I thought about calling this article “Help Us Help You” or “How to Be a Great Client”, but that sounded a little pushy… So we’re going with “Maximizing Your Recruiting Success”.
I’ll put the TLDR up front: Success in finding and closing great candidates comes down to Communication and Process Ownership by the client.
We’ve been doing this a long time, from both inside (as employees) and outside (as vendors) of all types of companies. There are very clear patterns that emerge when thinking about projects that are both successful and enjoyable for all to work on (client, candidate, recruiting firm). There are also obvious patterns we see on projects that fail or are difficult to manage and result in a bad candidate experience…
It has nothing to do with industry, market share, size, resources, amenities, or anything like that. It has absolutely everything to do with the approach that the hiring manager takes to the hiring process.
Let’s look at 2 hypothetical experiences and guess which one results in higher all-around satisfaction and success:
The hiring manager (client) goes into the process expecting to be “served” results without being an active participant. They take a hands-off approach to the process, and it shows.
- They are difficult to reach on the phone or via email, and scheduling is a challenge. Maybe they delegate all contact to someone else who is not a decisionmaker.
- They provide little direction outside of a basic job description, essentially requiring an interrogation from the recruiter just to get a full picture of the need and process.
- Resume and interview feedback takes several days or requires a reminder and tends to be limited to yes/no or is vague enough to require consistent follow-up to be actionable.
- They consider the recruiter as the go-between for all candidate interaction throughout the entire hiring process.
The hiring manager goes into the process as the leader of the recruiting project and sees the recruiting firm (or internal recruiter) as a key partner in an important project. This hiring manager is focused on being an active participant in the process, knowing that the results will only be as good as the feedback and effort they put in.
- They ensure that all process participants are working as a team.
- They make time for the recruiter and provide clear objectives and criteria by which they will be assessing candidates.
- They provide detailed feedback on candidates so that the recruiter can also give good feedback and course-correct to find the right candidates.
- They are proactive about being available to and initiating direct contact with successful candidates throughout the process. They keep the recruiter in the loop on these interactions, but also understand that they’re developing a relationship with a future team member and try to build a rapport.
In case it’s not obvious, scenario 1 is usually a nightmare for everyone involved. Lack of communication and lack of ownership are like candidate repellent. Delayed feedback sends the message that this isn’t very important. It also paints a picture for the candidate of what it’s like to work for the organization. If the hiring manager takes this approach during the recruiting phase, what are they like to actually work for?
Are the best candidates out there going to overlook that kind of experience? Are you willing to gamble the quality of your team on that?