Candidate care’ clichés and other corporate codswallop!

‘Candidate care’ in recruitment.

“It’s like inviting 100 people to a party at your house and then leaving 95 of them outside in the rain”

‘Candidate care’ in our crazy industry normally means one of two things. Either it’s a series of platitudes and clichés on recruiter websites, or it is part of a grand ‘program’ including newsletters, birthday cards, movie tickets and other marketing generated activities that, while good, are not personal or engaging in any meaningful way.

The fact is that our industry is predisposed to disappoint candidates. That’s right. Our model is set up to piss people off. Think about it. What percentage of talent that approach you, or you interview, do you actually place? Lower than 10% I bet. So that means a lot of people who won’t get what the want from you.

The big ‘secret’ of candidate care is this.  Find them a job or not, candidates will remember how you made them feel, long after they remember what you gave them, or even said to them.

So it’s critical to understand and believe that candidate care is a recruiter responsibility, not a corporate one.

You don’t need a candidate care department. You need a candidate care ethos.

So here is your 7-point candidate-care action plan. For you, on the desk. To do today. And every day. (Oh and just for fun, give yourself a score out of 10 for each measure. Bet you don’t even get > 35/70)

  1. Respond! The biggest criticism of our industry. We don’t respond. To resumés, to tweets, to applications on our website, to phone calls. First goal. Get back to everyone… fast
  2. Don’t keep them waiting. In reception. For news. For your call. You know what I mean.
  3. Manage expectations. Most of the dissatisfaction we cause with talent is our own fault. We fail to manage expectations. Don’t say “When I get a cool job in for you I will give you a call”. That’s dumb. The candidate just hears “I will give you a call”. And you have set up the scene for disappointment. Tell the candidate you will call if you have a great job, and that given the current market that’s unlikely – but that they should call you once a week for an update, if that’s what they want.
  4. Return phone calls. I know you don’t. As the guy from the shoe company said, ‘Just do it’.
  5. Tell them the bad news. Don’t be a coward. Don’t be selfish. A candidate wants to know they have been unsuccessful if that is the case. Don’t leave them hanging. Not only after an interview. Also after you have told the candidate you will be representing her somewhere. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, telling a candidate there is no news is news to the candidate.
  6. Shut up and listen a little. Yes, be slow to understand. What the candidate wants and thinks. You already know what you want and think.
  7. Give a little – thanks, advice, encouragement, respect

Candidate care. You invited them to your party! You are the host. They are the honored guest. Treat them that way.


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Views: 442

Comment by J. Jeffrey Hallan on June 27, 2012 at 11:31am

After reading this blog, I thought how refreshing it is to stumble across the rare missive that cuts right through the typical business Bravo Sierra and states a simple, honest (and sometimes cruel) truth. Then I noticed your blog is called The Savage Truth. Perfect. 

Comment by Greg Savage on June 27, 2012 at 12:21pm
Thank you JJ....I appreciate that feedback and take it as a high compliment indeed
Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 27, 2012 at 4:07pm

I have a sign in my office that says, "It's communication stupid, that is all".  I love the word "Codswallop", can you imagine that word being said with a Texas accent?  I used it yesterday and somebody said, "Whut did you say"?  It sort of comes out Cawdswallup.  Good post Greg,

Comment by Greg Savage on June 28, 2012 at 7:06am

Thanks Sandra. More like "Caaaawdswallup" I  would think. Then again I learned my Texan on TV, from JR on Dallas..... all those years ago

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 28, 2012 at 1:49pm
Lol. I have been accused of looking and acting like Alexis Carrington more than once.
Comment by Bill Schultz on June 28, 2012 at 2:25pm

Umm  I just did a # 5.  :(

Comment by Olivier Coustaing on July 5, 2012 at 11:11pm

Greg, excellent post. I usually say that both companies and candidates are our clients and they equally deserve the same levels of service, respect and commitment.

Comment by Paul Sanderson on July 6, 2012 at 12:21pm

Greg- good stuff.




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