Taking the long term view: How ongoing contact with candidates will boost your agency brand

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 60% of candidates never hear back from their recruitment consultant after attending an interview arranged by that recruiter. What the f**k are these people doing?

Not only is this making said recruiter look like an utter tool, it’s seriously damaging the reputation of the agency they represent – and how many of those follow the staple line of “Many of candidates eventually become clients”?!

Your agency ‘brand’ goes beyond having a great looking website and eye-catching marketing collateral, it is demonstrated by the expectation your candidate and clients have of working with you and the experience they feel when they engage you. Get this wrong and you become the epitome of what so many people detest about recruiters. So, how do you get it right?

It’s a simple matter of ‘engagement.’ Think of it like a coffee shop.

The coffee in Starbucks isn’t necessarily superior in taste or quality to that served by Pret. OK, coffee aficionados may beg to differ, but the point is that most of us enjoy the coffee shop experience.

It’s the same when it comes to recruitment – get the ‘experience’ element right for your ‘customers’ (yes, candidates are your customers) and you will increase the probability of getting repeat customers and word of mouth referrals.

Engage, support, act

If you truly have your candidates’ future career prospects at the heart of what you do, show them:

  1. KIT: Retain the candidates’ details and send keep in touch (KIT) communications either via text or email – how is their job search progressing? Show that you care.
  2. New role, better suitability: Do you have a different role that has just landed on your desk which an unsuccessful candidate for a previous role may be better suited?
  3. Share and support: Help them prepare better for their next application – add them to your fortnightly or monthly candidate newsletters (obviously get their explicit consent to do so in light of the upcoming GDPR in May). Share information that is relevant to them such as latest industry trends, details of new assignments that you are working on, career advice, interview hints and tips.

Keep your talent ‘assured’ over the long-term

Any candidate engagement strategy should be aimed at both sets of candidates – those you successfully placed, and those you did not. One way in which you can engage and nurture the relationship you have with both parties simultaneously is by continuing the ‘conversation’ long after the business end of the relationship has passed.

For example, we have worked with over 80 recruitment agencies and search firms over the years and what makes some of them stand apart is the ongoing relationship they have with their clients and candidates. One agency we worked with had a great approach which they dubbed ‘talent assurance’.

This simple yet highly effective approach saw them retaining dialogue with each successfully placed candidate for the first 100 days in their new role. The purpose for doing so was simple – it ensured their candidate had not only fully adapted to their new role and become fully integrated into the company, but also that they were meeting the performance related criteria set out at the start of their employment.

The benefits?

For the candidate, they recognised that their recruiter had their best interests in mind, while the client benefitted from having an employee who is being supported both externally and internally. This also reduces the risk of that candidate jumping ship if a better opportunity comes along.

Having an ongoing relationship with your candidates demonstrates that your genuinely wish to keep them at the forefront of your mind and that you will contact them should a new opportunity presents itself. This makes the candidate feel valued and you will retain a relationship which could yet result in a successful placement further down the line.

Engagement doesn’t end when an applicant has been rejected, and it certainly doesn’t end if an applicant has been successful either. Grow your talent base and keep them informed. Engage with them, support them, and keep the relationship ongoing.

By helping applicants achieve their career aspirations, you will by default be helping to build your own recruitment brand both in a reputational and progressive sense.