The Candidate/Recruiter Relationship

Before I worked in recruitment, I gave financial advice to private clients.  

I like to think those formative years taught me a thing or two about how to build trust and nurture long-term relationships. Because of this, my clients were able to trust my advice when it came to investing their money in the companies with which I worked. Then I got into recruitment…  

How did my experience transfer? Initially, it didn’t, and there was total confusion! Apparently my client was the employer, and the candidate… well, they were just the candidate. Until I realised they were both clients and my candidates especially deserved a better service than I was initially prepared to give. Working with some inspirational colleagues, I realised that unless you invested time and energy in building strong relationships with clients you would have no jobs to offer and, on balance, without putting the energy into candidate relationships, I wouldn’t have anyone worth putting forward for the jobs I’d worked hard to secure.  

I did my homework online and there was tons and tons from recruiters on what they expect from a candidate, but nothing about what a candidate should expect from us.  

So what has my later experience taught me? There are five key things that my candidates want and should expect from me, or any recruiter – five things they should absolutely demand!  

  1. Communication – individuals want updates, they like being kept in the loop, with a phone call or email when the employer goes quiet and, of course, feedback on interview performance. I’m in touch with my candidates regularly when we are working on a role together.
  2. Honesty – if the candidate isn’t suitable for a role, they want to know the truth. They don’t want to be put forward for something they won’t get, and they want to know what the real update was from the client. We expect candidates to be honest with us and it’s a two way street.
  3. To feel valued – candidates appreciate that recruiters represent both the employer and themselves, but they want to feel equal in the process and not a commodity to be “pimped out.” They want to be consulted with. They want to be honest, and they want to share their current frustrations with me along with their career plans and goals.
  4. Efficiency – candidates feel much more comfortable when they understand the client’s recruitment process from start to finish and the timescales involved. If things are taking longer than they should be, then they want to know why. They hate surprises… “Oh, didn’t I mention there would be a full day assessment centre”!
  5. Added Value – we all look for added value from our service providers, and candidates are no different when it comes to working with a recruiter. They look for simple things from me that it should be easy to deliver on: in-depth market knowledge, recent best thinking on interview preparation, and best-practice preparatory materials. Anything that gives them the competitive edge over other candidates.  

When I’m overly busy and not bringing my “A-game” then sometimes I don’t deliver on all five. The trick is knowing the standards my candidates expect – this helps me catch myself before I lose them completely.

Steven Fairlie is Managing Consultant of Investment Management & Asset Servicing

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