I know what you're thinking; not another recruiter who thinks he knows everything already. Don't worry, I'm not going to pretend to have had some recruitment epiphany, instead, through observation and my growing experience I've begun to see trends in what leads to successful recruitment and what leads to break downs in the process. This key, this one simple thing, is applicable across the board from companies, candidates and us ignoble recruiters.
To paraphrase Tony Blair; "Communication, communication, communication."
Yes that one simple thing. Effective communication is everything and it has impacts far wider then we could possible imagine, from all sides. I'll break it down for each of three sides as to how it has its impact and why optimising communication can make a world of difference.
The quintessential villains of the piece, if 70% of LinkedIn rants are to be believed, recruiters hold a major role to play in effective communication. A lot of recruitment agents forget the second part of their title; 'agent'. Our job is to effectively represent a company or candidate and by us being non-communicative we aren't representing either side well. This can be something terribly simple, like not being prompt. This happens for the obvious reason by and large of forgetfulness, of getting snowballed under a mountain of work and forgetting to quickly respond to that call or email. There's no wonderful solution to this, the solution is the action; just make sure you're responding to things as quickly as possible. To see it from the other end just imagine you're trying to organise a night out with a whole bunch of your friends where no one responds until the last minutes; it's a nightmare and just makes the whole thing more stressful. There is one bigger thing that us recruiters have achieved notoriety for and that's communicating accurate, honest feedback to both client and candidate. Now often not communicating feedback can come once again down to forgetfulness but for those recruiters who are not providing feedback, especially to rejected candidates; come on now. From the candidates point of view it leaves them completely in the lurch and their livelihoods can be heavily influenced by this. From a selfish point of view giving feedback, being honest and upfront can make you look better to the candidate and increase the likelihood of them returning to you when it comes to other positions. Repeat business is vital, especially in niche sectors and effective communication is the primary tool of any recruiter for ensuring repeat business. Be prompt, don't pester and be honest. It seems terribly trite but it still needs saying.
The best candidates I ever worked with were the ones who were very communicative. Now I'm not talking about us chatting every single day, but who were always prompt in getting back about positions, up front about what they were after and engaging with myself as a recruiter. For me when I could see the buy-in from the candidate, that they were showing a genuine interest in working with me, I bought-in twice as much. I would make sure I was going the extra mile for them, trying to find as many opportunities for them as possible and making sure I was giving them the best and most productive feedback, research into the company and interviews for them as possible. I bought-in much more simply because of the way these candidates communicated with me and it ensured that I was doing my utmost to create and maximise opportunities. So whilst us recruiters can be often guilty for causing the breakdown in these relationships, dealing with a highly non-communicative candidate can be a nightmare and can reduce my enthusiasm to work with them again. Maybe the next role I get on will be the perfect one for them, but if I know I'm going to go a week before they ever reply to me and even then I'm only going to get half a response it might make me think again. But if I'm thoroughly bought-in to the candidate then they'll be the first and possible only person on my list. Not only that but I'll go out of my way to actually create these opportunities for them that may have not existed previously. Be prompt, be engaging and be open. You may notice there is a trend developing here...
For a lot of companies us recruiters are nothing but pests and they don't want to work with us. Fair enough. If you can do it yourself, why wouldn't you? But a lot of companies need our services and when we are treated with utter contempt by those companies that need our help, reluctant as it may be, it becomes very difficult to work to the maximum effectiveness we are able. But communication goes much further than that; being prompt (yes that old chestnut) is the most vital for companies as they are almost in constant competition for the same talent. If you decide you like a candidate don't delay a week before informing us or them; that could make all the difference but it can also make the candidate view the company in a more negative light due to poor candidate experience. If you really do have scheduling issues, your hiring managers off on holiday for a week say, then let us know the interest is there so we can make sure the candidate is completely kept in the loop and remain interested themselves. A one week delay before deciding which CV's are liked, followed by a one week delay after first interview, followed by a one week delay after second interview, followed by another weeks delay to make a decision can easily see a month of wasted time. Most hiring managers decide very quickly whether or not they like a CV or a candidate in an interview. If everyone is capable of being quick the hiring process really can happen in less than a week and just think about how much money can be saved with that quick a turnover. As a recruiter I'm aware that recruitment isn't necessarily always going to become top priority for a hiring manager, or that role might be one of many for the internal teams, but always remember; job hunting will almost always be a candidates highest priority and they will be moving at a very different speed. Be prompt, don't take for granted and be up front.
Ultimately it's a simple thing and often it just comes down to how quickly we can respond. Every single one of us, in our personal lives and professional, can be more effective communicators. We're all occasionally guilty of it, myself included, but finding ways to be quick, honest, self-aware, engaging, professional and friendly can save everyone a lot of time in the process and make every single person in the process much happier. Recruitment and finding a role can be frustrating yet if we refine the little things like communication we can make the process not just painless but actually quite enjoyable.