Why Recruiters SHOULD love their candidates – Valentine Thoughts

OpinionStart asking candidates in any market what they think of agencies and you, more often than not, find bad rather than good press. There are many candidates out there (particularly over the last 12 months) who have not had a great experience with our industry. Why have candidates fallen out of love with the recruiters and the recruitment industry as a whole? Now that we are seeing signs of a slow recovery, what can we do about this, and what should candidates expect from us?

Speaking to people in the recruitment business there appears to be an upturn in many parts of the market. Does this really signal the green shoots of true recovery? If this is the case, then there is likely to be an increase in the amount of jobs that we start to see. This can only be good thing. This also brings with it a need to be ready. Ready to react quickly to clients’ needs and find them the best people. With the air of anticipation may also come hesitation – here the more astute recruiters will anticipate their clients’ needs and proactively introduce them to those individuals they think will add value to that business.

To be able to do this we need to be strong(er) in two prime areas:

  1. Knowing who will be recruiting next in the market place.
  1. Having a robust knowledge of where to find quality candidates and have the right reputation to work with the best.

I have read much lately (particularly from Mervyn Dinnen at T Recs) about the importance of candidate care. This has been neglected for so long that it has become the expectation within the candidate community to expect poor service. It does not have to be this way. It is a choice that every recruiter makes every day. It is a choice that every recruiter makes every day. Shall I care for my candidates today, or not? Any that say otherwise are only fooling themselves…

To show genuine interest in your customers is not too much to ask is it? Yet I know that it is those of you out there who even in this economy treat candidates with integrity and fairness that will be the most successful. I have a wealth of research that I have conducted over the past six months to back this up. Candidate care is not a “nice thing to do”. Candidate care is a very commercial thing to do. Recruiters who want to make a lot of money ensure that the candidate experience with their business is going to be the best in the industry. Once you get this right you create loyalty, trust and a quality based reputation plus the opportunity to find your candidates start to reciprocate. Once you have this then the clients will come to you. In my head, building a high quality candidate reputation is like building a baseball diamond in your backyard. Build it and they [clients] will come.

I’m sure you have started to realise by now how important this is. Move from knowing to doing. Start to do such a basic and your commercial awareness will grow too – talking to lots of candidates will tell you what is happening in lots of companies. As an experienced recruiter I know there is a skill to this. As a trainer this is something that I help people with every day. Take the time to help yourself to help others to in turn help you back.

In summary – start talking to your candidates. Where are they working? What are they doing? Clearly someone is employing some of them – who is it and how can we get in there? Revisit your hotlists and repopulate them. Make sure you are fully up to date with the best in the market place as that is what clients will be looking for. Make sure you don’t get caught out when the market suddenly turns up. Recession end to one side, if you are finding job flow and CV:interview ratios are not what they could be perhaps you need to revisit what you are doing with candidates… This is a relationship based business where talking to people (regularly) is essential.


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  1. Surely is a 100% given? I mean, it’s a bit like saying car dealers should be nice to their customers, or greengrocers, or hotels, or anyone else involved in any aspect of a service industry. Any recruiter who puts candidates anything other than high up their list of priorities is destined to fail, not least in such a competitive arena. Candidates are your lifeblood, they pay your bills. Unearth good ones, keep them informed at every stage of the process and even when nothing;’s doing and you’ll have a contact for life and who knows, maybe even a potential client in the future. Treat them merely as a means to an end and it won’t be long before your reputation goes before you, and not in a good way.

    Alconcalcia 15 March 2012 at 1:13 pm Permalink

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