Recruiter’s Notes: Remember, They are Human Beings

I’ve been in the recruitment area for a while. It’s been 5 years, since I started my path in technical recruitment and I have dealt mostly with engineers. Considering the demand for technical professionals, it wasn’t easy at all. My career path started at an agency and I continued as an in-house recruiter for companies specialising in Information Technology.

By going through this path, I learned by observing my colleagues as well as from my own mistakes. I’d like to share my key learnings with you today.

Your Candidates are the Main Customers

Once in a while, recruiters forget that they deal with individuals. It’s a common mistake of recruitment agencies. They view all candidates as resources that they want to staff somewhere. It’s a crucial mistake to treat your candidates like resources. You should always remember that each one of them is a unique person that deserves individual attention.

Think of each candidate as a good friend of yours (in most cases :D). Starting from the very first communication, it should be a positive experience. Some things I would never recommend doing are as follows:

  • Send a cheesy greeting email without completing a background check first. I’ve seen it so many times that a recruiter offers job opportunities that have nothing to do with the engineer’s experience or interests.
  • Interview candidates without learning about their background beforehand. I usually go through their CV or LinkedIn profile. Sometimes it makes sense to check social media to see what they are passionate about.
  • Skip the introduction part during the interview. If you want to make someone nervous, just start asking questions right away. Breaking the ice is really important. That’s why I prefer to introduce myself, talk about the company. This all helps a candidate feel comfortable and then you can start asking questions.
  • Ask the same questions all of the time. All companies have different approaches and there are a couple of best practices that help to define soft and professional skills. But, you should always remember that everyone’s different. You should adjust your questions based on the candidate’s experience, their personality, emotional state, etc.
  • Not getting back to a candidate. I think a lot of recruiters do it unknowingly, and it drives me crazy. Remember, that your candidates also invest their time and it should be rewarded with a response at the very least. Even if you decide to proceed with other candidates, you should still give a heads up to the rest of the applicants.

By the way, I’m not claiming that I’ve never done any of these mistakes. My epic fail was when I sent a LinkedIn message to a male applicant and called him a random female name. It’s something I still feel guilty about.

Details matter

The whole interview process is a road trip that you have with your candidate. Your company is driving a car and your candidates accompany you. This trip should be perfect, so both of you experience a good outcome. Candidates are learning, just like you. It’s essential to provide the best experience, so your candidate would like to take another trip with you.

Make sure you give the best impression by having good rapport all the way from the first communication. Pay attention to your candidate’s experience and emphasise your candidate’s strengths (so they know you did your homework before the interview).

Don’t forget about Danish “hygge” if you meet a candidate in person. The office space should have a sense of coziness and remind one of home or another nice place where they would like to return. It’s essential to be polite and offer a cup of coffee or water, however, in a moment of hustle, we may often forget about these small details.

Try to remember your best interview experience and think about all the small details that helped create a good impression about that company. What would you adapt to your hiring process?

Feedback is your secret power

Feedback is something essential in our work life. Nevertheless, we usually don’t ask our candidates to provide feedback when it could be our secret power.

First of all, candidates are the best source that can hone your hiring process and they could be critical enough if something goes wrong.

Moreover, when you ask for feedback, you show your respect to them and they can see their opinion is important for the company.

Your candidates build your brand

It’s time-tested that your candidates help you to build your brand, or ruin it. There were dozens of studies that disclosed a direct correlation between interview experience and candidates’ opinion about the company.

If you do everything right, most likely your candidate will leave positive feedback on Glassdoor or share only good things about the company with their peers.

However, if you make a mistake and disappoint your candidate, you risk losing about 15 potential candidates if the candidate starts bad mouthing your company.

Don’t take it personally

We work with individuals and it can be really challenging in some cases. Sometimes, candidates can be in a bad mood and they can say something offensive. I remember a couple of times I got unsavory comments from the candidate’s side. The most memorable is “This stupid b**** doesn’t know what she is talking about.” Apparently, someone was really unhappy about my catchy FB post with a line of C++ code.

The point is they don’t mean it. The best way to react to these type of message is to wish them the best of luck with future endeavours.

There is one more thing some recruiters worry about: rejection. The world isn’t perfect. Sometimes it just doesn’t work and you need to reject a candidate. Even though all candidates are our “friends”, they may need to take another path and find a better place to work. The best thing you can do for these people is to provide your feedback, so they know what they can improve on.

To sum up

  • Remember that you deal with human beings, not with resources.
  • Treat your candidates how you’d like to be treated by your future employer.
  • Build your talent network providing the best experience to your candidates.
  • Learn from feedback.

No doubts, every company has its own approach. Just remember how many unique people you interview every day and how these people can help you to build the best place to work.




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Alexandra Protsenko

Alexandra Protsenko

Help people to find their personal destiny

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