7 steps to achieve a better recruiter experience


There are many smart recruiters out there – just as there are many smart candidates.

So why are so many smart candidates having such bad experiences with recruiters?


I’ve been inspired to write this blog because of ongoing feedback I receive about bad candidate experiences with internal and external recruiters.

And in a recent article in the New Zealand Herald, a survey by a software firm mirrored pretty much of what my own clients are telling me. But I believe for the most part as a job search candidate you can change this, and at the very least not get bogged down and distracted by it.

It’s inevitable that as a job searcher you will at some point be disappointed by the outcome of the recruitment process simply because you don’t always win the opportunity. That’s life. But let’s not confuse your disappointment in the outcome with a bad candidate experience.

But your candidate experience doesn’t have to be bad.

There are ways to mitigate the risk of a bad candidate experience by following a few simple steps.

Below are 7 key points raised in the NZ Herald article and the associated steps to counter each of the negative experiences found. (the link to the full article is at the end of this post).

  1. Fifty-one per cent of respondents said they would rather apply for a position direct with a company than through a recruitment agency.

    You will experience similar issues when dealing with internal recruiters. So the below pointers still apply!

    It’s important to build relationships early. Not just with recruiters – but with prospective hiring managers too.

  2. “Agencies fail to return calls and candidates often never receive feedback as to why they didn’t make the grade, or recommendations for how to improve. Most jobseekers just want honest advice on ‘what am I doing wrong?'”.

    To help in not being disappointed always call first and agree protocols around communications and feedback through establishing a rapport with the consultant. Difficult if recruiters don’t take calls. But you can do something about this.

    Try to build and maintain relationships early – not just when you want that job, so that receiving a call from you, and calling you back is what they do. Nurture the habit.

  3. “All candidates should be treated with the same level of respect and integrity as the client community” (Jane Kennelly, director of Frog Recruitmentlove this lady!!)

    Well unfortunately Jane’s not like all recruiters. My experience is that while most recruiters ‘talk the talk’, only a few ‘walk the talk’. Jane’s one of the smart recruiters who walk the talk.

    Build a solid and on-going relationship with your preferred recruiters. It’s a two-way street. Know what it takes to be front of mind.

    The smart recruiter will nurture relationships with top talent.

    The smart candidate will nurture relationships with top recruiters.

    Work with smart recruiters.

  4. Jane goes on to say… “candidates who are unsuccessful are provided feedback”.

    If you’re a candidate that has made it to interview, then you should expect feedback. Again – this is not always the case, particularly on the first pass screen and you’ll often receive a generic, non personalised applicant tracking system generated response.

    Call first and make sure they know you’re applying.

    Set and agree the protocols for the recruitment process up front. Confirm in an e-mail and follow up on your application

  5. “Lack of transparency on the identity of the hiring company …. faceless recruitment jobs is uninspiring and a turn-off if you’ve had bad luck previously with recruitment agencies.”

    Do your research. You can find out – but it means having a functional network and working a bit like a terrier.  Approach any opportunity just as a successful sales person would.

    They hunt, research, go around the gate keepers and qualify leads before getting a meeting, submitting a proposal or even trying to ‘sell’ a solution. Check that the agency is not doing an ‘ad chase’ . i.e. are they the preferred recruiter or just a ‘me too’?

  6. 90 per cent of candidates said if the agency is poor in its service delivery, it would affect their opinion of the business advertising the job they were applying for”.

    Be careful with this one. In making the assumption that just because the agency or internal recruitment process is bad the company is bad as well isn’t always true. It’s extremely unfortunate that the recruiter and/or the recruitment process is damaging the employer brand, but you can check out the company by undertaking due diligence before and during the recruitment process.

    Use your networks. Sometimes people who have left an organisation leave it under a cloud – so balance your research carefully.

  7. “Most candidates look to agencies for support, particularly wanting help with improving their resume, interview coaching and application advice”

    Reality check! Most agencies don’t provide this service. However, a good recruiter will provide you with feedback/advice on your CV and interview skills. It’s most likely going to be brief and in alignment with how they like to work.

    During the screening and interview process ask for advice. Take what you can from the recruitment process, learn and adapt. ‘If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got’. If you feel you want to hit the ground running – engage a coach who specialises in personal branding, CV, LinkedIn and interview coaching.

I trust these points will at least give you a lead on how to manage your relationships with recruiters, mitigating the potential for a bad experience which doesn’t have to be that way.

If you have had a great recruitment experience – how about writing a recommendation for the recruiter on their LinkedIn profile.

And I’d love to know who you’d recommend as a first class recruiter!


You can read the full article in the New Zealand Herald by clicking here:

All the best with creating a great working relationship with your recruiter!

Follow Craig McAlpine and MyCareerBrand.net:

Website: www.mycareerbrand.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MyCareerBrand.net

Blog: http://mycareerbrand.net/blog.html

Twitter: @MyCareerBrand #MyCareerBrand

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About Craig:

Craig works with his career clients to build their Personal Brand, LinkedIn Profile, Curriculum Vitae (CV) and interview skills.  He also works with corporates and individuals who require assistance to build their internal brand, Outplacement/Career Transition, and to engineer inbound traffic for their sales teams.

He is recognised for his ability to develop his clients’ communication skills to enable them to sell their value proposition to managers for internal advancement, employers and recruitment consultants, increasing their confidence, and positioning them to find and win career opportunities.

Craig draws on over 20 years of leadership experience within various sectors including Recruitment, Professional Services, Financial Services, and Technology, supported by a strong background in Sales and Marketing.

His clients span from New Zealand, Australia, UAE and across to the UK, and his career advice articles are read by many thousands of career mined individuals across more than 135 countries.


Contact: www.MyCareerBrand.net Phone: +64 21 666 807, +64 9 5222802 e-mail: info@mycareerbrand.net Craig McAlpine's Linked In profile: http://goo.gl/OxFOKZ MISSION Working with Job Search Candidates to build their go-to-market strategy, develop powerful marketing collateral such as their CV, LinkedIn profile and social media presence, and ultimately to secure a new role that is not only rewarding but also assists them on their career journey. EXPERTISE Career Coaching - LinkedIn Training - LinkedIn Optimisation - Personal Branding - Job Hunt: Go to Market Strategy and Collateral - CV design and preparation - Interview skills INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE - Professional Services - Information Technology - Banking and Finance - Recruitment

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Posted in Applying For a Role, Communications, Curriculum Vitae, CV, Interview Skills, Networking, Others

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