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Recruitment – The candidate relationship

The recruitment industry has matured in the past few years but still has a long way to go.

The olden days

I began my career in recruitment in the late 1990’s when candidate care was not even a concern to most consultants. Activity levels were focussed purely on ‘chasing the job’ and picking up as much business as possible.

Finding the right candidate for a role was not based on a consultant’s in depth knowledge of a specific talent pool or on carefully nurtured relationships within a given sector; instead recruiters relied on having the biggest, most comprehensive database of ‘live’ candidates and they hammered the phones for long enough until a sufficient number of potential candidates agreed to have their CVs sent over to the hiring client for consideration. This, in essence was the selection and shortlisting process.

This lazy and haphazard approach does not exactly justify the ‘consultant’ title so over used in the industry does it? Candidates had little perspective on which agencies their CVs were registered with and had few, if any strong links to individual recruiters. This was an industry that saw candidates purely as currency.

Thankfully, things have moved on a little since then. But how much?

Have things improved?

I have been a recruiter for many years. I have also been an in-house hiring manager, recruiting both directly from the market and through recruiters. I have also been a candidate, seeking the advice of agency consultants and applying for roles through recruitment businesses. I have therefore seen this industry from every conceivable angle.

My marks out of 10. 7 at best.

Yes, recruiters these days have a more intelligent, caring and consultative approach to candidate care; they take time to meet candidates, discuss their career aims, their backgrounds and interview styles. However, this relationship often comes to a sudden halt the moment a candidate has been through initial interviews and is deemed not suitable for the role. At this stage in the process, too many recruiters cease all dialogue with the candidate, even to the extent that candidates are forced to approach the hiring company themselves to find out that they are not being progressed to the next stage.

Deliver the bad news and not just the good

This inability, or unwillingness of recruitment ‘professionals’ to deliver bad news and constructive feedback is still prevalent in the industry and is why there is still so much cynicism amongst business leaders and hiring managers around the use of recruiters.

Ask most candidates and indeed hiring managers and the majority will still say that recruiters are a necessary evil rather than a genuine means to adding value to the recruitment process. This needs to change.

The middle man

The recruiter is in the middle of a complex and sensitive process….the candidate seeking a new role and the client looking to hire new talent. Most recruiters gravitate too much towards the hiring client (after all…they pay the bill) and do not invest enough time in the candidate, before, during and after the selection process.

As recruiters, we need to invest long term in our candidate relationships….after all, a lot of these people will be the hiring managers of tomorrow.

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