A couple of months ago I received a fairly narky email from a prospective candidate. The issue was, it seems, that the candidate had received an automated response from an application to a job advert. The automated response stated, fairly kindly, that I receive a LOT of applications to roles I post, and that if the application was successful I would be in touch – but that if they didn’t hear anything not to be downhearted and to keep an eye on the Propel website to see if anything else takes their fancy.
Unfortunately the candidate didn’t take to this too kindly, and before I even had chance to check out this person’s CV I received an email stating that ‘we either had business to discuss or we didn’t’ and to refrain from sending patronising responses. I replied, nicely, explaining that it was an automated response, and that actually on this occasion the CV wasn’t quite right, but wishing them best of luck for the future. To which I got a reply. Subject: Luck is for rabbits… and recruiters. Content: short scathing email about how ‘high-end’ the candidate was and how they didn’t actually need my help at all. I replied – this is the final email – saying that I was sorry they felt that way, and that we have Propel Executive who may be able to help if they were looking for senior positions. I received no response.
Anyway, my point in telling you this is that my job involves much more, SO much more than luck, and if I receive an email like this it doesn’t *really* endear the candidate to me. I’m not threatening – I wouldn’t dream of it – but it’s also the candidate’s responsibility to make sure that I can do the best job for them.
So, following that, here are a few things that mean a relationship between a candidate and recruiter can blossom with mutual respect.
1. If you want a job, make yourself available
I don’t mean skip work, suspend your social life, answer your phone at your desk – I just mean that there needs to be a bit of flexibility from both sides when it comes to responding to emails, taking calls and attending interviews. Unfortunately, the clients we deal with are generally very busy (often senior people at the clients who have a lot going on), so when they give us time slots for interviews, they are generally the only options. If you are serious about finding a new job you need to give a little; make sure that leave work on time, arrange interviews for first thing in the morning (yes, it’s early, but go to bed earlier!), take a half day holiday. If you can’t give this much, the clients think that you aren’t serious. Harsh, but true. If you want to find a new job, you have to SHOW that you want the new job.
2. Respond to me…
If I email you with a new job vacancy, with interview times, with questions from a client – reply! We have lots of candidates on our books, and our clients don’t wait forever to get the candidates in. If they request to see three people, and two of them get back with availability immediately and the other takes three days, they will see the ones who get back first asap. You could miss out on jobs by taking your time. All it takes is a quick text or two line email with availability or stating your (dis)interest in a role. In return I promise that as soon as I hear from a client I will be in touch, and I will give feedback as soon as possible – whether positive or negative – after an interview.
3. Keep me updated
Although it’s every recruiter’s dream to have candidates on an exclusive basis, we’re not silly – we know this doesn’t always happen, especially if you have a very specific skill set. All we ask is that if you have other interviews, or get offered, or even accept another job, tell us. It means we won’t keep bombarding you with ‘exciting opportunities’, and it also means we can keep our clients informed with your situation. Although we never pressure anyone into offering a job or accepting, if you have two jobs you’re interested in then we can manage the client’s expectations, meaning they will make decisions quicker and with more thought.
4. If you accept a job, stop interviewing
It’s a fairly simple one, but so often ignored. If you accept a job offer, that means you are taking that job. (Should be) End of. If you’re not sure, or you have other interviews that are more exciting for you then revisit point number 3. Don’t accept a job just to have a back up. Don’t accept a job to try and up another offer. Don’t accept a job just to get a pay rise in your current position. You’ll burn so many bridges that eventually no recruiter will work with you, and no client will even think about interviewing you. Only accept a job if you are 100% sure you want it – it will save so many people’s time, relationships and reputation.
5. I’m not just in this for the commission
As with all the above points, I can only speak from my point of view – yes, I work for Propel, and I expect they share some of my sentiments but I can only tell you what I do and how I do it. On that note – I’m not just in this for commission. If I call you in between you accepting a job and starting, it’s because I want to know that the client is still getting what I’ve promised them (NB at this point I haven’t received any commission. My company has not received any money. I can’t be doing this to save my commission). If I call you after you have started, it’s because I’m eager to know how you’re getting on. I invest one hell of a lot of time into each and every candidate and each and every client – I want to make sure that my hard work is paying off, not just through commission, but through people’s happiness. My top moment of recruitment is not my pay packet, it’s when I tell a candidate that I’ve spent a lot of time with and put forward for interviews that they’ve been offered the job they’ve been hankering after since I met them. It’s the thrill in their voice and the near disbelief that this dream company, offering this dream job, could have picked them. That is why I do recruitment. So please, if I call you and ask how you are or how you’re getting on, don’t say ‘It’s ok Laura, your commission is safe!’ – because that is the last thing on my mind.
Phew. Bit of an epic blog post. Hope that all makes sense – basically what it comes down to is that we are all very busy people with high workloads – all it takes is some thought and, most of the time, a quick email to make this relationship work easily and quickly, without letting anyone down. We’re here for you, to help you, so the easier we can make it work, the happier everyone will be.