If you have read parts 1 and 2 of this article then I thank you in advance if not please go back and read them as it is a nice segway to this part about how things can be further improved in recruitment.
Part 3 – How clients/candidates can help recruiters to improve what they do
Let me start with a small disclaimer, I do not think candidates are bad, I do not think clients are bad and I am not saying that some recruiters are not bad, I just want to share how candidates and clients can make improvements to how we work in recruitment.
Firstly, clients! For without clients there is no recruitment nor recruitment consultants in the first place. Before a client initiates a search for a candidate to join their company, they should really think of the best strategy to do so. This does not mean advertise online and see who applies but a more structured approach on how to attract the talent that they need/want to join their organization. If the client has chosen to work with a recruitment company then they should do everything they can to empower that recruiter rather than leave the recruiter guessing.
Sell the role
Recruiters should always do their research, they should be knowledgeable about the company and have somewhat of an understanding of the current situation within the company. The client should help the recruiter sell the opportunity not just assume we can do it. There is a fine line between overselling so striking the right balance is crucial. If there are internal problems then, when possible, notify the recruiter. If there are cash flow issues, again notify the recruiter. If the company is not well known and the website isn’t fully operational then think about providing some form of PDF or Powerpoint presentation the recruiter can share with the shortlisted candidates invited to interview.
Client’s should also be organized with their interviewing schedule. When my staff tell me, that they have sent candidate resumes and the client has informed them that they will get back to them when the hiring manager is available, it really frustrates me. The frustration is not because I want to close the deal as such it is because momentum is often lost, and once you lose momentum the chance to successfully onboard a candidate becomes that little bit slimmer.
The client should really prioritize the image they wish to portray to potential candidates. The way a company arranges interviews and conducts them really gives candidates a window into the level of professionalism a company has. If a candidate has taken the time to meet a company, the least a company can do is provide feedback as to why the candidate wasn’t successful. “The candidate was not a good fit for us,” “The candidate did not match everything we were looking for,” – These are just two small examples of typical feedback a recruiter may receive. Frankly speaking, this is useless, and not only can it hurt candidate confidence it can also sour a relationship between recruiters and their candidate. The worst thing a recruiter can say to a candidate is “I don’t know why you weren’t successful.” To improve this, I suggest clients provide at least 1 written paragraph of feedback with 2 to 3 bullet points on how the candidate can improve.
Clarify, clarify, and re-clarify budgets
When going through the process the recruiter should be working in partnership with the client to clarify the budget. If the client accepts a candidate to interview and they worry that the candidate is out of their budget they should notify the recruiter in advance. Now with COVID, clients are a lot more careful with their offers, which is very understandable, but if the client knows that a candidate offer will fall short of expectations it is important they work with the recruiter to help them sell this opportunity not just expect the recruiter to be able to convince. Sometimes recruiters shoehorn candidates into opportunities when they are not totally happy and as a result, there is a negative outcome down the line.
It is true that the more a candidate earns than the more the recruiter will make on closing the deal but the amounts we are talking about are relatively low and to me, I just want the best outcome for all parties. If the client is happy and the candidate is happy well guess what I am too!
Clients can try to do be more proactive with their hiring not reactive! If a client expects certain staff turnover to occur then rather than wait for the person/people to resign plan for how you will replace them in advance. Will this be an internal move, promoting subordinates to a higher role then plan to hire at a more junior level. A key staff member will retire then plan 5-6 months in advance. These are just two examples of how clients can hire more effectively.
Ask for advice
Finally, the client should ask recruiters what they think, what they advise, and what changes they might make to the hiring strategy; after all, we are Recruitment Consultants, not Recruitment Servants.
Let’s start with the biggest thing candidates can do – be honest!!!!!!!
Strong recruiters will have no issues should a candidate be active in the market and tells them so. Equally a good recruiter will have no issue should the candidate chose another opportunity if it was known throughout a hiring process that they are considering other options. When a candidate suddenly declares at the offer stage that they have another offer and my staff does not know it drives me mad. It could easily be the fault of recruiters, but should the candidate be asked the question and they do not declare it, then it makes it much harder for recruiters to help them.
In the recent past, I entered a candidate into the shortlist of 4 candidates. This candidate told me the name of another company they had had a final interview for, for the same position and I advised them the pros and cons of both companies; in my opinion. As well as having open communication with the candidate I was able to use this information to inform my client. If the client wanted this candidate, they would need to move quickly, they would need to charm a little at the final interview and most importantly we would need to work together on the offer. Needless to say, the candidate decided to choose the other company but all parties were fine because they were aware of this possibility.
Care and attention
This is in relation to candidate resumes, interview preparation, and openness to meet. Candidates when preparing their resumes should take it very seriously. Think about the layout of your resume, the font you use, the size of the font, your executive summary, the responsibilities in each role, and most importantly your achievements. A candidate should be really clear about their achievements because ultimately it will be the success stories that can secure the candidate that dream new role.
Interview preparation is equally important. When going to a job interview it is imperative that candidates research the company in much depth as they can. To add to this, they should also comprehensively study the job description and think of competencies to address the requirements of the client; over-preparation is much better than under preparation.
Recently, I was hiring for a new staff member to join my team and I asked a simple question, “What do you know about RLC?” When the answer was “I don’t know other than you are a recruitment company” my decision had been made.
Finally, for this section of the article, be prepared to meet your recruiter. If a candidate will not take the time to meet with their consultant then the candidate is reducing the chances, they have of securing their next role. With the advancements in video technology in the workplace, this should be the minimum but there is still, and will never be, a substitute for meeting someone face to face.
We are in a new time and the times of 20% salary increases are not as plentiful for those candidates who wish to move roles. If a recruiter contacts with an opportunity, you like that opportunity, you connect well with the client, the package is fair and reasonable and there is room for growth then do not sour the opportunity by squeezing everything you can to get a higher salary. With a higher salary comes higher expectations and often a lot more pressure.
The best recruiters understand that they do not work a 9-5 job but equally candidates should try to make time to speak to recruiters within office hours. If a candidate requests to talk to me outside of office hours in most cases I do but I will give them 3 or 4 different time slots in the day first.
If the candidate has arranged a call with recruiters at a particular time and they are not able to make it, the least that you should do is a message to tell them.
Finally, if a candidate cannot attend a job interview please make sure you give the recruiter plenty of notice. It is very, very embarrassing for a recruiter if a candidate doesn’t turn up to interview and a client is the one to let the recruiter know. Equally the recruiter should check that the candidate has arrived at the interview but that is another story.
Probe for insights, advice, and recommendations
An inquisitive candidate is often the best candidate. Feel free to ask questions, ask the recruiter for advice, talk about your salary and your expectations, declare your weaknesses, ask for interview tips; the list can go on and on but most recruiters love a good chat and it helps to build the trust between recruiter and candidate. Being a recruiter can be monotonous at times and those chats can really brighten up a dull day.
I hope that you found this article helpful and remember whether it is the client to the consultant, consultant to the candidate, candidate to a client, or consultant to a candidate you should always have respect, be open, and try to work in partnership, that way all parties can win.