The 1 thing that will make you a better recruiter

by in Recruitment

Being the best is the only market that is not crowded” – George Whalin

You communicate with confidence, network like a pro and negotiate like your life depends on it. With a natural flair for sales and the ability to portray multi-tasking as an art, you know how to spot an opportunity and you’re good at what you do.

Your profession can change lives. Yet it receives a huge amount of stick.

There is something missing. Something else that will make you even better at what you do, satisfy the unhappy candidates and in turn boost both your reputation and commission. Even if you are great at what you do, you’re not the best you can be if you’re not doing this one thing. Remember, every candidate accounts.

In the name of self-improvement, relationship management and business development… Close every relationship you open.

That’s it. It’s that simple. So what does it look like?

Relationship 1: The Candidate You Don’t Even Speak With

They applied online and didn’t make the shortlist. You don’t have the time to contact them directly. Not only are they likely to be awaiting a response, but what happens next will impact their opinion of your agency and – if your name was on the job ad – you. As a bare minimum, make sure they get a polite, values affirming automated email addressed from you.

Relationship 2: The Candidate You Speak To On The Phone

This candidate’s CV led you telephone screen, but they have not been offered an interview. Whether or not they made your shortlist to the client, they are probably waiting to find out if they will be offered an interview. As you have spoken with the candidate, a personalised email is the bare minimum here. Share any client feedback for bonus points.

Relationship 3: The Candidate Who Makes Additional Effort and Falls Short

Sometimes you might need to ask a candidate to prepare additional information for an application. Perhaps a client has requested something over and above the usual CV. The candidate has made the effort, but it’s not quite up to scratch and you’re not going to proceed. Thank them and let them know.

Relationship 4: The Candidate Rejected at Interview Stage

If your candidate interviews with the client but they don’t get the job, let them know. It amazes me that this doesn’t happen 100% of the time. Remember how important they were to you when they were offered the interview. Call them and give them feedback.


This isn’t all about being nice for the sake of being nice. Whilst being friendly is great, it probably is not one of your KPIs. Relationship Management, however, should be. Relationships impact brand reputation, which impacts the numbers of clients and candidates you work with. Which impacts the bottom line.

Candidates fill roles. Turn candidates away and they might go elsewhere next time. You will fill fewer roles and it’s another agency’s gain.

Candidates speak to other candidates, current, potential and future. Bad news spreads and poor reputations stick.

Candidates are also people who are in jobs and will get new jobs. This makes them potential clients, stakeholders and colleagues of stakeholders. Personally, if I have had a bad experience with a recruiter as a candidate, I’m unlikely to want to work with them as an HR Manager. If you cannot manage a candidate relationship, I’d question your ability to represent my business.

It’s simple. Start with hello, end with goodbye. Win more, make more.

Stevie Barnes has worked in HR for a decade, supporting organisational development and picking up best practice along the way across Healthcare, IT, FMCG and Automotive industries to name a few. Having managed recruitment, HR and HRIS teams, she is interested in getting the most out people, processes and businesses – you can read more of Stevie’s blog posts on LinkedIn and follow her tweets here.