Recruiters aren’t selling a product that is made to a prototype that can be mass produced and have bells and whistles added to it at will.
We are people recruiting people for people. And people are the most unpredictable animals on the planet so it goes to reason that with this many people in the equation, there are times when things don’t quite go according to plan.
It might be that the brief gets changed along the way or that the fabulous candidate gets an offer of a trip to Italy around the time they are due to start their new job. It could be any number of reasons why a recruitment project gets off track.
Heck, it might even be that the recruiter isn’t much chop! But in my 20-odd years recruiting I can count on one hand the times the recruiter wasn’t held responsible. Now, anyone with even a slim grasp on statistics knows this couldn’t be true.
A recruitment assignment, like all brief encounters (which may or may not go on to become an ongoing relationship) is all about the expectations of each party.
In the recruitment world, the client expects that the recruiter knows what they are looking for in a candidate and where to source that person. At the same time the recruiter expects the client has told them everything they need to know and given them an accurate brief. Meanwhile the candidates expect they are being given accurate information about the role, company culture, salary and so on.
Sometimes the planets align, everyone’s expectations are met and “happily ever after” ensues. But sometimes it all ends in tears with someone left disappointed and bewildered.
I’ve completed over 1000 recruitment assignments in my career, from office support staff through to CEOs. For each assignment I make a note of what the key contributors were to the outcome, whether it was a successful one or not and there are five that appear on my list with regularity.
So, here are my 5 key tips for enjoying the recruitment ride and feeling good at the end of it.
1. Answer our questions – Recruiters are not mind readers
I know some recruiters who have magical powers. I even have them from time to time. We can tie a bunch of seemingly unlikely candidates together into a pretty attractive shortlist, we can almost tele-transport candidates to an interview in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee and we can pull rabbits out of hats just when you think the show’s over. But one thing most of us can’t do very well is read minds. That’s why we ask lots of questions (or at least should do!).
We love it when you overload us with information in response to our seemingly unending questions. It helps us get the most accurate possible assessment of your current situation and what you are looking for. It also helps us clearly understand what the “wish list” and “deal breakers” are. This depth of understanding will make the experience much more productive, efficient and enjoyable for everyone.
2. Provide us with a current/accurate job description
Too often, unmet expectations are just a result of people talking at cross-purposes. And cross-purposes take on a whole life of their own when it comes to job descriptions. Recruiters use job descriptions as a road map to the happy place of fulfillment so we need to be able to trust the signs.
Making sure the job description you provide is current and accurately represents the skills and experience you are looking for will make your relationship with your recruiter one that is based in honesty, transparency and shared purpose.
3. Respond to our phone messages and emails
Like any relationship, one of the major contributors to a successful recruitment outcome is communication; between recruiter, client and candidates. The better the communication the faster and higher quality the outcome.
Put simply, we need your feedback.
While a “no, not suitable” text/voice message or email is better than nothing, the gold lies in the “why”. Understanding why a candidate we have presented isn’t suitable enables us to work in partnership with you to recalibrate the selection process (think accurate job description, information about organisational culture, wish lists and deal breakers here) to effectively and efficiently meet your specific and unique needs.
4. Schedule interviews in realistic timeframes
As a recruiter, our job is to find you the very best candidate possible for your role. In the current market it is highly likely that person already has a job. Coordinating interviews with candidates requires us to be mindful and respectful of their current employment relationship (put yourself in the employer’s shoes for a moment) and this sometimes means a candidate needs at least 24 hours’ notice to arrange the time off for an interview with you.
And then there are the candidates who want to do some research in preparation of their time with you.
Being reasonable when scheduling candidate interviews will improve your chances of always having the very best candidates turn up.
5. Remember we have lives too
Just like you, recruiters have families, hobbies and fabulously interesting household chores to do outside working hours. OK, so the household chores aren’t that important.
While we all understand that when it comes to recruitment you need to “strike while the iron’s hot” (hmm…does that constitute household chores?), calling us at 7.00am or 11.00pm because that works better for you doesn’t advance the relationship in a healthy way. And sending a text at 6.30am asking why I haven’t responded to the voicemail you left at 11.00pm the night before about a candidate you want to interview at 8.30am today is likely to elicit a most unhealthy response! You think I’m joking? Sadly not – this happened just last week.
Partnering with a recruiter involves respecting each other by communicating at reasonable times. This sends the message that we are business partners rather than a 24/7 emergency plumbing service.
And just in case you were wondering, we understand the responsibility we have to provide these same five in return!
It’s not fair that one person gets to hog the sheets!