Relationship building between candidates and companies is an ever-evolving process, especially in our digitally connected, hyper-competitive world.
“Rather than multiple candidates vying for positions because of limited availability, we now have a surplus of positions opening up and not enough candidates to fill them,” according to Recruiting.com.
To this end, talent acquisition professionals may need a more intimate candidate-courting process in order to appeal to in-demand candidates and maintain a competitive advantage.
Modelling top relationship-building “dos and don’ts” from the four experienced recruiters quoted, hereto, may help deepen your reputation for trust, reliability and overall brand quality. As a result, you may anticipate an uptick in your value proposition with both your candidates and client companies alike.
1. Collaborate With the Candidate
“Truly understand what the candidate is looking for in their next career,” says Darryl Dioso, Managing Partner/Recruiter, Resource Management Solutions Group. For example, “If they must have a shorter commute, come to them with opportunities that satisfy that need.”
Shelly Goldman, National Sales + IT Executive Recruiter / Talent Acquisition Consultant, extends Dioso’s sentiment to scenarios where a candidate is not yet ready to make the career move. Show acceptance by behaving in an “understanding, patient and respectful” manner, she advises. Doing so maintains a positive relationship and paves the way for potential future opportunities.
2. Involve Hiring Managers & Leaders
“[Recruiters] tend to accept that the hiring teams and company leadership will enter into the hiring process for interviews, leaving the rest of the process to the recruitment team,” states Bill McCabe, National Manager, Talent Acquisition, Polyglass USA, Inc.
However, this hands-off method is not advisable; instead, McCabe suggests “proactively targeting the industry’s best talent by including managers and leaders. Build a CRM-style pipeline list and involve the C-suite in reaching out to these all-stars so they understand your organization is very serious about bringing career opportunities to them as opposed to scripted ‘check-ins’ from the same HR resource.”
3. Act as a Consultant
Listen, ask relevant questions, guide and advise. Be a “true partner and talent acquisition consultant,” says, Goldman. Learn how to best sell your culture and explain short-term and long-term goals. Become a positive face of your company.
4. Share Details
Information sharing is another best practice that can deepen trust with the candidate while building the company’s (and recruiter’s) value proposition. Supplement insights about the position with knowledge about the “hiring organization’s history, culture and future growth plans and/or challenges,” suggests Goldman.
Not only will you better attract and retain right-fit candidates, but you also offer an opt-out opportunity for candidates if they discover they do not fit the culture or are not enthused about the particular challenges looming ahead.
5. Be Honest & Human
“Help candidates with advice, tips or even just a sympathetic ear when you know they are not a fit,” encourages Dioso. “Being honest and helpful is not just good karma, but the candidate will remember you when they do finally land their dream job.”
“If the employer has some hurdles in terms of leadership changes, lost accounts/clients, some blemishes they are trying to fix, be honest with the candidate. Tell them the good and the bad so they can judge for themselves and know what they are getting into. Let’s make telling the truth the norm,” emphasizes Jennifer Spencer, Owner/Recruiter at The Spencer Group, Inc.
Similarly, be transparent with the hiring team.
“If your candidate has some interesting movement, life situations, etc., tell the employer upfront so it can be dealt with in the beginning. If you wait and tell them later, it looks like you are hiding something,” concludes Spencer.
6. Help Candidates Prep
In many instances, it’s been a while — several years or more — since a candidate has been on the receiving end of a job interview. A strong recruiter will guide the candidate through a role-playing and/or strategy session in advance of the meeting.
“Doing so can really help the candidate and hiring company have a more productive and meaningful meeting and may help the candidate manage extra stress they feel about the upcoming interview,” says Goldman.
7. Communicate Thoroughly
“Don’t fall off the face of the earth,” asserts Goldman.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is a golden rule that particularly applies to the post-interview phase of recruiting, where stories of candidates adrift in the black hole of no-follow-ups are too common.
“Always follow up and follow through!” emphasizes Spencer. “In an age where ‘ghosting’ is unfortunately more common than ever, a recruiter who follows up is in a league of their own.”
“Communication is key even if it’s a difficult conversation. Candidates and employers alike will appreciate the follow-up and follow-through. It shows you are professional, and more importantly, that you care,” continues Spencer.
Defaulting to text or email may seem easiest, but communicating more meaningfully can add value. “In this digital-driven environment, never forget the power of relationship-building by talking with someone directly,” explains Goldman.
On the hiring team's side, the recruiter must “deliver on what’s promised and keep [them] informed on recruitment activities via status updates,” adds Goldman. And, continue working once the candidate is hired, following up with the team to confirm satisfaction.
8. Bottom Line: Value Candidates
“Show respect and let candidates know they are valued,” urges Goldman.
And, similarly, demonstrating respect and insightfulness to the hiring team's needs also bodes well toward a sustainably productive relationship.
1. Don’t Oversell Candidates
“If you want to build credibility with hiring teams and leaders, do not ‘oversell’ candidates,” urges McCabe. “Openly discuss the gaps and deficiencies with the manager and counsel them as to why they are still a fit because of their development areas, not despite them.”
“The best candidates need to grow into a role and because they are learning something new every day, they will stay energized and highly engaged. Don’t ‘hide’ their flaws,” concludes McCabe.
2. Don’t Overextend Yourself
Companies in the throes of hiring generally are experiencing various levels of pain wrought from organizational growth and change, the resignation or sacking of an employee or some other scenario that leaves them hobbled by insufficient staffing or leadership talent. Their needs are specific, aimed at fulfilling particular personality and performance requirements, among other wishes.
As such, Goldman advises, “Do not accept recruitment projects if you do not feel confident about your ability to meet [their] needs.”
3. Don’t Under-Deliver
You should “not present candidates that are not qualified,” says Goldman.
While McCabe makes a good point about CV gaps converting into development opportunities, a successful recruiter knows how to decipher and articulate the difference between development opportunities and those candidates who simply are not qualified.
And, lastly, Goldman shares a final, standalone recruiter don’t that requires no explanation:
4. Don't Endorse a Candidate Without Knowing Their Salary Requirements