What Recruiters Would Like Candidates to Know

Yesterday I wrote a blog post from the job seekers’ point of view. This post discussed the many pain points that seekers deal with during their job hunt. They hoped that bringing these points to light might allow recruiters to understand and find ways to make the candidate experience better. Also in that post, I promised that I would allow recruiters to have their side of the story told. Being that I’ve done internal recruiting as well as recruiting for staffing agencies, I’m well aware that recruiters also have their pain points during the job-filling process. Today’s post will highlight some of the highly noted issues in hopes of allowing candidates to understand that side of the process.

Being surrounded by recruiters day in and day out made it easy for me to learn some of the main issues they wished that candidates knew. Some of these points are as follows:

From the moment they start the day to the moment they leave, recruiters are swamped. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a recruiter have a “light” day. Phones are constantly ringing off the hook, e-mails are flooding in, daily status meetings interrupt the day, and screening candidates is time consuming. For most recruiters, this is their day-to-day. Basically, they do the job that could truly require the help of three people. With all those disruptions occurring, it can take a bit longer for them to pull your resume and review it.

• They are not purposely ignoring you, nor have they forgotten about you. As you can see above, recruiters are trying to do as much as they possibly can. You are on their “contact back” list as soon as they get a moment to do so. With that being said, it is not necessary to call and e-mail them multiple times a day. This just adds more to their already overwhelming work-load. It is perfectly fine to touch base with a recruiter but, please, keep your communications reasonable. Filling a job opening doesn’t happen over-night.

They’re not purposely withholding information. Sometimes getting information from a hiring manager or a client can be like pulling teeth. Additionally, sometimes the hiring manager or clients have no idea what they’re looking for which can hold-up the process further. Recruiters try to give you as much information as they could possibly obtain, but sometimes that might not be a whole lot. I’m sure they also wish that they had that information to help them place candidates better!

• They would love to provide useful feedback. But unfortunately, sometimes they can’t. Trust me; your recruiter is empathetic of your situation. They would love to give you the reasons why you weren’t hired (if they knew the reasons). They also would love to give you advice on how to make your chances better next time. However, most of the time recruiters cannot give this feedback because of potential legal reasons. They do not want to put themselves or their company in the way of a lawsuit because their innocent feedback was misunderstood.

• Job openings don’t always get filled right away. Sometimes, jobs can be open for several months and the hiring process can become a grueling one if the hiring manager keeps changing the criteria or just generally doesn’t know what he/she wants. In addition to that, sometimes job openings might not actually be open yet. Hiring managers create these postings to find a pool of qualified candidates so when it finally does become available, the candidates are set and ready to go. This means that your resume could sit in the “Under Review” status for several weeks or even months.

Job seekers, just like you wish recruiters could understand your side of the story; they want you to understand theirs. Recruiting isn’t easy and challenges arise on a regular basis which can cause stalls or setbacks. I know that it’s hard to be patient if you’re jobless and are fighting hard for stable work. You must believe me that majority of them are trying as hard as they can. Sometimes, though, the end result is out of their hands. The best that you can do is to give them as much detail as possible so they can determine the ideal job to place you in. Also, practice your patience as much as you can. And remember: they’re fighting for you!

All Candidates Should Receive the Same Customer Service

Recruiters and hiring managers- I get it. I know you are completely swamped with resumes and applications. I understand that your inbox is full and your phone is ringing off the hook. Dead-lines to fill positions are adding to the pressure. I wouldn’t be surprised if you left the office at the end of the day mentally fried. I’ve been there before, so I know that recruiting isn’t easy most days. However, you have to remember that these candidates are considered your “customers” and your customer service could make or break the company.

At one point in your life, I’m sure you’ve worked in some sort of job that involved customer service (after-school jobs in high school ring any bells?). You are trained in those positions to be customer centric, to promptly answer customers, and to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that their experience at the business was a good one. This type of service should be transferred over to your job role as a recruiter because these candidates probably applied to your company because they knew about it before. Maybe they’ve done business with you in the past perhaps? I’m pretty sure the manager of your old high school job would have had a fit if he knew you didn’t respond to a customer’s needs. So, why would you do it to your candidates?

After speaking to individuals who are painstakingly looking for employment and also being in the job market myself, there is one thing we all seem to be frustrated with across the board- the service we receive during the application process (or lack of service). Like I said earlier, I know that all of you are drowning in applications but even the simplest of gestures will go a long way. For example, have a template e-mail set up to reject candidates you aren’t going to move forward with. Not only will candidates get some closure on the status of their application, but you could reduce the amount of phone calls and e-mails you receive from candidates to get a status update. Win-win?

Most candidates who are actively seeking a job are looking for any little snippet of advice to help them better their chances at gaining employment. I would love to see more recruiters and hiring managers take the time to actually give a simple reason to their rejected candidates. Obviously, I know we have to be careful on what we say due to all those fun legal issues but provide something that won’t have people screaming from their soapbox about unfair hiring practices. One example that comes to mind is maybe letting a candidate know they don’t have the computer experience that the job requires and suggesting a place to go to get it. If a job rejected me because I didn’t have Excel experience and they told me how to get that knowledge, you bet I’ll take advantage of that. Not to mention, I’d respect the company for giving me some guidance through the grueling process of finding a job. We just want to be treated like people, not like the discarded resume in your wastebasket.

Recruiting should be more than just sorting through a pile of resumes and picking a few good people. It should be about relationship building and company branding. If a candidate (even a rejected one) has a good experience through the application process, then they will have an overall good feeling about the company. I’m sure you’ve all heard that referrals are one of the most effective marketing tools. Well, with all the technology and social media giving instant and accessible information, consider referrals in this day-and-age to be on steroids. Websites could let candidates and customers know about the positives and negatives of doing business with a company; either as a consumer, partner, or candidate. Recruiters: don’t be the one that ruins the company’s reputation!

I mentioned earlier that the reason why someone may have applied to your company is because they’ve already known something about your company. This candidate could have been a loyal customer or have done B2B with you in the past. Do you want to ruin that relationship because of poor communication and customer service? Even if they aren’t currently doing business with you, they could potentially be a customer or provide a referral to others in the future. Any type of contact a person has with your company is crucial when it comes to obtaining or retaining business. Just because you work in a “human resources” based role doesn’t mean providing good service is out of your “job description.” All employees of the company represent what the company is about, even you.

So remember, the application process is more than just sifting through resumes. It is also a representation of the employees of the company. Not many people would want to work for a company if it seems like the employees are trained to be rude, have a lack of empathy, or seem to be non-existent because they give no response. Eventually word will get out that being employed there probably isn’t that great based on a candidate’s experience and pretty soon you won’t have to worry about an abundance of resumes to look through…. Because no one will be applying.