Quit Giving Other Recruiters a Bad Rep

I am going to cut straight to the chase with this post.

If you are a recruiter, you need to read this.  If this post doesn’t apply to you – I am sure you can relate to someone else in the recruiting field making the very mistakes listed below.

There are many recruiters that are making the rest of us look bad.

You are toying with your candidate’s experience.

You are sending canned responses.

You have lost your ability to be engaged with your talent pool.

You just aren’t doing it right.

If you are guilty of one of the following six things – own up to it, slap yourself around to get a reality check, and stop doing it immediately.  Not just for the sake of a fellow recruiter’s reputation in the industry, but for yourself too.

1.  You Are Treating Candidates Like Numbers

I truly understand that there are recruiting firms out there that are all about numbers.  I also understand that there are quotas to exceed, goals to meet, and positions to fill due to client obligations.  Trust me, I get that.

However, with that said…

You cannot treat your candidates like the numbers you are trying to achieve.  The quotas you need to exceed, the goals you need to meet, and the positions you need to fill are all background noise to a candidate.

Take the time to properly get to know someone without focusing on your “hidden agenda” that they wouldn’t understand nor care to know about at all. They don’t want to hear about the fact that you need to fill the position by Friday or that by filling this position you will meet or exceed your monthly goal.

Candidates want to tell you their story.  They want you to ask questions about what they are looking for, what makes them tick, and what they have to bring to the table.

At the end of the day, if it’s a fit then it’s a fit.  Don’t force it for the sake of numbers, but take the time to get to know what they are looking for, and you’ll know sooner rather than later if it’s a potential fit.

2.  You Aren’t Following Up With Your Candidates – At All

I know recruiting life can be busy.  We juggle multiple candidates for various positions, and it’s sometimes hard to make time for following up – especially when it isn’t getting you one step closer to the money, one step closer to meeting a quota or goal, or one step closer to filling that position.

However, a simple pass is better than zero feedback at all.  

Just like you don’t like being left in the dark wondering what happened, your candidates don’t like to feel that way either.

Don’t be afraid to give what you perceive to be negative feedback.  I guarantee that most candidates will appreciate a follow-up from a recruiter even if it isn’t the news they wanted to hear.

I speak from experience on this as I have made several calls to candidates to let them know they weren’t selected for a position or weren’t moving along in the process.  And, I usually get a response like this, “Wow, I appreciate you letting me know.  Usually I just don’t hear anything at all, and I figure it out on my own.”

To me, leaving your candidates in the dark is like watching almost all of an awesome movie, and then turning it off without seeing the ending.

Just don’t do it.

3.  You Aren’t Taking the Time to Understand Your Candidate

Unfortunately, it’s very easy to talk about what we need in a candidate, but not enough recruiters are taking the time to truly understand what their candidates need when it comes to making a move in their career.

If you take the time to understand your candidates, it is much easier to build an authentic talent pipeline to tap into even if the position you are working on now isn’t an ideal fit for them.

Also, taking the time to get to know your candidates will not only build a solid relationship, but it will also build trust.  Those candidates will want to work with you again in the future, even if the position in the here and now doesn’t pan out after all.

4.  You Don’t Take the Time to Personalize

I get it.

I hear all the excuses as to why personalization of messages takes too long…

I don’t get a response half the time anyway.
It’s easier to kill more birds with one stone.
But, I can reach more candidates about the position.
But, but, but, it’s quicker to send a mass message, and it’s more efficient.

Although some of the excuses above are realistic responses, I guarantee that you will get a better return rate of responses if you take the time to personalize and/or customize your messages to your candidates (whether via social media, email, or phone).

And, if it’s a really hard-to-fill position, keep in mind that your message really should stand out from the rest of the messages some of this high-need candidates are receiving on a daily basis.

Get creative, personalized, customized, and real.

5.  You Just Aren’t With the Times 

If you have ever asked yourself the following, you need to think deeper.

Why is it that a potential candidate isn’t returning my call after leaving a voice message for the second time?  Why is it that they aren’t responding to my emails?  This opportunity would be fantastic for them!

Getting with the times means embracing the fact that the traditional means of getting your candidate’s attention aren’t always going to work. 

With an increasing millennial workforce, there are modern methods of getting in touch with candidates in need.  That includes the fact that you should embrace social media (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).  Use those platforms to communicate with your potential candidates.

I’m not a fan of texting as an initial means of reaching a candidate, but this could be a great way to keep in touch or keep a candidate updated on the process (especially if they are currently working and unable to take a call or check a personal email as easily).

Take the time to think outside of the box when it comes to communicating with your potential candidates.

6.  You Are Focusing On Your Schedule, Not the Candidate’s

Lastly, if a candidate is currently working full-time, you need to be able to offer flexibility in the interviewing options, or at least understand that a candidate is not trying to burn a professional bridge in order to make it to an interview that may or may not pan out.

Too often, I see recruiters and hiring managers giving a one size fits all approach to interviewing, and it can really limit candidates when the process is too cumbersome or difficult.

Understand the fact that candidates may have a preference to interview first thing in the morning, on their lunch breaks, or at the end of their current work day.

If it’s a candidate that you truly want to pursue for the position, try video interviewing them after hours.  Or, just take the time to come to a healthy compromise on when to interview so it’s not interfering with the candidate’s existing work schedule.

And don’t even get me started on having a 3 or 4 in-person interview process…

When in doubt, think of how you would want to be treated during the recruiting process – from beginning to end.

Have anything to add to the conversation?  Please comment below.