Candidate Care – do you value your currency??

Candidates are the currency of any good recruiter. We get paid by a client when we deliver a great candidate, and let’s not forget that today’s candidates become tomorrow’s clients.

We need clients, yes, but then clients can also brief any number of recruiters…it’s the recruiters with the best candidates, the strongest community, who will ultimately deliver.

Yet most candidates you speak to have a common complaint…no feedback, I blogged about it here and it is something that arises every day, whenever I speak to a candidate about how they are finding the job market.

I was at a family party this weekend and spoke to a relative – he’s 25 and finding the job market tough at the moment. I asked what his biggest problem was and he said:

‘I never hear anything. I check the job ads online, look on agency websites, I see jobs that look right for me and I send my CV with a note, trying to show how my experience relates to what they say they are looking for. And I hear nothing.

You’re in recruitment…why do they do it? All I want is a call, e-mail even, just to let me know that they’ve got my CV and that I’m not right for the role. It would also be great if they could just tell me why I wasn’t right for the role’

It’s embarrassing. I don’t know why recruiters do it, why their managers and directors incentivise them in such a way that they see no value in taking care of their currency…of the people who will ultimately deliver their fees, and who will be their next clients.

Where I work we took steps many months ago to make sure that this didn’t happen. We’re a values based business and we value our candidates – the people who will be our ambassadors in the market, who will deliver future fees, both as candidates and clients.

We put our money where our mouth is…we set up a Candidate Care Team. That’s right recruiters, a team without targets, metrics, KPIs, sales…a team whose raison d’être is purely to ensure that EVERY candidate who contacts us gets a personal, informed, consultative service, that makes them feel VALUED.

It’s quite simple really…every single candidate who applies for a role gets a call, either from a consultant or the Candidate Care Team. That team can easily pass a CV straight back to the consultants and say ‘this person’s great, you need to see them’. We’ve been going a month and we’ve already placed candidates who the CCT team have picked up on…candidates who we could easily have overlooked without them.

Candidates who we know our competitors are not even bothering to call!

What they are doing is helping to build our community…making sure that candidates know we care, and we can deliver.

And it works! So is anyone else going to do it?? I can see the head scratching now…a team of people who aren’t targeted to produce fees, but who do! You can’t measure them…a lot of their time is spent on calls that may help develop relationships but from which there is no immediate ROI.

Who’s up for this challenge??

Are there any recruitment companies out there willing to create a team, in a recession, to talk to candidates who they can’t immediately place?

Willing to invest in their future?

Incentivising Tomorrow’s Recruiters – its Feedback, not Fees

Historically we have always seen 3rd party recruitment as a sales business. We employ recruiters who are rewarded for their ability to open doors and sell to clients and to place as many people as they can…irrespective of how they do it, and of what experience they deliver to their clients and candidates.  

Social media is beginning to change that…whether on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, recruiters now have a relationship with their candidates and clients which is both visible and transparent.

New articles and blogs appear on a daily basis foreseeing the end of traditional recruitment as we know it. Certain themes about the future landscape are showing through, with the clear messages that, post recession, there will be a need to develop deeper, more collaborative relationships with clients, and to pay more attention to building and engaging your candidate community, specifically the ‘Talent Puddle’, the top 10%, if you like, of that community.

Certainly the HR and Recruiting directors that I speak to (and as an HR recruiter I speak to a lot of them, as clients and candidates) are looking for something different from 3rd party recruiters in future.


How do you nurture your ’talent puddle’ if you’re only remunerated on placements?

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I hate being sold to. If my career, and possibly the future income and stability of myself and my family, were at stake I know that I wouldn’t want to be sold to. Nor would I want think that the person who was advising and helping me was thinking of their bonus cheque and how I could add to it.

I would be much more comfortable, much more trusting, if I knew that their main motivation was in developing a long term relationship with me, and not how much they could make out of me.


Can you develop deep relationships with a bonus model based purely on rewarding sales?

And if I was a hiring manager, looking to build my team and fill some key positions, with a tight recruitment budget, and knowing that my neck was on the block if I screwed up in the hiring, well I wouldn’t want to be sold to either. Certainly I wouldn’t want to be relying on a recruiter who was only looking at how many fees they could get out of me.

I would certainly be much happier, much more trusting, if I knew that their main motivation, again, was in developing a long term relationship with me, and not how much they could make out of me.


How do you incentivise relationship building and service?

Difficult, isn’t it.

After spending many years as a 3rd party recruiter, including nearly 10 placing recruiters, I’m not sure that we’ve ever found a successful way of rewarding RELATIONSHIPS and SERVICE. We still look at volumes and values of placements, and usually still measure activity by volume. Great recruiters are defined by how much they bill, not by how valued their service is.


So how about using feedback as a measure?

Instead of paying your top recruiter by how many placements they make next quarter, try taking feedback from their candidates and clients on how they performed, and on what kind of service they provided? Did it meet or exceed expectation? And did they add real value to the process?

I think you may find surprising results.

Firstly from candidates and clients, who will now have some real input in what will become a true two way relationship, it will bring them closer and give them the opportunity to reflect and comment on your service in a transparent way.

And secondly from your recruiters, who will now be able to invest time and energy in really developing the service to their candidates and clients, taking time to nurture relationships, build their communities, find out what they really want, and create ways to deliver a real value added service. One that they can be proud of.

Who’s up for that challenge??