I spent a little more than five years recruiting for multiple organizations, and in that time, I learned a lot about what's going right in the industry. More importantly, I've also learned about what's going wrong.
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For me, the most meaningful takeaway of all was this: You don't have control over everything, but you do have control over your impact on the recruiting industry's reputation as a whole.
What I'm saying is that a lot of the problems with the recruiting industry can be easily fixed by you – yes, you, recruiters. So, where can you start making changes?
Remember the Golden Rule
My parents raised me to follow the "golden rule": Do to others what you want them to do to you. The same rule applies to the recruiting world. Treat your candidates with respect, get to know their unique interests and needs, communicate with them, and provide feedback.
Whether you are on the staffing side, RPO side, or corporate side of the industry, the golden rule applies to you. You can't treat candidates like numbers. They couldn't care less about how they impact your stats. They need to be motivated by the right things in order to listen, take the interview, and make a career move.
Set Realistic Expectations Up Front
One of my coworkers told me a story recently about a friend of his who went through the application, interview, and selection process with a government agency. For those who aren't familiar with the government's hiring process: It takes a long time. I'm not just talking a month or two; I'm talking as much as six.
A lengthy and cumbersome process like that would turn any applicant off. However, there's one differentiator in this situation: The government agency set clear and realistic expectations regarding how long the process takes, including all the steps and variables involved.
Candidates are more receptive, understanding,and appreciative if they know where the finish line is and the steps they need to take to get there.
Get to Know Your Candidates
The worst outreach attempts by recruiters start with, "Hi so-and-so, I saw your profile and I have a great job for you. Here's what I'm looking for in an ideal candidate ..." This screams "Me, me, me!" (as in the organization, not the candidate).
Instead, craft your outreach around the candidate and their interests. More importantly, when you get the conversation going, take the time to truly understand what the candidate needs when it comes to making a move in their career. This doesn't mean asking questions about their personal life. Quite frankly, that's illegal. However, if you take the time to truly get to know your candidates, it will be much easier to build a trusting and authentic talent pipeline.
Think Outside the Box
Phone and email are excellent traditional ways to reach out to candidates, but there are so many more options: social media avenues like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; texting; video messaging platforms like BombBomb; etc.
Communication methods are especially important when dealing with millennials and Generation Z. Get on their level by creating unique Snapchat filters like McDonald's did. If it's in the budget, you could even put up an innovative and eye-catching billboard or two.
If all else fails, keep in mind how you would want to be treated throughout the recruiting process from beginning to end. That's always a great start to rehabbing the recruiter's reputation.
Kristina Evans is a marketing content writer for Phenom People.