Are you Making a Difference to your Candidates’ Lives?

Sean Walsh talks about the problems in the recruitment world!

As recruiters, we also think that recruitment sucks

There’s an problem in the recruitment world. It’s not new, but it is profound. Recruitment has a trust issue. This is due, in my opinion, to a combination of factors including technology and competition.



Don’t get me wrong, technology is wonderful. It automates workflows and makes life easier. But, in part, because technology has made recruitment available to everyone, there aren’t enough people giving recruitment the human touch. This means that, in many instances, if people don’t have the right experience for a job, on paper, they won’t be considered – even if they’re a near-perfect match in other ways. As a result, people are not feeling the love. They’re seen as just another commodity, rather than a person, and are being treated as such.


The recruitment industry is also highly competitive. Growing by 9% annually, the UK recruitment industry is now worth £35.1bn, employs over 100,000 and has a registered 23,980 agencies. As a result, a lot of recruitment agencies have turned into sausage factories. Recruiters are under the cosh, they have heavy targets to meet and owners of recruitment businesses think the way to get the best out of their workforce is to measure and micro-manage their workers to the nth degree – to have X number of calls made, Y number of interviews arranged. This means that, for the average recruiter, time spent with a candidate who doesn’t get the job could be considered wasted time that puts the business out of pocket. It can all become a numbers game, and people suffer as a result.

People need to be treated better by recruiters

There is an alternative way to see candidates, however. This approach is people-focused, rather than just number focused. For me candidates need to be treated better by recruiters for two reasons:

1)      common decency – I believe that you should treat people in the way you want to be treated;

2)      because it’s the right thing to do. The candidate of today should walk away from an experience with a sense that they’ve been treated fairly and unbiasedly.

On the flip side, candidates have a responsibility to treat recruiters professionally too. It’s as simple as coming back to recruiters with feedback after interviews, as well as being open to opportunities in the first place.

There’s also a third reason that people treating candidates like people, rather than just targets, is important: it’s just good business sense. Today’s candidate could be tomorrow’s client. Even if you don’t get them into a role, if you treat them well they might become a hiring manager in time and they’ll remember you. If you’ve left a positive lasting impression, that’s wonderful business development.

Good recruitment is a partnership

When recruitment is done right, it’s not just about trying to get someone a job, it’s about building a relationship with them. That’s what recruiters should be doing because a job isn’t just something you do a few hours a day, it actually becomes a large part of your life.

Great recruiters know that spending the time to find the right person for a role pays dividends – not just because if people stay beyond their probation period it secures the sale – but in the long term, because happy candidates become repeat clients. When recruitment is done right, in some instances, recruiters can actually become long-term allies and, dare I say it, perhaps even friends.

Putting the trust back into recruitment – one candidate at a time

In conclusion, lack of trust is understandably a big problem with the recruitment industry today. And it’s easy, in many instances, to understand why candidates don’t trust recruiters.

In our case, it’s different. At collective-i, the vast majority of our work comes from referrals – from candidates we’ve hired, who use us to hire their own staff in future. Quite frankly, we wouldn’t hear back from them if they didn’t trust us and trust that we will do a good job again the second time.


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