Candidate care, back to basics

At a recent Recruitment Society event in London, Recruitment agencies were warned to “ignore candidate feedback at your peril”.

I have enjoyed a successful career in Recruitment and throughout my years working both in North America and the United Kingdom, candidate care has always been a subject for discussion, programmes, surveys the lot! Now in 2017, it is still a topic for debate and always good to remind ourselves of its significance in our industry and the part it plays in our organisations success.

Research carried out by Jobsite RecruitRank, which found that 89 % of jobseekers believe feedback is important, 75% of candidates place a strong emphasis on positive feedback and 85% of jobseekers said they would be unlikely to use a recruiter again after a negative experience. Forgetting to give candidate feedback is all too common within the recruitment industry; candidates may just slip away without feedback being provided but rest assured they will remember how they were treated and be more likely to share their bad experience.

Recruitment Firms spend vast amounts of money on implementing and maintaining Quality Management Systems, BS EN ISO 9001 standards, Investors in People, full blown candidate care programmes and many more methodologies which are designed to improve business processes and deliver best practice services to clients and candidates; with the ultimate result to increase their share of the recruitment market and demonstrate to their clients that they “focus on quality”.

The Recruitment Industry, by and large, is based on commission structures focused on placements made, which can sometimes drive the wrong kind of behaviours when dealing with candidates. This is one of the key reasons that organisations should adopt candidate care more as an ethos with each recruiter/employee taking personal responsibility for “living” this ethos and not simply “following a process map”.

Check list of “how it should be done”:

1. Respond! The biggest criticism of our industry. We don’t respond. To CV’s, linkedIn messages, to applications on our website, to phone calls. First goal. Get back to everyone… fast.

2. Provide honest, clear, and detailed job description. Too often recruitment companies work from very sketchy job descriptions, avoiding this trap is significant for a couple of reasons; firstly, it forces you to engage with your client to really find out what they need for the role and secondly it shows your candidates that you have a good grasp of your clients business and provides them with confidence you can support them to find their next role.

3. Manage expectations. One of the biggest complaints I have heard from candidates over the years is “they never let me know what is happening”. If you don’t have anything for them then tell them rather than giving them false hope that you will be able to assist them. ‘Expectation management isn’t just about you avoiding damaging mistakes in your candidate management approach it also represents a fantastic opportunity. The most successful businesses succeed because they exceed expectations in unexpected ways’

4. Return phone calls. Be honest, do you really return all candidate calls? If you do then you get a A++ – best advice – just do it!

5. Tell them the bad news. This is one of the most cringing activities we must undertake but is very important. A candidate wants to know they have been unsuccessful if that is the case. Don’t leave them hanging; communicate with them throughout the recruitment process. If for example, your client is delaying feedback pass it on to the candidate; telling a candidate there is no news is news to the candidate.

6. Shut up and listen a little. Yes, be slow to understand. What the candidate wants and thinks. You already know what you want and think.

7. Give a little – thanks, advice, encouragement, respect. The truth is whether you find them a job or not, candidates will remember how you made them feel long after they remember what you gave them or even said to them!

The truth is whether you find them a job or not, candidates will remember how you made them feel long after they remember what you gave them or even said to them!

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