First, excuse me if this sounds like a rant coming from the other side of the table. It’s not. My hope is that these are reminders about what you already know, and that they offer a perspective that you have not heard.
As a professional who assists and advises clients in their career marketing and search activities, though, I do hear a lot about some of the treatment they receive from recruiters. If you want to really feel some of that heat, attend one of my seminars that attract up to 30 people in a session. When we get to the topic of following up on inquiries and after interviews, the intensity and the volume both rise to a higher level. Here is the question that stirs the emotions of attendees:
The recruiter told me that I would hear something within two weeks, but it’s been a month. What should I do?
The question itself is simple enough, but the reaction it gets from others is powerful. There is a universal loathing for perceived fib-telling and forgetful recruiters, whether they are staff recruiters for a hiring company or third-party pros sourcing candidates for their clients. The howls of frustration are tough to hear and there isn’t much to say other than, “It’s unfortunate, but it happens.”
So what’s the difference? Why should the recruiter care? As if doing the right thing isn’t enough, it comes down to the impact on the employer’s brand. Whether a recruiter is an employee of the hiring company or with an outside firm, both have the power to enhance or damage the brand. This may be more true in consumer-oriented companies that might alienate a customer with shoddy recruiting practices, but it’s not limited to them. Even if the organization sells helicopters to the Chilean army, it still has a reputation to maintain. Every marketing dollar is precious, so why behave in a way that diminishes yours or your client’s credibility?
If you don’t think that people talk and share their experiences, head over to Glassdoor.com to see a concentrated sampling of stories told by happy and unhappy job seekers. Candidates treated with respect with a clear, consistent and fair process will give credit as it is deserved. Those who get something less will take full advantage to scream from atop their digital soap boxes.
Here are a few ideas that can help make everyone’s lives easier:
- If you say that you will call back with a decision or next steps by a certain date, do it. Even if the decision has not been finalized by the deadline, an update with a new due date will be appreciated.
- Shoot straight. If the answer is no, then say it. Your candidate will appreciate the opportunity to cross the possibility off the list and to stop thinking about it.
- Set expectations at every touch-point and deliver. If your candidate is traveling, be sure that the details are addressed. If you made the appointment for 10 AM, don’t leave the candidate stewing in the lobby until 11.
- Hold your peers accountable to do the same. Set the example and expect them to follow.
The extra attention and energy committed to treating candidates the way that you would want to be treated will pay off. And hey, you will probably be on the other side of the table someday, too. Pay it forward, recruiter!