As professional recruiters, we all strive to hit the mark on offering candidates the BEST experience possible when working with us and we all do our very best to make it happen; however, we also need to look at the other side of the recruiting spectrum. Are qualified candidates offering recruiters a good 'recruiter experience?' If not, why? First, I think we have to remember you can't please every single candidate you speak to or work with 100% of the time. Let's face it. As much as we aim and shoot for that goal it's virtually impossible. There are several reasons for it and you may not be to blame if a candidate walks away not feeling that their personal experience with you or your agency was not a good one (that is of course, if you did your best on your end to try to make it happen).
Now, let's delve into the concept of candidates providing a good experience for you as a recruiter. Here is a scenario. A qualified candidate who had a bad experience with a prior agency or recruiter (i.e. perhaps the candidate felt misled by a recruiter; client decided to put the position on hold after an interview; or the candidate did not take the news well when they were not selected by the employer for placement). Now you come along. You're from an entirely different agency and you give that career seeker a call. You introduce yourself and let them know that you've take a look at their resume....AND....it begins. The moment they find out you're an agency recruiter you get an unwelcoming response and they begin to vent their frustrations along with a negative attitude about prior agencies they've worked with. How do you react? What do you do or say? End the call politely?
BUT THEIR QUALIFICATIONS ARE PERFECT FOR THE POSITION
You might apologize for their bad experience and simply ease your way out of the call because that is what your gut feeling is telling you to do. Or you may experience the battle in your mind to overlook the candidate's negative attitude and try to understand why this candidate is so upset. After all this candidates background is the perfect match for your position! In addition to that, you've been sourcing and interviewing for some time now and you can present the qualified candidate's resume to your client today. Besides, the candidate is calm now and appreciative you took the time to put them at ease by assuring them their experience with you or your agency will be a positive one. At this point, everything is fine. So you decide to give it a shot. You explain your process in detail to the candidate letting them know you will keep them in the loop and up to date every step of the way once their resume has been presented to the client. It should be a great outcome. Right? Not necessarily so.
I share this specific scenario because I recently experienced it. I contacted a very qualified but unhappy candidate for a contract position. She expressed her frustration because she was contacted by a couple of agencies in the recent past for other similar positions within the same company. Recruiters submitted her resume to the same company (different hiring managers as this is a large company) for a contract position. After that, she was never contacted again by the recruiters for a follow up. I spent considerable time with this candidate and finally presented her resume to the employer. Our client was interested in speaking with her. They actually wanted to move forward for a brief interview. Needless to say the candidate didn't return any of my calls when I tried to reach her to share the great news and to coordinate the interview. She completely backed out at the last minute without any notice. Not a good outcome. So, I can tell you that this experience taught me a valuable lesson. Although, as a recruiter, we must always strive to provide the BEST candidate experience, we have to keep in mind we can't please everyone 100% of the time. If a candidate's first impression to you is not a 'good recruiter experience' and your gut instinct says don't move forward. Don't. Listen to your instincts. In the long run you will be saving you and your clients valuable time and we all know time is money.