Relationship advice for recruiters and candidates

In today’s competitive market, candidates need the help of recruiters now more than ever. In order for candidates and recruiters to work cohesively in matching candidates with employers, a strong relationship built on trust needs to be established early.

Relationship building may seem like an obvious component in the recruiting world, however, recruiters who struggle with successfully building relationships could improve if they had some direction on how they can build stronger relationships with candidates – directly impacting their effectiveness as recruiters.

Recruiters must embody certain characteristics and embrace certain practices for the relationship to work and gain the cooperation of candidates. The recommendations for relationship building that are provided below are intended to help recruiters earn the cooperation of candidates, and be seen as trusted advisors to them as they work together to find the right job for candidates.

Honesty and genuineness is critical

In regards to the candidate interaction, the recruiter’s honesty and genuineness will be critical to the success of a candidate finding the right role. While recruiters are encouraging candidates to remain optimistic throughout the job search, it’s important that recruiters articulate to candidates that the knowledge and advice they offer is backed by previous experience with similar circumstances, and is always in the best interest of the candidate. This helps strengthen the relationship if candidates know a recruiter’s frankness is in good faith.

Coaching candidates from start to finish will be an important aspect in the relationship. This coaching can include, but is not limited to, resume critiquing and advising them when it needs polishing if no one else has helped them in this area.

Another area where recruiters can coach candidates is when recruiters have identified a mismatch for a role based on their background and skill sets, what the candidate is looking for, and what the candidate says during screening, rather than sending them to an interview with a hiring manager simply because the hiring manager is waiting on candidates to interview.

In cases where there is a mismatch, you can identify other available opportunities that are a better match and provide reasons why it is a better match. In addition to that, recruiters should be coaching candidates on what to say and what not to say, during interviews so they are well-polished and increase their chances of landing a job. Although this may take some additional work for the candidates, they will appreciate you identifying their weaknesses so they can address them – ultimately giving them a better shot at finding the right role.

Giving realistic preview of the role

Candidates should never be caught off guard with information they should have known well before an on-site interview. An example could be something as simple, but important, as the requirement to work some weekends and holidays. If you as a recruiter know that the candidate will be working a majority of the weekends as opposed to just some weekends, then be crystal clear about it from the beginning. At some point during the hiring process they will have to find out about it.

Giving a realistic preview of the role requirements, besides the skill set and experience, is important because it could be a deal breaker for the candidate and a waste of their time if they learn this late in the process. Learning this later in the process could easily discredit the recruiter – and if it happens often enough, it could really ruin the image of the company if it is well-known that recruiters leave out critical information that help candidates decide whether to move forward or not.

Begin with the end in mind

Ideally, recruiters would like to place candidates in a role that is long-term, where they can grow as a professional. But how do recruiters get on the right track to accomplishing this if they don’t understand the candidate’s long-term career goals? As mentioned earlier, the right fit goes beyond skill set and experience. So in order to match a candidate and an employer long-term, recruiters have to dig deep and uncover this information.

When you can weave in a candidate’s goals with an opportunity that is available, recruiters can begin to create a storyline for candidates that ends with them arriving at their intended destination. Including details such as a candidate’s long-term goals lets them know you are thinking about their end goal, and that you have their best interest in mind. If you put yourself in the shoes of a candidate, you can probably guess that they have spoken to a lot recruiters in the past – many of whom may have never taken the extra step to incorporate their long term goals when selling a job. Although jobs are often a stepping stone to where candidates see themselves in the future, simply taking into account their career goals can help candidates see where the role fits in, or where it doesn’t.

Although a relationship between a recruiter and a candidate is often a short one, it is one that can have a lasting impact for both sides. The impact for recruiters is that they gain credibility, get better at placing candidates who will have longer tenures in the roles they help fill, and learn to set the tone for a more trusting and cohesive relationship. The impact for candidates is that they can improve on preparing for interviews and identify the types of roles they are a great fit, and the types of roles they are not.

Katie Calhoun is director, client services at Seven Step RPO.

You can see the full article as it was originally posted on Recruitment Agency Now here.


Related: Recruiting culture, Recruitment productivity, Recruiting best practices, Recruitment innovation, Recruiter training

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Seven Step RPO is part of the Motion Recruitment Partners LLC family of innovative recruitment companies