Recruiters today wear many hats. Not only do they find the talent their organizations need to operate sustainably, but also identify the individuals who show the promise to be great leaders in the future. As a result, recruiters are key to helping the company achieve competitive advantage and ensuring ongoing success. But aside from the contributions to the company overall, recruiters must also excel at customer service.
When it comes down to it, recruiting is essentially a customer service function, with the customers being line managers (to whom recruiters supply talent with the needed skills and abilities) and candidates (for whom they are often the only contact within the companies to which they applied).
While the transactions between recruiter and line manager are considered a part of doing business, the service provided to the candidate is so much more. As candidates put their career aspirations in the hands of recruiters, they should be given a high level of customer service throughout the process, no matter what the outcome is. The problem arises when recruiters get bogged down with the volume of candidates they must consider — it makes it very difficult to focus on the individual.
Believe it or not, the issues stem from the fact that recruiters are often too good at what they do, at least in terms of recruiting from the business perspective, by delivering right-fit candidates to the organization. Though candidates want to know more about where they are in the process, and whether they’re still under consideration, sometimes this information is not communicated, because the process and efficiency are prioritized over serving external customers.
To avoid this mentality, it is important to view the process from the candidates’ perspective. As revealed in the research from the 2013 Candidate Experience (CandE) Awards, candidates often spend between 30 and 45 minutes applying to a job, but never receive any feedback or updates from the recruiter. Candidates appreciate when recruiters invest some of their own time back in their customers, providing updates about their status, letting them know if they are no longer being considered and sharing insight on how they can improve their skills.
Though some recruiters feel that they have so many candidates it doesn’t matter how they treat them, such an attitude will definitely impact the service they provide and cause a decrease in the number of qualified candidates who apply. As the CandEs research discovered, two-thirds of candidates who had a negative experience wouldn’t refer others to apply to the company.
So, how can recruiters put the focus on candidates while also serving the needs of their organizations? There are two main things. First, the recruiting process provides numerous opportunities to engage with candidates in a more personal manner, whether sharing videos that give more information about the company, inviting candidates to join the mailing list or an upcoming company event, or even making automated messages more personal to create greater personal connections. Reaching out to candidates with these methods will provide a more personal and engaging experience. The second thing is to keep promises. If recruiters tell candidates that they will get back to them, they should follow through on that promise.
Although great strides have been made in the recruiting function, enabling recruiters to automate, streamline and find new efficiencies, it’s important to serve both the internal and external customers — the company’s hiring managers as well as the individuals who apply to join the company. By following the steps outlined above, recruiters have the power to create a more engaging and rewarding candidate experience. By remaining focused on the candidate, they can help give their organizations a significant advantage in attracting — and retaining — top talent.