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December 10, 2009 / Mervyn Dinnen

Candidate Care – do you value your currency??

Candidates are the currency of any good recruiter. We get paid by a client when we deliver a great candidate, and let’s not forget that today’s candidates become tomorrow’s clients.

We need clients, yes, but then clients can also brief any number of recruiters…it’s the recruiters with the best candidates, the strongest community, who will ultimately deliver.

Yet most candidates you speak to have a common complaint…no feedback, I blogged about it here and it is something that arises every day, whenever I speak to a candidate about how they are finding the job market.

I was at a family party this weekend and spoke to a relative – he’s 25 and finding the job market tough at the moment. I asked what his biggest problem was and he said:

‘I never hear anything. I check the job ads online, look on agency websites, I see jobs that look right for me and I send my CV with a note, trying to show how my experience relates to what they say they are looking for. And I hear nothing.

You’re in recruitment…why do they do it? All I want is a call, e-mail even, just to let me know that they’ve got my CV and that I’m not right for the role. It would also be great if they could just tell me why I wasn’t right for the role’

It’s embarrassing. I don’t know why recruiters do it, why their managers and directors incentivise them in such a way that they see no value in taking care of their currency…of the people who will ultimately deliver their fees, and who will be their next clients.

Where I work we took steps many months ago to make sure that this didn’t happen. We’re a values based business and we value our candidates – the people who will be our ambassadors in the market, who will deliver future fees, both as candidates and clients.

We put our money where our mouth is…we set up a Candidate Care Team. That’s right recruiters, a team without targets, metrics, KPIs, sales…a team whose raison d’être is purely to ensure that EVERY candidate who contacts us gets a personal, informed, consultative service, that makes them feel VALUED.

It’s quite simple really…every single candidate who applies for a role gets a call, either from a consultant or the Candidate Care Team. That team can easily pass a CV straight back to the consultants and say ‘this person’s great, you need to see them’. We’ve been going a month and we’ve already placed candidates who the CCT team have picked up on…candidates who we could easily have overlooked without them.

Candidates who we know our competitors are not even bothering to call!

What they are doing is helping to build our community…making sure that candidates know we care, and we can deliver.

And it works! So is anyone else going to do it?? I can see the head scratching now…a team of people who aren’t targeted to produce fees, but who do! You can’t measure them…a lot of their time is spent on calls that may help develop relationships but from which there is no immediate ROI.

Who’s up for this challenge??

Are there any recruitment companies out there willing to create a team, in a recession, to talk to candidates who they can’t immediately place?

Willing to invest in their future?

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4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Bonita / Dec 10 2009 2:27 PM

    Great post! I agree that candidate experience is a great way to differentiate your company and build a strong brand. It takes time, but it’s well worth it when you become one of the few who respond.

  2. Clare / Dec 11 2009 2:30 PM

    Do you know how rare you are? Seriously? So many job applicants on the Guardian Career forums (http://careers.guardian.co.uk/forums) complain that whenever they send in an application, they hear nothing. A resounding silence. I appreciate that recruiters serve first and foremost their clients – the companies paying them to fill a vacancy – but to also have a customer care team really sets you apart from other recruiters.

  3. Kari Quaas / Jan 12 2010 12:12 AM

    Love this line.

    “…a team whose raison d’être is purely to ensure that EVERY candidate who contacts us gets a personal, informed, consultative service, that makes them feel VALUED.”

    Thanks for the RT on twitter too.

    Good stuff.

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