As a recruiter, clients and candidates are the two of most important factors determining the success of your business. So, how do you build strong, lasting relationships with them?
Some of the biggest challenges that recruitment firms face is a shortage of suitable available and passive talent coupled with a lack of understanding client's needs.
So, effectively spending time building strong client-recruiter and candidate-recruiter relationships can be one of the greatest investments you make. Establishing an engaging and supportive experience that provides value for both your clients and candidates is key to building successful business partnerships.
How to foster relationships as a recruiter?
As a recruiter, you will play a crucial role in the process of finding the perfect fit for both the client and the candidate. Therefore, demonstrating a high degree of emotional intelligence is necessary not only for nurturing strong relationships but also to mastering suitable matches.
Putting in the time, effort and patience to hear your client’s or candidate’s background and requirements can provide you with beneficial insights about meeting their needs.
Essentially developing a relationship whether that be with a client or candidate, is dependent on a few key components – attentive listening, purposive communication and building comprehensive understanding. One you have this mastered you can use that information to meet the needs and desires of both parties.Listening
Are you listening to understand?
Whether you are in contact with a client or a candidate, attentively listening to their story to build a picture of their needs, wants and circumstances is the one of the most important part of the process. It is important to ask strategic, open-ended questions that encourage the individuals to elaborate.
This can help you build a detailed profile of the candidate to understand the wider context of their lives, motivations and desires, and career aspirations. Whereas with clients, asking for elaboration can help you pin-point the core requirements and use your market specific knowledge to identify transferrable skills that can help broaden your search.
For instance; with candidates- if you fully understand the wider context of their needs then you can proactively represent those needs to your client and influence the role / responsibilities on their behalf.
With your clients; this level of understanding can help you effectively tailor your processes to make the recruitment process a smooth one as well as selecting the most suitable candidates for interview.
Being attentive from the beginning will allow you to ensure any decision or action you make for either client or candidate has purpose. Along with limiting the amount of time wasted on assumptions listening also helps create a positive experience for both parties.
Ultimately, listening to understand your clients or candidates will benefit you in the long run as you are likely to secure long-term placements.
You better hope you like being the middle-man!
Is your communication clear and purposive? and are you providing them with market insights and support?
Despite the busy schedule, one of the biggest mistakes a recruiter can make is sparse and ambiguous communication or no communication. Part of creating a positive and beneficial experience for clients and candidates is ensuring your communication is clear, responsive and to agreed timescales.
Once you make initial contact and begin creating a profile of that person, it is important that you are able to maintain the consistent and relevant communication throughout the process. Every client and candidate is unique, tailoring your approach to what best appeals to their motivations and understanding their preferences is best practice.
Relationships can quickly be tarnished when communication is not maintained or if it fails to meet expectations. So, it is important to agree upon the job expectations with both the client and candidate as soon as possible to avoid future conflict. Regardless of how big or small an update may be, keeping to agreed communications is essential.
Often you can be faced with a challenge where a hiring manager may be very specific in their requirements- a needle in a haystack situation! In such cases, it is essential for the recruiter to be consultative and provide the client with market insights. Ensuring they are always on the same page with the requirements from the initial qualifying call onwards, diarised communication that updates them is necessary.
Your specialist expertise in your sector will come into play here. For example, if you know that you are unlikely to be able to find someone with X skill, but you know of Y skill that is relevant / adaptable then you can start to broaden the job specification and cast your net into new skillsets.
This establishes a collaborative recruiter-client and recruiter-candidate partnership, in which both your clients and candidates are well-informed on their position, and you are well-informed on their needs.
In the current climate, another thing to consider is the rapidly evolving types of communication available to you and how it can benefit your client and candidate relationships. Video communication platforms, in particular, have seen an immense rise is service as recruiters seek alternative routes to evaluating clients and candidates.
Video communication platforms are a key element of the new digital world of recruiting. From virtual coffee meets to formal video interviews, video communication has become an essential tool for building dynamic relationships near and far.
Notably, eliminating travel costs can remove any hesitancy that many candidates have when considering a vacancy.Understanding
Throughout your communications with your client or candidate, listening carefully will help you build a comprehensive understanding of their abilities, motivations and requirements. Therefore, it is crucial to ask open questions that give you key insights about the individual or role.
It is then possible to strategically market and sell to appropriate individuals, such as a job role or your services to a hiring manager. Time is limited so building an in-depth, clear understanding of your clients or candidates is imperative to success.
Once you're in the 'know' you are in a better position to meet their distinct needs.
A key element of the recruitment process is selecting the correct method of interviewing and testing the candidate’s skills whilst providing a fair, accurate and unbiased assessment. This process can become less complicated when you have a clear and thorough understanding of the client’s requirements, especially when seeking niche talent.
Don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth being as an effective source of marketing, creating positive rapport with your clients and candidates can benefit you in the long run. Establishing trust and reliability means they are more likely to recommend your business to their network and once they have been placed they're more likely to reach out to you when they're next recruiting!
Importance of candidate-recruiter relationships
Candidates are your most important assets and transparency is key. As a recruiter, nurturing valuable relationships with your candidates allows you to build a dynamic pool of talent that helps you fill future vacancies. Your CRM needs to support you in this process by making it easy to find and contact live talent when you need it.
