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Why and how recruiters can add real value

Why and how recruiters can add real value

During the talent acquisition process the Recruiter, Employer and Candidate experience can be a great one. This article lists 11 key areas that help to create a win : win : win.

Twice in the space of 2 days I’ve had some great feedback about recruiters – each from 2 different candidates, for 2 different recruiters from 2 different recruitment companies.

But then yesterday – I had the opposite. Oops!

So what’s the common theme?

The predominant feedback I get from candidates is that timely, honest and constructive communication really matters. A lack of communication from internal and external recruiters, irrelevant – and often misdirected responses, automated responses that are just plain transactional, or no response at all creates a bad impression. Just tell it the way it is.

Putting the coms part aside, the recruitment process itself is next on the list. If HR are doing their job, there’s really no excuse for a poor recruitment process and solid relationship management by any of the participants. And candidates, you’re included.

What’s causing the issue?

A raft of things. Clearly there’s the potential for disappointment on all sides. But over the last 20 years recruiters have seen their businesses eroded and their fees reduced by procurement managers, employers and online channels. Clearly there has to be an impact on the breadth and depth of recruitment and service delivery. Yet in most cases the expectation from employers and candidates around service delivery has remained the same.

Job searchers and employers have more options. On the flip side recruiters have more advanced technology and greater access to local and global talent. But job boards and e-mail have increased volume and reduced quality. The whole thing seems to be becoming more and more transactional.

So something had to give!

I’m certainly not arguing that change didn’t have to happen within the recruitment profession. And fees have to reflect the market. But at what cost? And what are the tradable’s and non tradable’s?

The reality is that the recruiters service offering has been diminished in some areas, and has had to transformationally change in others. Ownership of data, candidates and opportunities for candidates is no longer a value proposition.

Disintermediation

With the advent of career sites and other online talent acquisition channels such as job boards and LinkedIn recruiters saw their stranglehold on talent databases rapidly diminish, and with it – for some, their sole differentiator. Nobody ‘owns’ talent data anymore. Least of all recruiters. I remember in one recruitment agency’s case they claimed over 1000,000 registered candidates on their database. That claim to fame is no longer relevant and I hope deleted from their proposals.

And candidates have more power than ever before. They have access to more networking and online tools that assist them to find the right role with the right company – and they’re for the most part free. So employers need to make sure they don’t loose applicants along the way because of shoddy processes. Some ATS configurations actually do more harm than good – damaging the employer brand. So the employers are potentially cannibalising their own brand through poor use of technology and poor process. I saw that recently with a very senior candidate and a well known NZ cloud computing company.

We’ve become more transactional

A recruiters job can be like herding cats – not too dissimilar to this video – EDS ad. Have a look at it.  Sometimes those cats (read candidates and employers) are all soft and fluffy – and ‘just lovely’. Other times those cats have very sharp claws, they bite, have short memories, and are completely unpredictable. But is that just an excuse for poor performance, from any of the related parties? After-all – that’s a recruiters job.

How can we make it right?

Each participant in the recruitment process – Recruiter, Candidate and Employer must consider their role as symbiotic. Each must work together constructively – and look after each other. You don’t exist in isolation. And before you cast any blame, take the time to assess how you have contributed. Communication, transparency and honesty are in my view non tradable’s. Start working together and you’ve hit the trifecta.

So here’s my take on how the 3-way relationship of the Recruiter, the Candidate and the Employer should work.

Question: Can you spot the difference between the following participants?

A recruiter who adds value does these things:

  • They acknowledge communications, return calls and reply to e-mails (I’m not talking about the automated e-mail message!)
  • They meet candidates face to face – even if it’s just for a 15 minute chat.
  • They take the time to understand candidate requirements – drivers, motivators
  • They focus on the skills and experience – not just the last role
  • They recognise that the previous salary is only indicative and is totally related to the previous organisation
  • They don’t lie or embellish
  • They act with honesty and integrity
  • They share information in a timely manner
  • They know their market, challenges, salaries
  • They are prepared to say (and accept) “No” with good grace and provide constructive feedback
  • They follow up with the candidates and employers regularly post placement

Now – compare the above list with this one…

A candidate who adds value does these things:

  • They acknowledge communications, return calls and reply to e-mails (I’m not talking about the automated e-mail message – e.g. out of office!)
  • They meet recruiters face to face – even if it’s just for a 15 minute chat.
  • They take the time to understand the role requirements – drivers, motivators of the employer.
  • They focus on the skills and experience required for the new role – not just their last role.
  • They recognise that their previous salary is only indicative and is totally related to the previous organisation – over paid or under paid, or about right?
  • They don’t lie or embellish.
  • They act with honesty and integrity.
  • They share information in a timely manner.
  • They know their market, challenges, salaries.
  • They are prepared to say (and accept) “No” with good grace and provide constructive feedback.
  • They follow up with the recruiters regularly post placement

 

An employer who adds value does these things:

  • They acknowledge communications, return calls and reply to e-mails (I’m not talking about the automated e-mail message – e.g. out of office!)
  • They meet recruiters and candidates face to face – even if it’s just for a 15 minute chat.
  • They take the time to understand the candidates requirements – drivers, motivators and career path.
  • They focus on the skills and experience required for the new role – not just the last role of the candidate.
  • They recognise that their previous salary is only indicative and is totally related to the previous organisation – over paid or under paid, or about right?
  • They don’t lie or embellish.
  • They act with honesty and integrity.
  • They share information in a timely manner.
  • They know their business – market, challenges, salaries.
  • They are prepared to say (and accept) “No” with good grace and provide constructive feedback.
  • They follow up with the recruiters and appointments regularly post placement

So whats the difference?

Answer: There isn’t much of a difference at all!

So it’s your choice. As far as I can see, if everyone follows at least these basic rules, we all get on, and we have no reason to complain – just a recognition that we all need to work together effectively to be more successful. Each party needs to take ownership and responsibility for their end of the process.

To close…

Candidates; know that you will inevitably at some point be disappointed. There’s usually only one successful candidate for each role. You can learn from the experience or you can throw a tantrum and blame the recruiter and/or hiring manager.

Recruiters and employers; survey your candidates for process satisfaction regularly. Are you seeing a common theme? Don’t just wait for the 2016 SARA Recruiter Awards before you reach out! It’s a small town and word gets around.

Just to finish off… Some light hearted video content for you. Click here

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