Candidate Care, It Makes Money…

Crowd | Candidate Care from Recruitment Dad

Expert AdviceRecruitment is about successful project management. Managing your candidates effectively will create positive outcomes for both parties – even if they don’t get the job. If you do not manage your candidates well, relationships can be damaged and opportunities can be missed. Candidates and clients can, and are, interchangeable so good candidate management can create new client opportunities for the future and can also kill them. Delivering good service consistently to candidates is paramount in developing a strong brand as a recruitment consultant and is the bedrock for long term success built around long term relationships.

Case Study:

Success or FailureA number of years ago I met with the Group Finance Director of a major retail chain. His brief from his employer had been to gear up the business for floatation. Everything was set other than the economy, the FTSE was not performing well and it was not a climate for flotation. He redrew an action plan and they carved the business up and sold half of it for approx £500m. Tidy profit, happy board and a now redundant Group FD! He came to see me about a role I was advertising on behalf of a client. Clearly he was stressed about finding a new position, having been earning 150k + bonus + benefits he was “needy”, staring at the prospect of finishing work in 3 months. I did all of the usual: interviewed him thoroughly, assessed his experience, got referee details, discussed his aspirations and then after discussing the role I was dealing with decided to reject him from the process. I did promise I would ring a number of other clients though and present his details whilst he was with me. A colleague of mine (my managing director at the time) also wanted to meet him so I introduced them. My manager then did something I had never seen done before. He gave the candidate a lead. He asked if he had been for an interview at Company X for their Group FD post. The candidate had been to see the agency dealing with it a couple of weeks earlier and they had neglected to mention it to him. My boss gave him the mobile number of the consultant at the competitor dealing with it and told him to tell them to put him forward. [There were valid and exceptional reasons why we could not represent him at that client] He was clearly lifted by this and did just that. The other agency put him forward, got him an interview and placed him. We missed out on a 37k fee. He then gave our company around £180k worth of business as, in his opinion, we were the only “agency” he thought was looking after his best interests and he believed it was my manager who placed him.

Thumbs up | Recruitment DadThis story has stayed with me ever since. This is when I really started to understand what my boss and often talked to me about; the power of long term relationships over short term profits. Good candidate management creates good relationships and it starts with the first contact. How we find, approach and evaluate individuals in our market and then add value to their job search is what creates those relationships. There are many who work in the recruitment industry who do not see the value in looking after their candidates. Clients pay the fees and until candidates begin to cough up a fee for placing them then they should be grateful and accept the service as is. This also seems a much more prevalent attitude in America and I would be interested to know why. Even as an Executive Search Consultant, which is the sector of recruitment I hear it the loudest from, I always treated my candidates with respect and kept in touch with them – how else can you generate high quality referrals?? From first-hand experience and from the feedback I have had from those I have trained – the better you look after your candidates, the more money you make. The decision lies with you when you ask yourself “How much money do I really want to make this year?” then decide how well you should treat your non-fee-paying candidates.

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  1. It’s such a positive thing for me to see that someone else in the industry I love and get great satisfaction from, is of a similar mindset to me.

    Much of the business that myself and my colleagues have brought on over the last few years has happened exactly for the reasons you highlight – high quality and unselfish candidate care.

    I was recently reading a post that someone made on a social networking site – they said something along the lines of:-

    “Why should I bother responding to idiots (yes they used that word) who have applied for a role that they’re not suited for? I receive 100′s of applications and regretting everyone for every role can take up to 4 hours.”

    Not only is this a hugely arrogant comment, and in my eyes extremely unprofessional, it also displays a level of commercial naivety and short-sightedness that is unfortunately in abundance in our sector.

    If 4 hours of time spent responding to unsuccessful applicants even leads to a chance of a new client, surely that’s time well spent?

    In my opinion, too many people in this industry get bogged down by developing business in traditional ways – i.e. 100 calls a week (which goes a long way to enhancing our industry reputation as telephone pests), unproductive sales visits and offering ridiculous rates just to secure business.

    By working smarter, delivering a quality service to clients AND candidates and thinking medium to long term (rather than for short term gain), much of the need to take the frankly tedious approach to sales can be done away with and replaced by truly strategic sales strategies, networking and relationship building.

    Best regards,

    Alan Walker
    Equal Approach

    Alan Walker 11 February 2011 at 3:09 pm Permalink

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