These relationships are what creates a competitive edge for you as a recruiter that sustains your business in the long run. Notably, creating comprehensive profiles of your candidates that are regularly re-evaluated with routine communications.
By doing this you will define the key skills, qualifications and demographics of your talent pool, which can speed up the recruitment process. It can also help you identify areas where you need to source new talent.
When you are able to identify, develop, and monitor the unique talent amongst your candidates, you create a meaningful talent pool that puts you in a better position to meet the needs of future vacancy demands.
It is therefore imperative to ask the right questions!
Who are they and what drives them?
Understanding your candidates begins with recognising the drive behind their search. Gathering insights into them as an individual is essential- What is important to them? What are their future plans and their passions? What is their home-life like?
At this stage, exhibiting emotional intelligence is central to identifying candidates’ strengths and weaknesses by distinguishing their unique traits as well as their skills and qualifications. Taking the time to meet face-to-face such as for a coffee or a virtual coffee, can help you better understand the individual in a more comfortable setting.
From the perspective of the candidate, this can help them feel at ease with you as they feel you have their best interest at heart. This can deepen your understanding of them as an individual and their motives, which helps you evaluate their potential for any current and future roles that you have to offer.
Additionally, both candidates and companies are increasingly focusing on diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I). Candidates are drawn to the DE&I commitment of their future employers, in response companies are becoming increasingly in-tune with their diversity targets. As a recruiter, you have the ability to build a vibrant and diverse talent pool that can accommodate for the shifting demand.
To meet the shifting demands, you are presented with a great opportunity to further develop your processes and systems to reduce bias that can hinder your search for a more diverse candidate pool.
It'a good to be aware of the industry standards? Do your candidates have other offers? What stage are they at with other vacancies? What is negotiable for them?
For instance, specialist candidates with significant experience and niche skills will be requiring competitive offers. In these instances, understanding the wider context of their industry and their capability in comparison can help you present the most appealing offer matching their motivations.
Additionally, designing precise candidate profiles can also help you compare and decide between multiple candidates for certain vacancies. Some candidates may be better qualified but poorly located in relation to a vacancy and vice versa. Weighing your options and selecting the better suited candidate then becomes easier task to accomplish.
Establishing client-recruiter relationships
When it comes to your clients, cultivating well-maintained, valuable relationships is pivotal to developing a long-term successful recruitment business.
Often client management can be one of the biggest challenges a recruiter faces. Firstly you have to 'win' the business and you need to assess if it's actually something you can fill.
Is the client being realistic in their search? Can you negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement on which to carry out your work? Remember- there are (often) no runner up prizes on offer!
Can you agree a schedule of work? Try to do this to eliminate indecisiveness and slow feedback which can cause them to miss out on talent, especially highly-skilled, niche candidates. Other clients can be too specific with their requirements, particularly within highly technical fields.
From the initial 'qualifying a vacancy' and throughout your partnership, it is ideal to set clear-cut expectations and parameters that are monitored and reiterated. This helps to limit any ambiguity that may arise as well as giving you a reference for when it may be necessary.
What do you need to know?
An important factor that helps to develop a collaborative relationship between client and recruiter is understanding the context underpinning the opportunity.
Why is a vacancy available? How business critical is this role? How can this person progress in their career? How will this role fit into the current team?
At this stage, asking detailed open-ended questions and elaborating can ensure the client is thorough in their response which helps to develop a clear understanding of the client’s rationale.
Transparent and informative communication can help gather data about the core requirements, person specifications, qualifications and capabilities. This can provide you with a coherent and concise direction as well as desired candidate profiles with realistic expectations.
Notably, establishing early on how committed the client is to your business can ensure time and resources are not wasted on unproductive partnerships. How many agencies are they working with? Do they have other interviews lined up?
Similar to candidates being aware of DE&I, clients are shifting focuses towards a more diverse workforce within their company with many seeking new systems that help them avoid bias. As a recruiter you can support them with this, proactively enhancing your systems and processes to make you more adaptable to the future labour market and requirements.
In essence, you have to develop a holistic understanding of the company and who and what they require to be able to accurately match candidates appropriately to them.
Be transparent, understanding and take initiative!
Recruiting is a people-focused function and so it is heavily dependent on relationship-building to create a sustainable business. Whether you are an agency-based recruiter or an independent recruiter, initiating valuable relationships with your candidates and clients helps cultivate at positive buzz around you and your brand.
As the world recovers from Covid-19, companies are diversifying cautiously and trying to preserve internal talent and secure candidates may be sticking to their current positions longer. So, developing strong relationships and understanding future plans is crucial now, more than ever.
In the long-run, attentive listening, purposive communication, and building comprehensive understandings will be necessary for all aspects of business, particularly when dealing with people.
Here at 3R Start-ups, our CRM and back-office technology allows you to manage these relationships in one intuitive portal.
Ensuring you are in in the know, securely and able to easily source- we allow you to manage all aspects of client, candidate and vacancy management easily and effectively with automation and best practice as it’s core.
To further expand your recruitment start-up knowledge, make sure to download our helpful “Start and Grow” guide.