The importance of communication in recruitment
I recently spoke to a candidate who had asked me to call her as she was leaving the office at 7:30 pm. This seemed to be the norm, and she was unable to speak at all during the day due to her busy caseload and packed diary.
This is not an uncommon occurrence for me when I’m discussing potential opportunities with candidates. My working hours have moved to accommodate this new trend, as I find myself having catch ups and talking about roles well into the evening or at weekends when candidates can speak freely about what they are looking for next.
The way people are finding new jobs has changed massively over the last 10 years since I started out as a recruiter. In 2009, where job boards ruled the roost, the process seemed to move much more quickly, and clients often seemed to make decisions based on a first interview. Candidates would use lunch breaks to chat to agencies and spend weekends looking for roles online.
As the world has developed, and technology has changed processes, time spent communicating one-on-one has become much more valuable.
For me, this means making sure the time and types of communication I use work for my clients and candidates. It’s no good trying to speak to someone who can’t talk at work or calling a client who is in a meeting. As an agency, we pride ourselves on putting the clients and candidates first, so it’s key to speak when it works for them.
It is also part of my job to be clear with my clients about time limits, expectations, and resources, so it’s important to talk to them as soon as possible about the role they want to recruit for. Only by having a frank and open channel of communication, can I successfully place the right candidate for them.
With clients, I advise them to let me know as soon as they are thinking about recruiting for a role, and I try to get some time in the diary to have a discussion about what the firm wants and needs, and what it can offer new recruits. If a phone call doesn’t suffice, I will send an email outlining everything I need and explain the importance. Only when I have a clear idea of what my client needs can I deliver it.
For candidates, I am flexible and honest, and always timely. I’ve heard too many horror stories about how frustrating it is for candidates to not hear back for such a long time if it all. I want them to know, as an agency, we operate differently. We always try to accommodate people and will always treat them as an individual and with respect. If you didn’t get the job, we’ll be the ones to let you know. Similarly, we want to be the ones delivering the good news if you did. That’s the best part of our job!
In 2009, communication may have been quicker but I’m doubtful that it was better. By putting so much focus on getting to know both my candidates and clients, it allows me to build a relationship that works for us both. It is a relationship built on trust, transparency, honesty and clarity.
And by putting that effort into the relationship, by being peers, and colleagues and partners in this, they might just find it in their hearts to pick up the phone at 1 pm on a Wednesday when I need them to!