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Trust me, I’m a recruiter!

All day, every day, I’m logged in to LinkedIn. This might be on the App on my phone in between ‘sets’ at the gym, or on my computer.  Either way I like to keep an eye on my feed, as much as time allows.

A repetitive theme on LinkedIn is disgruntled clients and candidates, along with anecdotes of poor recruitment, and then recruiters (the good, the bad and the ugly!) chiming in with their views on this too.

It can be tough being a recruiter (violins at the ready!), and I confess that my standard dinner party patter is often almost ‘apologetic’ when I’m asked what I do for a living.  For many, Recruiters, Estate Agents and Car Salesmen all fall into the same category, and not for the right reasons - which in my view can often be totally unjustified.

So why is it happening? Why is daily ‘recruiter bashing’ becoming a thing on LinkedIn?

Yes, it’s HIGHLY likely that there are poor recruiters out there, who are ‘bums on seats’, ‘commission driven’ individuals who fell in to recruitment and are totally consumed by targets.  This in turn means that, more often than not, they are unable to deliver on a quality service for both clients and candidates. But, for all of these ‘awful, unprofessional, inept’ (sic) individuals, what about the rest of us?  What about the rest of us who are concerned with the quality end, who go the extra mile and who feel passionately about the work that we do?  Surely, we don’t all deserve to be tarred with the same brush?

Is there something else is in the mix that is contributing to this poor reputation and this daily bashing? Could it be that ‘expectations’ are not being managed at both ends of the process and that communication is often lacking across the board? 

Client Management

Here at Beyond the Book, client management is absolutely key. When we are briefed on a new role, it’s extremely important to us to manage client expectations in terms of timescales and the current market place.

More often than not, clients will advise us that they need someone ASAP, perhaps due to a resignation, a pitch win or just a new project that requires extra resource as soon as possible! We will always do our best to work to tight timescales, and there are often cases where we have the perfect candidate sitting on our database, pre-qualified and ready to go.

There are of course, more often than not, cases where we will need to go out and generate interest in the role, advertise on the relevant job boards, do our own searching and headhunting, and then go through the qualification process.

We pride ourselves on a rigorous qualification process, which will often mean we only send 1-3 VERY good CV’s of people that we have met and that we have fully engaged about our client and the role in question. All of this takes time, but it’s time well spent because it means that clients aren’t spending their time sifting through mediocre CV’s of candidates who just want A job, as opposed to THE job in question.

So, in summary it can take anything from 2-4 weeks to find and qualify great candidates – longer if it’s a complex role that requires someone who is the perfect cultural fit, as well as ticking all of the skills and attribute boxes – lest we forget we are dealing with actual, real life human beings here…!

Time spent finding the right candidate now will save time and money further down the line. The last thing we want is for a client to panic, due to workload, take someone on who ‘sort of’ meets the brief, and then find themselves looking again in 6-months because it didn’t work out.

Hence, client management is key. 

**Another key piece of advice here is forward planning - where possible, try not to leave your recruitment needs until the last minute, especially if you’re hoping for a handover period. Very often people are on at least 1 months’ notice and it’s not uncommon now for people to be on 3 months’ notice**.

Candidate Management

One of the most common complaints I see on LinkedIn about recruiters, from a candidates stand-point, is the lack of communication. Whether that is in the initial stages, “they never call me back, and I can never get them on the phone”, or at the end of a process. Especially, if the candidate has been unsuccessful, “they were all over me like a rash until I was unsuccessful and then I never heard from them again”.

As with clients, candidate management is key to us at Beyond the Book, and we like to ensure that candidates are never chasing us and we try our absolute best to keep them up to date and in the loop with application processes.  It’s not always easy when a client is stacked and struggling to give us feedback, but we always do what we can to ensure that candidates don’t feel forgotten or unimportant – this all comes down to regular communication and management. It can be a juggling act! 

We like to make every candidate feel that they are being looked after, which, when we speak to the amount of people that we do every day, can be tricky. So, if you get told we are on the phone or in a meeting – we genuinely are and we will do our best to come back to you. We are very happy to call, text, email, and we’ll respond to text and WhatsApp from early in the morning, into the evening, because we appreciate that it can be very difficult to talk at work. 

So, give it a go.  I’ll do what I can to reply.  It might be when I'm at the gym or after ‘Game of Thrones’, but I will do what I can to give you my time – just ask!

To summarise, (if you’ve not given up reading yet!), there are many reasons that recruiters get a tough time on LinkedIn, and there are occasions where ‘rogue’ recruiters are deserving of it.  But for the most part, it’s simply down to poor communication and expectation management.  So let’s all just communicate more, be that on the phone, over email, or face to face!

By Emma