Given that this seems to be the story of the month I wanted to add my two cents worth.
I love reading and following Greg Savage (gregsavage.com.au). He has years of valuable experience and is generous in giving us all help in better managing and developing our businesses. Greg’s message is one that is also amplified by others in the industry. Notably, I have been to a couple of sessions run by various parties within the recruitment industry on just this topic.
To summarise in my words; “The recruitment industry must be aware that there is more to the development of their business than simply looking for clients. This is a candidate short market place in lots of areas. Meaning that there is and, I would suggest, has always been a need to nurture and look after candidates as much as clients.”
Quality candidates are what makes you stand out in a competitive market. There is nothing more frustrating than winning a brief only to find that you do not have any suitable candidates available. Your cupboard is bare. You may say that’s not a problem – just place a job add and they will come. Well, just how many times has this let you down and you have not been able to find a suitable candidate or even a candidate that is remotely suited your brief.
You need to look closely at how you treat your candidates. Not only when you place them in a position but also when they are not the chosen one. Always remember that they may not be right this time but if you treat them well all the time you will develop both a great experience for both of you as well as selfishly developing a ready talent pool.
Candidate experiences are important. Candidates are your bread and butter – your stock in trade; and more importantly they are often people in need. They are not looking at a new job just for the fun of it – they have needs. Understand their needs and develop your skills at mentoring – remember you have in-depth knowledge of the market and your clients and this can be a great tool for helping candidates.
There were a number of suggestions made as to how to ensure that all candidates (both successful and unsuccessful) have a good experience. The key message that I took away was its all about communication at all stages of the application and recruitment process.
Start with your job ad (if you need one) and ensure that this is well worded and precise so that the candidate can recognise if they are suitable, and most of all don’t forget the salary expectations. Don’t just regurgitate the last ad which was pretty much the same job – tailor it exactly to your brief.
Make the application process as simple as possible.
Recognise and communicate the receipt of the application the process that will then take place. If you will not be able to review the applications in a timely fashion let the candidate know the expectations and don’t just leave them hanging.
If the candidate is unsuccessful try to identify why they are not suitable and where possible let them know what is needed for any future application. Invite them to stay in touch and make sure you also stay in touch with them. Often just ensuring that they receive a newsletter / blog post sent directly to them shows you care.
And obviously when the candidate is successful you stay in touch to ensure that the job is as expected and monitor their settling in period. Often you can keep regular contact for example notes on birthdays, work anniversary or holiday periods. Touch points that will keep you in front of mind. You never know when they may become another valuable candidate or even a future client.
It all sounds time consuming but there are technology solutions that will assist this communication process and allow you to keep on top of your communications and your diary.
We use Job Adder to track it all. Then add on Represend and you have an ability to monitor the resumes you have sent to clients allowing you to follow-up your client on a timely basis without wasting valuable time on unproductive calls. This in turn ensures that you can communicate with your candidates to let them know the status of their application. In the current market it is important to ensure that your candidates are engaged in the process and don’t become ghosts. Use the tools available to ensure that you maximise your productive time with candidates and clients.
Here’s to good communicating one and all.