaints from candidates could be easily remedied. But only if the recruiter takes a view that the candidate relationship is as equally important to them as the relationship with their client.
Top niggles include:
- Applying for a role and never receiving an outcome;
- Standardised rejection responses;
- Calling a recruiter to discuss a role prior to applying and never receiving a return call;
- Inviting a recruiter to connect on LinkedIn to enable the recruiter to gain a better profile of the candidate and the recruiter never accepting the invitation;
- Sending an introductory InMail (LinkedIn mail) to a recruiter to request more information or a job description about the role and never receiving a response;
- Repeatedly following up a recruiter across all available media and still not receiving a response;
- Sending Twitter or Facebook messages to a recruiter about a role and never receiving a response.
Sadly the message these behavioural niggles send candidates is “you’re not important enough for me to be bothered to respond to you”.
“But we receive so many applications!”
This is common response from recruiters who are often challenged by the sheer volume of applications and the available resources required to appropriately manage candidate responses. I have worked with many recruiters and in-house teams over the years as a candidate and a client and found some of the most successful share the following traits:
- They’ve worked in the field for which they recruit and have a deep understanding of what both the client and the candidate need;
- They take every application seriously – they’re not merely matching CV’s for a quick placement (and fee);
- They’re interested in putting the very best candidates forward. And if that means a little more work and having to think laterally about out-of-the-box candidates, they’ll do it;
- They have trusted relationships with their clients and will challenge their requirements when presented with ‘out of the box’ candidates;
- They behave with integrity – they return calls, answer emails, engage with candidates on social media and do what they say they will;
- They recognize that the candidate they’re dealing with may one day become a client who could potentially engage their services;
- They understand the value of the candidate experience and that candidates talk to one another and will take to social media about their experiences;
- They value not only their personal reputation, but also that of the firm for whom they recruit and their industry in general.
Everything’s online – so isn’t this an opportunity to be highly personalised?
Having a recruiter view your resume can seem like an enormous challenge today, as technology scans, sorts and spits out acceptances and rejections, often with very little human interaction.
Recruiters who use technology as a tool, versus it doing their job for them, have a great opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with candidates.
If candidates aren’t traded like commodities, a whole world of opportunity may open up recruiters and their firms and importantly, to the candidates they’re dealing with.
So here’s something for recruiters to consider. Next time a candidate leaves a message, sends an email, invitation to connect on LinkedIn or sends an InMail about a role they’ve applied for, think about how you’d like to be treated and be guided by this. It will undoubtedly go some way to reducing the potentially negative experience of candidates, who one day may be your clients!