Recruiters – how to build trust with your candidates in 5 simple steps

As a recruiter, it’s important to understand how to build trust with your candidates so that you can ensure a productive long-term relationship with them. But how do you do that? Here are 5 ways:

1 – Start with a chat – and LISTEN

There is nothing worse than a recruiter who starts ramming jobs down a persons throat before they have even asked a candidate what they are looking for.

The process of building trust starts with the very first conversation you have with a candidate.

The process of building trust starts with the very first conversation you have with a candidate.

When a great CV drops into your inbox, it’s tempting to start doing a mental-match to any number of current vacancies you’re working on. And that’s not a bad thing because it’s always good to have a few options in mind when you first speak to a new candidate. However, until you pick up the phone and speak to this person, you won’t have any idea of what is going through their head. Start with an open conversation and demonstrate that you are interested in hearing about their current situation. Make sure you ask about when they are available, what they don’t like about their current job, what they’re looking for and what’s important to them in their job search. By doing this, you instantly put yourself in a better position to match them to suitable jobs, but you also demonstrate that you are a person who listens and is taking what THEY want into consideration. There is nothing worse than a recruiter who starts ramming jobs down a persons throat before they have even asked a candidate what they are looking for. If what the candidate says matches one of your current roles, then great – go ahead and run it by them, but make a point of matching job characteristics to some of their “want” list (which they should have just outlined). In this way, you will start to build trust immediately.

2 – If your job is not a perfect match, be honest

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Demonstrate that you’ve listened to your candidate and never try to shoe-horn them into a job they don’t want. Credit Flickr

Sometimes if a candidate is not currently working (or is desperate for work), they will consider vacancies which are not ideal but would be OK for a short-term or temporary contract. As a recruiter with over a decade of experience, my advice is to be honest when this is the case. Never try to convince someone a job is perfect for them if it clearly is not – this is called shoe-horning and it’s not a good idea. In these scenarios, you can continue to build trust by demonstrating that you have listened to your candidate, and you appreciate that this role isn’t their ideal match, but that you’d suggest they consider it – and give a plausible reason. Perhaps their ideal role doesn’t come along very often and you’ll continue looking for it for them, and agree that you’ll pull them out of this other job if something better comes in (if you make that promise try not to be tempted to break it, and make sure it’s not going to put your client out!), or offer them a higher rate of pay or some other sort of compensation for them putting themselves out of their comfort zone for you. If you want to build trust, this can be a good way to do it because it’s a great chance to demonstrate both honesty and that you’ve listened to what your candidate is looking for.

3 – When things go wrong, help

I’ve seen consultants go out after the office closes on a Friday evening to meet a candidate who is having a pay delay so that they can put a cash advance directly into their hands. Now that’s a trust-building service!

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Help your candidates when things go wrong and you’ll help to build trust in your relationship. Credit Flickr

In the world of recruitment, things often go wrong. Candidates might be struggling to sort out their timesheets and hence could be experiencing pay delays. Or they could be having issues with the client you’ve placed them with. Or perhaps they need a letter from you to help with something going on at home – a landlord or banking problem perhaps. If you want to continue to build a trusting relationship with your candidates, you need to respond quickly, efficiently and be as helpful as you can be in these scenarios. In fact, the best time to build trust with your candidate is when they need help with something which is actually outside your remit. Instead of washing your hands of it and saying “not my problem“, if you help out in this situation, it will go further in building rapport than when you do something you’re obliged to do anyway! In my time as a recruiter, I’ve seen consultants go out after the office closes on a Friday evening to meet a candidate who is having a pay delay so that they can put a cash advance directly into their hands. Now that’s a trust-building service! And guess what, that candidate is usually willing to help out in future when their consultant asks them to do a job for a few days which they would never usually consider doing!

4 – Negotiate hard for your candidates

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Negotiate hard for your candidates and this will help to build trust with them. Credit Flickr

Many agencies put their consultants under pressure to achieve high margins. That is, to charge clients the highest rate possible, and to pay candidates the lowest rates they can get away with. In that way, recruitment companies can maximise their profit. But at what cost? In an industry where you wouldn’t exist without reliable, trusting candidates and clients this can be a dangerous game to play. Far better that you take a squeeze on your margin to ensure that candidates are well looked after and that clients are also getting a fair charge rate. So next time a candidate asks you for a pay rise, do all you can to make it happen and that trust-o-meter will see another rise! There is also nothing wrong with explaining to a candidate how hard you’ve had to work to get them this pay-rise. If they understand that you’ve had to do this to get it for them, then it will go even further in the trust stakes!

5 – Don’t stop them leaving

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Don’t stop your candidates from leaving a role if that’s what they really want and you’ll show that you care about them as an individual. Credit Flickr

This is a tricky one because all agencies want to retain good staff. So when a great contractor wants to leave a role, don’t try to stop them. That’s not to say that you can’t explore the reasons they want to leave and see if you can help resolve those issues first, but if all else fails and your contractor still wants to go, don’t give them a hard time about it. Ask yourself what advice you’d give a friend or partner and make sure you follow this with your candidates. In my time as a recruiter, I’ve seen consultants switch from being as nice as pie to their staff, to hurling abuse down the phone and threatening not to ever offer them work again if they leave a role (I’d like to add that this wasn’t at Axcis!) The problem with doing this, is that even if it works and that person stays in their job, once it comes to an end the trust with that consultant has been ruined and the candidate is likely to go elsewhere for their next assignment anyway. Short-term gain can be long-term loss. And that’s never a good thing in the world of recruiting.

 

If you’re a recruiter who identifies with these values and would like to work for a company which does too, why not check out our internal vacancies  and apply for a role with Axcis today?

 

 

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