We are living and working in a technologically driven world – people accept this today. We haven’t quite achieved the paperless office once dreamt about however technology forms part of our everyday lives now. Technology has advanced so very quickly over the last decade considering it is still (relatively speaking) in its infancy. Today we manage our daily lives on-line – Personal banking, social networking, listening to music, watching videos, sharing photos, buying and selling goods and services, communicating across the world and much more.
Candidates have been applying for jobs on-line for at least the last decade, this isn’t exactly new and most candidates are now used to applying through the ‘high street’ job boards, or completing an application on-line. In the last couple of years we have started to see a dramatic increase in the number of candidates applying for jobs via their mobile phones. We can expect to see more and more candidates searching for jobs in their spare time, lunch breaks or on their commute to and from work. However, what has all this technology done for the recruitment process, the perception of the recruiter and the candidate often stuck in the middle.
Candidate verses technology
Ironically candidates have got lost in the Applicant Tracking Systems. Let’s not immediately place all the blame or responsibility on the recruiter they are often managing high volumes of vacancies and even higher numbers of applications. Having an automated process is thoroughly sensible and makes good business sense. Recruiters also have to work very quickly – particularly if they know the vacancy has been blasted out to other recruitment agencies. Again having a sophisticated recruitment databases that screens CVs in seconds using keywords is an advantage in business.
So where does this leave the candidate?
Candidates tend to accept that in our modern world when applying for a vacancy it’s highly likely they won’t hear back. However, is it actually fair that candidates have to put in so much time and effort to ensure every single application, cover letter and CV is specifically tailored to each job and then after all that work there’s not even an acknowledgement.
Even after an interview, candidates don’t seem to get the quality of feedback they deserve – after all they’ve probably researched the company, prepared some specific examples and achievements to share with the interviewer and prepared some questions to ask them about the job and the organisation. Do employers and recruiters not appreciate or understand this is damaging to the organisation’s reputation if they don’t manage their candidates (potential employees) properly. Candidates don’t just talk about their poor experience anymore they share on social media, they update their Facebook status, they share on Glassdoor, or tweet about it.
What do candidates want?
As this year is set to be the year of the candidate (at last) – we should be taking the time to find out what candidates really want. We’re not necessarily just talking about what they want from a job. Recruiters should already know what candidates typically want from a job and the fundamentals haven’t really changed much – career development and training, job satisfaction, competitive salary and generous benefits etc.
During the recession generally candidates were not managed properly through the interview process. Some evidence suggests they were not treated very well at all – calls not returned, emails not answered, little to no feedback even after an interview. Most candidates are now aware recruitment agencies “work” for the client however it’s still a lame excuse to mismanage a candidate (given they could end up as your client one day) because they are not directly paying for the service. If the recruiter had no candidates they wouldn’t have a client.
It’s not just the candidate who has to make a good first impression these days. It’s the responsibility of the recruiter (whoever that happens to be in the organisation) to present a compelling story about the company. The way a candidate is managed throughout the interview process makes a huge difference about their opinion of the company.
Undercover Recruiter reported that 9 out of 10 professionals said that having a good interview experience had the potential to change their mind about a job or company that they previously had doubts about.
Regardless of the outcome recruiters should ensure every single candidate has a good experience, is treated fairly and objectively.
We understand and appreciate recruiters on agency side have tough KPIs and revenue generating targets. However, let’s not forget the huge return on investment when recruiters think about the bigger picture. Building long term strong client and candidate relationships is proven to drive sales. It builds trust, credibility and loyalty. Most businesses are aware these days that it’s more cost effective to retain clients than gain new ones and that’s why it’s important that recruiters focus on building those strong long term client relationships rather than focus on the money short term. As talent is becoming more and more difficult to find and then manage it makes good commercial sense to also build strong relationships with candidates and therefore, create engaged talent pools.
“People may forget what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
What are your favorite tips and tricks when it comes to recruiters relationships? Share here so we can all give them a whirl!