Relationship building between candidates and companies is an ever-evolving process, especially in our digitally connected, hypercompetitive world.
“Rather than multiple candidates vying for positions because of limited availability, we now have a surplus of positions opening up and not enough candidates to fill them,” according to Recruiting.com.
This surplus is verified by a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights report, which says, “The ratio of unemployed persons per job opening was 0.8 in June 2019,” compared to 5.8 unemployed persons per job opening in June 2009 (at the end of the recession).
Modeling top relationship building “dos and don’ts” from the four experienced recruiters quoted, hereto, may help deepen your reputation for trust, reliability and overall brand quality. As a result, you may anticipate an uptick in your value proposition with both your candidates and client companies alike.
1. Diligently collaborate with the candidate to satisfy their objectives.
“Truly understand what the candidate is looking for in their next career,” says Darryl Dioso, Managing Partner/Recruiter, Resource Management Solutions Group. For example, “If they must have a shorter commute, come to them with opportunities that satisfy that need.”
Shelly Goldman, National Sales + IT Executive Recruiter / Talent Acquisition Consultant, extends Dioso’s sentiment to scenarios where a candidate is not yet ready to make the career move. Show acceptance by behaving in an “understanding, patient and respectful” manner, she advises. Doing so maintains a positive relationship and paves the way for potential future opportunities.
2. Highly involve hiring managers and leaders in the talent targeting process.
“We tend to accept that the hiring teams and company leadership will enter into the hiring process for interviews, leaving the rest of the process to the recruitment team,” states Bill McCabe, National Manager, Talent Acquisition, Polyglass USA, Inc.
However, this hands-off method is not advisable; instead, McCabe suggests “proactively targeting the industry’s best talent by including managers and leaders. Build a CRM-style pipeline list and involve the C-suite in reaching out to these all-stars so they understand your organization is very serious about bringing career opportunities to them as opposed to scripted ‘check-ins’ from the same HR resource.”
3. Act as a company’s business consultant.
Listen, ask relevant questions, guide and advise. Be a “true partner and talent acquisition consultant,” says, Goldman. Gain an understanding of the hiring companies’ culture and short-term and long-term goals. Become a positive face of the hiring company.
4. Shower candidates with organizational insights.
Information sharing is another best practice that can deepen trust with the candidate while building the company’s (and recruiter’s) value proposition. Supplement insights about the position with knowledge about the “hiring organization’s history, culture and future growth plans and/or challenges,” suggests Goldman.
Not only will you better attract and retain right-fit candidates, but you also offer an opt-out opportunity for candidates if they discover they do not fit the culture or are not enthused about the particular challenges looming ahead.
5. Apply a human touch, and always be honest.
“Help candidates with advice, tips or even just a sympathetic ear when you know they are not a fit for your hiring client or will not be hired for the role,” encourages Dioso. “Being honest and helpful is not just good karma, but the candidate will remember you when they do finally land their dream job.”
“If the employer has some hurdles in terms of leadership changes, lost accounts/clients, some blemishes they are trying to fix, be honest with the candidate. Tell them the good and the bad so they can judge for themselves and know what they are getting into. Let’s make telling the truth the norm,” emphasizes Jennifer Spencer, Owner/Recruiter at The Spencer Group, Inc.
Similarly, be transparent with the company.
“If your candidate has some interesting movement, life situations, etc., tell the employer upfront so it can be dealt with in the beginning. If you wait and tell them later, it looks like you are hiding something,” concludes Spencer.
6. Avail yourself for candidate interview prep.
In many instances, it’s been awhile—several years or more—since a candidate has been on the receiving end of a job interview. A strong recruiter will guide the candidate through a role-playing and/or strategy session in advance of the meeting.
“Doing so can really help the candidate and hiring company have a more productive and meaningful meeting and may help the candidate manage extra stress they feel about the upcoming interview,” says Goldman.
7. Communicate thoroughly, tackling difficult conversations.
“Don’t fall off the face of the earth,” asserts Goldman.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is a golden rule that particularly applies to the post-interview phase of recruiting, where stories of candidates adrift in the black no-follow-up hole are too common.
“Always follow up and follow through!” emphasizes Spencer. “In an age where ‘ghosting’ is unfortunately more common than ever, a recruiter who follows up is in a league of their own.”
“Communication is key even if it’s a difficult conversation. Candidates and employers alike will appreciate the follow-up and follow through. It shows you are professional and more importantly--you care,” continues Spencer.
Defaulting to text or email may seem easiest, but communicating more meaningfully can add value. “In this digital-driven environment, never forget the power of relationship-building by talking with someone directly,” explains Goldman.
On the client company side, the recruiter must “deliver on what’s promised and keep clients informed on recruitment activities via status updates,” adds Goldman. And, continue working once the candidate is hired, following up with the hiring company to confirm satisfaction.
8. Bottom Line: Value candidates.
“Show respect and let candidates know they are valued,” urges Goldman.
And, similarly, demonstrating respect and insightfulness to the employer’s needs also bodes well toward a sustainably productive relationship.
1. Don’t oversell candidates to the hiring team.
“If you want to build credibility with hiring teams and leaders, do not ‘oversell’ candidates,” urges McCabe. “Openly discuss the gaps and deficiencies with the manager and counsel them as to why they are still a fit because of their development areas, not despite them.”
“The best candidates need to grow into a role and because they are learning something new every day, they will stay energized and highly engaged. Don’t ‘hide’ their flaws,” concludes McCabe.
2. Don’t overextend your recruiting capabilities.
Companies in the throes of hiring generally are experiencing various levels of pain wrought from organizational growth and change, the resignation or firing of an employee or some other scenario that leaves them hobbled by insufficient staffing or leadership talent. Their needs are specific, aimed at fulfilling particular personality and performance requirements, among other wishes.
As such, Goldman advises, “Do not accept recruitment projects if you do not feel confident about your ability to meet a client’s needs or if you don’t feel comfortable about recruiting for a specific organization.”
3. Don’t under-deliver. Do not withhold information about a candidate’s suitability for a position.
You should “not present candidates that are not qualified,” says Goldman.
While McCabe makes a good point about resume gaps converting into development opportunities, a successful recruiter knows how to decipher and articulate the difference between development opportunities and those candidates who simply are not qualified.
And, lastly, Goldman shares two final, standalone recruiter don’ts that require no explanation:
4. Do not present a candidate without an understanding of a candidate’s compensation requirements.
5. Do not recruit candidates from a company you recruit for.