Recruiters need to care more: Expert

by Cameron Edmond11 Nov 2013

With the national unemployment rate continuing to sit between 5.5% and 6%, the number of job seekers – and therefore the work for recruiters – is increasing. Yet it seems the fallow period of the past 12 months has resulted in standards slipping. Tudor Marsden-Huggins, managing director at Employment Office, stated that many recruiters and HR professionals are letting their ‘candidate care standards’ wane.

“Some never did it particularly well in the first place, preferring to spend the vast majority of their time serving the fee-paying client over the non-fee-paying candidate,” he stated.

Marsden-Huggins stated that recruiters have fallen out of touch with the emotional investment and other factors that are at play for a candidate applying for a role. Many candidates may have not had to look for work in a long time, and those who have been made redundant may be feeling desperate.

“Applying for a new job is often a daunting task, and given the recruitment agency model, external recruiters have never been particularly good at smoothing the way for candidates, and their business model doesn't really allow them to be,” he stated.  

“The main issue is that recruitment agencies are rewarded for 'selling people'.  Their efficiency is derived from dropping low value candidates early and without a thorough assessment, and only focusing on the stronger, high-yield candidates they can place quickly for a profit. That doesn't leave much room for quality candidate care.”

While adopting a more thorough approach to candidate care may go against the grain of the traditional recruiter model, Marsden-Huggins believes that it will benefit the industry in the long run.

“Businesses who choose to adopt the right candidate care process, where all applicants are kept properly informed and engaged, are not only in the best position to determine the candidate who is the best fit for their organisation and the role, they are also at a distinct advantage in projecting and protecting a positive recruitment brand to the candidate market.”

With the recruitment agency model under threat from economic pressures and greater access to candidate pools via services such as SEEK and LinkedIn, agencies are forced to adopt more streamlined processes, which Marsden-Huggins believes is a catalyst for the drop in care.


Key HR takeaways

In order to keep costs down but keep care up, Marsden-Huggins suggests organisations adopt a number of procedures – including a ‘shortlisting’ team. He outlined the steps:

  • Use e-recruitment software to handle the basic tasks and save time, such as automated emails when applications are received, generated emails after phone interviews to notify if an applicant has been successful, etcetera.
  • Ensure all phone calls and emails are returned within 24 hours.
  • Gauge candidate feedback on the process through regular workshops. This can also ensure all recruiters are consistently sticking to the policies and procedures.
  • Provide greater feedback to candidates. Being told they didn’t get the job because there was ‘a stronger candidate’, or not given a reason at all is damaging to self-esteem and causes frustration. Instead, provide more thorough and analytical feedback so the candidate still feels the process was worthwhile.


  • by Anonymous 11/11/2013 1:54:34 PM

    With the last bulletpoint regarding providing more feedback, I think most recruiters and HR folks would agree that they'd like to do this. However, a few issues can arise - the candidate will try to argue why the feedback isn't accurate or if it is constructive criticism doesn't handle it well or worst case scenario is legal implications arise which is why most employers stick with vague responses to play it safe.

  • by Judy 11/11/2013 1:59:48 PM

    What a great article and so timely. I just hope that some recruiters are reading it! A friend of mine was made redundant about a year ago. She is skilled, marketable and experienced in a number of areas, however her encounters with many recruiters (and 'encounter' is the nicest word to describe her interactions with them) were nothing short of diabolical!

    As a HR professional, I was appalled to think that people/agencies such as some of the ones she had been forced to deal with could potentially represent me and my organisation in the recruitment market!

    She was treated as a number; she was not kept up to date with applications or interviews she had attended; she was not provided feedback or information; she was put forward for jobs she (a) clearly wasn't qualified/experienced in or (b) weren't her forte for reasons of location or remuneration.

    My friend did get desperate after almost 11 months out of work in a tight market, to the point where she relayed to me that for the first time in her life she was wondering aloud about age discrimination (she's all of 45), particularly with such obviously inexperienced recruiters talking to her and clearly knowing so much less than she.

    One day recruiters, the shoe will be on the other foot. And let's just say from this HR professional's point of view, I will be making very careful decisions in the future about who represents me and how my organisation is represented. You are the face of your client. Even if you have no candidate care, which is wrong to start with, you need to be making sure you are at least representing their values when recruiting for them.

  • by RivercityIR 11/11/2013 2:43:06 PM

    The recruitment industry as a whole needs a massive massive overhaul. Even so far as to test and licence individuals and companies.

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