Candidate experience… currently an infamous topic in the realms of HR and recruitment. And according to much of the reporting in the press, recruitment agencies seem to be taking a hit for offering poor candidate experience, breaking promises and lacking competence. Whilst we’re not denying that there are some ‘bad apples’, it’s a shame that the negative experiences associated with some agencies seem to discolour the perception of others. The fact remains; we are a service led industry and are genuinely here to help you (sometimes you just have to let us!). Job hunting can be a gruelling, frustrating and an incredibly emotional process. However, we promise that if you follow our advice, the process will be a whole lot easier, less painful and will positively assist you in your job hunt.
1. Consider the specifics when selecting your agencies
It’s a wide world and there are many different types of recruitment agencies, so choosing one that’s going to meet your requirements is important. Do your research and seek recommendations from friends / colleagues on the different strengths and capabilities of each to determine who can most effectively meet your needs. A good agency will be honest with you if they don’t feel fully equipped to assist your job hunt and should point you in the direction of an agency who can, regardless of if they’re a competitor.
2. Don’t apply for every single job
Thanks to good old applicant tracking systems, candidates who commit the ‘serial job application’ offense stand out a mile off. When applying for a role, make sure you fully meet the specification and have a CV that supports it. Receiving countless unsuitable applications is a big red-flag for Recruiters – it highlights a lack of judgement and is likely to act as a deterrent when agencies consider you for future (potentially relevant) opportunities.
3. Trust us
There’s nothing we enjoy more than placing great people into great roles. To put it crudely, it’s how we make money, build our reputation and continue to grow as a business – in addition to the warm fuzzy feeling (it never gets old). However, there’s generally only one position and hundreds of applicants. We have to do a serious amount of long-listing and short-listing, so you have to trust that our reasons are sincere if we choose not to submit you for a role. As you’d expect, our clients come to us with a very specific ‘wish-list’ (quite often that needle in the haystack!), so we have to ensure we tick every box when meeting their search requirements.
4. Remain within process
Like we said, trusting our decisions when it comes to putting you forward for the ‘right’ opportunities is crucial. After all we’ve been entrusted by our clients to manage their search because they have faith in our ability to deliver. Going outside our process and directly contacting the employing business will present you in a negative light and raises concerns about your strength as a candidate.
5. Please don’t be offended
A recruiter’s job is never ending. We often joke that even if we worked every single day of the year, we still wouldn’t be finished! As much as we’d love to call every applicant, the harsh reality is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. We typically receive over 100 applications per job advert, which means phoning everyone is just simply not possible. At the very least, we always ensure that our candidates receive an email response with the status of their application and some feedback – which we know can be frustrating and somewhat transactional given the lack of human interaction. In this scenario please don’t be offended, there are just certain occasions where we have to draw the line. Whilst we try not to purely focus on the strength of a CV when checking advert response, this is often all we have to go by, so tailoring it to the job is hugely important.
6. Stay true to your word
We get that it’s often difficult or too sensitive to discuss new opportunities freely. When you’re already in employment, you never know who’s in earshot of your phone calls and you don’t want to raise suspicion amongst your colleagues or boss. However, if you have arranged a time to speak or meet with your recruitment agency, make sure you honour your commitments. Of course meetings and work challenges crop up, so just give us a ring or an email if your availability changes. Making yourself accessible is key.
7. Be honest
Recruiters will endeavour to understand your career aspirations, drivers and motivations for securing your next role. Be up front about what you’re really after. If it’s a pay rise then say so, or if you want to move away from people management then tell us. The most frustrating thing is finding out you haven’t been honest about your drivers in the first instance, if and when a job offer comes in.
8. Let your personality shine
Maintaining a professional stance throughout the recruitment process is essential. But don’t do yourself an injustice by not letting your personality shine through. When sourcing for a role, experience is obviously crucial but a large part of our decision rests on your cultural fit. Make sure you showcase your personality to help us understand the work environment you’d be best suited to.
9. Build long-term relationships
Forming a long-term relationship with your agency is so valuable. By creating that lasting impression you stand a much greater chance of being selected for the right opportunities based on your experience and cultural fit. Even outside of your active job hunt, keep your agency updated with your career developments, give them the heads up when you start thinking about changing roles and use them to stay abreast of trends and insights into the market.