Why It’s Important for Recruiters to Get the Candidate Experience Right

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How to make sure recruiting firms make the right first impression for your company.

If today’s job market had a motto, it would be this: It’s a candidate’s world, and we’re just living in it.

here is no time in recent history that job candidates have held so much power. Unemployment is hovering at 4.1 percent – the lowest it’s been in 17 years. Employers are focused on growing their business through their workforce, and it’s led to a steady increase in new job roles on the market. Great candidates are getting multiple interviews, commanding higher salaries, and have a choice of plum positions.

Nearly 50 percent of small businesses say they are struggling to find talent to fill open jobs, stated the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Economic Trends report. Ninety percent of recruiters assert that recruitment has become candidate-driven, up from 54 percent in 2011, according to the MRINetwork Recruitment Sentiment Study.

The way potential candidates are handled during the recruiting process matters more than ever – from convincing the right talent to join your team to generating good will for your brand. Many candidates believe the way they are treated during recruitment is a direct reflection of the way they will be treated if they join your company. If the process is disjointed, unorganized, and discourteous, they are likely to assume the same things about your business.

It’s unlikely they will stay quiet about their opinions. In today’s instant communication age, job seekers can be quick to share bad experiences on social media, and anything less than great customer service can impact your company’s bottom line. More than 70 percent of job seekers said they have shared negative candidate experiences on social media or employer review sites such as Glassdoor, as well as directly with family and friends.

Many recruitment firms claim to offer personal service and respect to job candidates – but how can companies really be sure? Read on for ways the most successful recruiting firms draw top talent for their clients by treating job candidates as if they were customers.

  • They are focused on candidate experience. Often only people in the recruitment process who don’t directly pay recruiters money, job candidates often complain they aren’t treated like a priority. Many recruiters spend most of their energy making their clients and employers happy, and their interactions with candidates are perceived as phony and impersonal. The best recruiters recognize that strong candidates are the greatest asset of their business – they can’t fill positions without the right people to present. Successful recruiting firms show candidates that they recognize their value and treat candidate experience as more than a buzzword.
  • They follow up. Many recruiters come on strong during initial conversations with a new candidate, but then disappear once their client moves on to other potential employees. Candidates have a right to know when they have been turned down, or even when the company that’s hiring is taking a long time to move the process along. Some 65 percent of job seekers say they never or rarely receive notice when they are rejected, according to Workplace Trends. Ignoring the ones who aren’t moving forward is unprofessional, and the negative feedback it can generate can damage your company’s reputation.
  • They don’t bother passive candidates at work. In today’s tight job market, passive candidates, or those who are not actively seeking new jobs, are a valuable commodity. The most successful recruiters realize that they need to adapt to these candidates’ schedules for the best results. Unscheduled calls or communications are intrusive and uncomfortable when they are at work, and could even endanger their current jobs by signaling their employer that they are looking at other options. Poor communication caused by prolonged games of phone tag can also cause candidates’ interest to wane.
  • They don’t behave like pushy salesmen. Nothing can be more frustrating for job candidates than being treated like commissions. Convincing candidates that an opportunity is perfect for them to consider is a normal part of a recruiter’s job, but continuing to push the role when it’s clear that the candidate is not qualified, available, or interested raises red flags.
  • They understand a candidate’s industry and qualifications. With automation and mass communication at the click of a mouse, it’s increasingly common for recruiters to blast irrelevant job openings to candidates whose only qualifications are that their profile contains a certain keyword. Unfortunately, this strategy can cause even relevant messages to get lost. It also makes job seekers wary about trusting their careers to someone who has made it apparent that they don’t understand subtle differences between careers in their sector. Skilled recruiters gain credibility by doing their homework on the unique responsibilities of each job they present, as well as the way they fit into their industry.
  • They make great first impressions. Candidates have options in today’s job market, and they don’t have to put up with unpleasant recruiting experiences. The most successful recruiters are enthusiastic, friendly, professional and knowledgeable about your company. Their job is to sell the benefits of working for your business, and they deliver a candidate experience that makes the best employees excited to come onboard.

The recruiting firm you choose is an ambassador for your company, and it’s critical that they make the right impression in a market where competition for top talent is increasingly fierce. By remaining focused on candidate experience, the best recruiting firms earn candidates’ trust and grow their clients’ workforce with the most talented employees.

Mankuta | Gallagher has been connecting companies with exceptional talent since 1994. If you are looking for help finding the perfect fit for your organization, contact us today.