The Candidate experience…? Sure, but what about the Recruiter Experience..?!!

Inspired here by a great blog by Jack Barton – The Recruiter Experience – it got me thinking about the ongoing emphasis towards the Candidate Experience. The IOR are banging on about how bad recruiters are and how they are going to improve it, and the #candexp hashtag has also surfaced to discuss the subject. 

Now I am not refuting that the candidate experience needs to be a good one, a priority – any decent customer in any industry deserves a decent service – but as as I commented on Jack’s blog – we are in a world of humans, humans are our currency, and the inconsistencies of humans dictate our daily work. Every effort is made to try and enhance the candidate experience in my zone, but what about the recruiter experience? 


Recruitment is a stressful job – pressure from bosses, bank managers, clients, colleagues, candidates and in contingency recruitment, made up by a lot of time spent doing a heck of a lot of work – sourcing, communicating, assessing, preparing, re-preparing, re-assessing – for no money at all. We only get paid if the chosen candidate we sourced and introduced, actually starts the job. We get nothing for 2nd place, 3rd place, or the `brilliant but ultimately unsuccessful, and we wish them well` candidate. 

Sometimes a recruiter may not return a candidates call/email fast enough, or acknowledge a frivolous application, communicate as effectively as we could, or sometimes – god forbid – may actually NOT get you the job you were looking for. 

But there are two sides to this. Sadly, the truth is that in return, candidates may…

– apply for a job and then not know what they applied for when called about it

– call 15 minutes before an interview with my client to say they are not going 

don’t call before an interview with me client to say they are not going – and then the phone mysteriously is turned off for 2 days 

– apply for a £30k job, agree with the recruiter that that is acceptable, and then tell the client at interview they want £35k 

– speak to a recruiter, find out the name of the recruiting employer and then sidestep the recruiter and apply direct 

– accept an offer from my client, serve their notice at their current employer, and then take another job offer the week before they were due to start 

– agree to put forward for a job, and then go incommunicado for days when requested for interview 

– decide not to bother researching the client before the interview, and instead hit the pub

– lie on their CV, and then tell the recruiter and the client 2 different stories about the circumstances of that lie

– talk themselves out of a job at a client interview, and then blame the recruiter  

This is some of the examples of the stuff I have dealt with over the years (I could write a book) – yet I never hold it against any candidate I have dealt with, I have to get on with it – as I have a job to do to repair the mess – and these circumstances represent only 10-20% of the jobseeker market. Lesser experienced recruiters crumble and wither because of this stuff, as it decreases their chances of billing, and thus they don’t meet targets and are sacked as a consequence. 

Recruiters are not perfect, but must strive to be so. Like referees in football, we are in the middle, and we want to do the best we can – but often we fail, and it is always our fault. We have to accept that. But the better candidate experience often comes from a better recruitment experience, and the better recruitment experience can often come from the better candidate experience. It’s a team process, and we’re not always going to get along – but candidates who bemoan a recruiter who did them wrong, will – probably through a different recruiter – still get a job. A recruiter might bemoan a candidate who let them down, but may then lose theirs. 

We’re all in it to succeed – more candidates placed, means happy clients, which means income for the recruiter, which means success all round – we all want that. If you grumble that a recruiter earns too much money, then don’t – it means they’ve placed lots of people in suitable jobs succcessfully – they’re your good recruiter. Sadly too many recruiters are not well off, because 75% of the industry operates under target, often within a poor recruiter experience. 

I am fortunate that clearly I get it right 90% of the time, the flow of recommendations and referrals is testament to this. But I acknowledge that sometimes I get it wrong in the process of candidate communication. I miss people out sometimes. I’m recruiting a Community Manager to help that – but I am also only human. Let’s accept our human ways, and work to support each other in the recruitment process rather than rip each other to shreds. 



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