The Impact of Poor Recruiting - Candidates vs. Customers

One of my biggest complaints about recruiting is the lack of respect given to candidates throughout a recruitment process.  Whether it is from the lack of candidate respect by the behaviour of a poor recruiter or an unengaged hiring leader who fails to realize the importance of good recruiting, or simply from an overall poorly constructed recruiting process of an organization, 99% of the candidates applying to your company are most likely to walk away with a bad taste in their mouth.


So why is this a big deal if your company just hired a superstar new employee?  I am all about outcomes when it comes to recruiting.  I believe recruitment doesn't spend enough time looking at their outcomes and too much time looking at their process efficiencies.  But there are multiple outcomes to recruiting that must be continuously evaluated.  The first outcome of recruiting is the quality of hire which is and always should be the primary goal.  But a close second must be the experience of both the candidates and the business - both of these parties need to be considered the true clients of recruiting.  Recruiters need to remember who their clients are and often forget where the candidates fit into this mix.


I was speaking with a friend this morning who was excited about her first interview with a large organization with a significant consumer service brand for a marketing role.  She had confirmed the phone interview with the recruiter at the organization yesterday and was spending a great deal of her time preparing for the interview.  The recruiter had committed to calling her at a specific time and when that time passed by 30 minutes and she still hadn't heard from the recruiter, she texted me for my advice.  My advice was to call the recruiter right away and find out what happened.


My friend followed up with me shortly after and was clearly not impressed with what she heard.  Apparently the recruiter simply forgot about their scheduled interview (she forgot to check her calendar although was sitting at her desk working on her computer - no apology was given).   My friend made sure the recruiter knew that they had just wasted not only her time for the scheduled interview but also the time she spent preparing.  She declined rescheduling the interview with the recruiter as she was not impressed with being dealt this way.  What is interesting is that it wasn't only the recruiter she wasn't impressed with......her negative impression was of the organization as a whole.  She saw this recruiter as an agent for the company and quickly drew this conclusion.  She is a current consumer of a service provided by this organization and has been for the past 20 plus years spending over $200 annually with them.  Maybe current is the wrong term to use as she cancelled her service with this company later today.  This story was also broadcasted on her Facebook profile to over 400 of her "friends" to view and comment on.  So not only is she not impressed with this organization but her friends now have a negative reference on the company and not just on their recruitment efforts.......but of the company as a whole.


This company clearly hasn't made the connection between candidates being current or potential customers and the impact that a poor recruiter will have on their organization's bottom line in terms of lost sales and customers.  So many organizations focus their sales and marketing messages on a customer centric approach and for some reason they fail to include their recruiting efforts and candidates into this mix.  Corporate recruiting needs to be seen as an extension of their organization's overall brand and held to these high standards.  Recruiting will never make every candidate happy but treating every applicant with the proper respect regardless of their skills and experience will go a long way in protecting their organization's brand.


Simon Parkin is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of top talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes.  Simon is the Managing Partner at The Parkin Group Ltd. and has worked closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions.  He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company.   Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices.  

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Comment by Brandi Cooper on June 1, 2011 at 5:26pm



Your article was right on!  I really appreciate you pointing out the importance of the recruiter-candidate dynamics and treating perspective hires the way that you would want to be treated on the recipricating end.  Well stated-Thank You!

Comment by Suresh on June 2, 2011 at 7:43am
Your point about Recruiting being an Extension of the Corporate Brand is right on.
Comment by sheila Greco on June 2, 2011 at 9:49am
Great Article. We all must remember that employees AND potential recruits can make or break a company's reputation. Recruiters need to be very customer or potential recruit service oriented. Recruiting is a process and part of the process is treating the recruits like you want to be treated!!! Thanks Simon!
Comment by Lindsay Peoples on June 2, 2011 at 2:04pm
Right on Simon! We have to give our candidates the same respect that we give our clients! With out the Clients we wouldn't have a place to send our candidates but without a solid Candidate pool, you will of course have no one to place with our clients! Haha, Which came first, the chicken or the egg? : ) In this economy with so many people out of work and looking and clients knowing this thus scrutinizing resumes and candidates more than ever, it can unfortunately be easy to forget that our candidates are just as valuable as our client companies!
Comment by Ravi Goel on June 4, 2011 at 7:01pm
good point.. and i agree to your friends approach..not many companies make that connection... recruiting is the eyes and ears of any organisation.. the whole process has to run as the impression you want to float in the market..


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