Your first job as a recruiter is to be a resource, motivator, and cheerleader for your candidates. You want them to feel heard, respected, and supported as they go through their job search — an often formidable period in their lives.
The last thing you want is for a candidate to feel disrespected or ignored. But sometimes you don’t know how your candidate feels until you see scathing feedback on a review site or an upset comment on social media.
So how do we avoid the sins of careless recruiting and get back on track? Take a look at these common missteps — and learn how to veer back to a virtuous path.
The sin: getting defensive when you receive feedback — or worse, not asking for it at all
As a recruiter, you live in extremes: you often don’t get candidate feedback unless the candidate expresses their gratitude, or until they leave negative, anonymous feedback on an external review site. And then you might dismiss the feedback entirely as you move on to your next placement.
What’s worse, you’re missing the crucial majority of your potential feedback — the candidates who had an experience somewhere in the middle. They’re more likely to quietly fade into the ether without a comment. Zeroing in on the middle ground will allow you to get the whole picture of how your firm is doing, instead of just focusing on the great or not-so-great experiences.
So, how do you learn your strengths and blind spots?
The virtue: ask for feedback — and be responsive when you get it
Ask for feedback at several points throughout your relationship. Don’t wait for your candidate to come to you with an issue (they probably won’t) or drop a brutal review months after your interaction (unfortunately, more than likely to happen!).
Investigate how their experience is going throughout the relationship. Nearly 68% of consumers leave a business review when asked. So be sure you’re asking your candidates how they’re feeling at every part of the journey.
Additionally, you can make this easy by sending a link to a short online feedback form. And, you can make it hard-to-miss by putting that link in your email signature and on your website. Then, when you get that valuable feedback, see it as a chance to learn and grow, instead of getting defensive or silent. Feedback is a gift — see it as one.
The sin: taking too long to get back to a candidate
Nothing will kill a candidate relationship faster than dawdling on a reply or letting their response drop to the bottom of your inbox. Think of it this way: while 17% of consumers would recommend a brand that provides a slow but effective solution, almost 33% would go with a brand that provides a quick but unhelpful response.
While we know your goal is to be fast and effective, your candidates actually care more about how quickly you reply to them — often above the actual content of your reply.
The virtue: regular check-ins
You already know you should be responding ASAP to your candidates, even if your response is that you don’t have the answer they need just yet. But what happens when your candidate is the one to go quiet? They aren’t always going to be proactive in letting you know when something is amiss, so make sure you check in.
To stay on top, look in on your candidates as frequently as you can. They’ll know you care about them, and you’ll feel more in control of the relationship.
The sin: giving unclear or inaccurate information
And while your candidates may value a quick reply, you don’t want to be so fast that you miss providing all the details they need to move forward. Passing along wrong or confusing information will frustrate your candidate.
If you do a quick Google search of recruiting firm job sites, you’ll see what we mean. Many recruiting job boards don’t even have the basics of the position listed, like salary or where the job is located.
And if your candidate is already going through the extra step of asking you for these details and getting back vague or inaccurate answers — they’ll start to look for another firm.
The virtue: clear, written info up front
Make it easy before they even get to you. Your site should have the job info readily searchable, with clear parameters. Above all, your candidates want to know where the job is, how much it pays, and how long the contract will be.
Look at this simple example from a healthcare staffing company, TotalMed:
Everything your candidate needs to know is already there. This means when you have the first intro call, you get more time to deepen your relationship and establish trust, instead of just reciting facts.
The sin: dropping off when the news isn’t good
It’s no secret that telling a candidate they didn’t get a job they wanted can be painful for both of you. Delivering and receiving bad news isn’t comfortable and emotions can run high. The last thing a candidate wants is a recruiter who goes into ghost mode when the going gets tough. Unemployment is stressful enough — don’t add to the stress by dropping out when your candidate needs your guidance the most.
The virtue: stay honest and communicative, through the whole relationship
Think of your relationship with your candidate as a marriage: you’ve committed to being in it through good and bad, no matter what happens. Staying in touch and being truthful, no matter the news, just makes you a good human, along with an empathetic recruiter.
But what’s more, your candidate — whether they get the job or not — may also become a future client or refer you to a friend. Successfully getting hired isn’t the only way a candidate feels warmly about you. When they think back on their experience, you want them to see that you were transparent and authentic, no matter the circumstances.
The sin: neglecting your online reviews
Sometimes recruiters feel so afraid of online reviews that they often just…pretend review sites don’t exist at all. You’ve seen multiple low-star reviews about businesses on a review site — and you’ve probably wondered: why isn’t the business doing anything about this? Don’t they know you’re Googling them?
And on the flip side, nearly 3 out of 4 consumers automatically trust a business if their reviews are positive. So your online reputation is crucial to the health of your business.
The virtue: monitor your reputation — everywhere
Staying on top of what people are saying about you online is critical to your success — not only so you can get ahead of any potential issues, but so you can take control of your story and reputation.
An online reputation management tool makes this dead simple for you. The tool catches potential problems before they snowball and allows you to generate feedback before candidates run to social media or review sites.
The sin: making the application process difficult and cumbersome
Picture this: your perfect candidate Googles their dream job and finds your recruiting site. Fantastic! But what happens once they click Apply? Does the button lead to a confusing, hard-to-read application? Is the application clunky on their phone? (Almost 61% of consumers have a better feeling about a brand when their mobile experience is seamless.)
Also, can they shoot you a quick text or call if they have questions? Do they know where to find your contact info? If not, your candidates might be clicking away before you even know their name.
The virtue: streamline the process
Take a look at other recruiting sites and see which application processes speak to you.
Applications that are brief, don’t feel tedious, and display beautifully across all platforms will stand out. So make sure your application process is as seamless as possible and optimized for mobile.
Additionally, think about enabling your business number for texting. Nearly 89% of consumers want to text a business over calling. Make sure your phone and email are plastered everywhere on your site so your candidate doesn’t have to dig.
The sin: dismissing your candidate’s needs and dreams
We all get burned out. You might have been recruiting so long that you’re stuck in a rut. You might start to treat your candidates as if they all have the same wants and goals. Sometimes you may just want to go down a checklist of questions and get through the interaction.
Unfortunately, when you let your candidates blend together, you lose out on the most valuable asset you have: your candidate’s story. If your candidate feels like they’re getting a one-size-fits-all-experience, they’re going to walk away feeling ignored and disrespected.
The virtue: The Golden Rule
Treat each candidate the way you would want to be treated. It’s a classic for a reason: you know how wonderful and special it feels to be listened to and seen as a person with genuine dreams and goals. As a recruiter, your #1 job is to help your candidate achieve those goals.
By making sure you’ve listened and understood what your candidate really wants, you’ll quickly build trust and form a warm relationship.
Interested in how to take more control of your reputation? Check out our Definitive Guide to Taking Control of Your Online Reputation