Subscribe to industry newsletters

HR & Management jobs

MoreSubmit a jobOpen account
Search jobs

How recruiters can get the best out of a new candidate

The latest official figures show that 6.7 million unemployed South Africans are currently looking for jobs. Yet not many candidates enjoy the prospect of a job interview. Choosing an outfit to create the right impression, finding the tricky balance between selling themselves and showing off, and thinking of something to ask at the end of the meeting when the interviewer utters that dreaded phrase: "Do you have any questions for us?" It's no wonder some jobseekers come out in a cold sweat - so what can be done to make the recruitment process a more enjoyable experience?
How recruiters can get the best out of a new candidate

The interview, of course, is only one of many stages of a selection process that a recruiter knows all too well but a candidate may be unaware of. Key to making that interview a less scary prospect – and to attracting first-class candidates – is first-class treatment, which means communication.

A good recruiter knows that building a relationship in person via email or over the phone, perhaps when deciding on a date to meet and explaining what the job entails, can go a long way to removing trepidation by engaging with the candidate on a human, one-to-one level. Taking this approach rather than hiding behind the facade of an automated and impersonal message is likely to relax the candidate, allowing them to perform better and to give you a clearer idea of who they really are when you actually meet.

In two new surveys featured in a report on the Human Resources Director website, global consulting firm Korn Ferry found that 90% of jobseekers and 80% of recruiters agreed that it was “very or extremely important” to establish a good working relationship, and that an “informed” and “responsive” recruiter elevated the experience. Tales of “ghosting” (that is, failing to respond when a candidate doesn’t get the job) are all too common in recruitment, so a recruiter who leads a candidate through the entire process – from that initial call to final feedback – is likely to resonate, even if the candidate is ultimately unsuccessful or chooses a role elsewhere. Circumstances may change a year or two down the line, so it pays to play the long game – and it’s the right thing to do, too.

Setting the right expectations is another important factor for first-class treatment. Don’t overpromise what the role involves, and don’t undersell it either – neither party is likely to benefit unless both is scrupulously honest with the other. And if you want to attract the best talent, it helps to present a professional appearance that shows you take them and their work seriously. Booking a well-appointed interview room, like the ones at Regus, close to a candidate’s location speaks volumes about what you’re prepared to invest in them, avoids the embarrassment of trying to ask questions in a noisy coffee shop, and shows the respect you have for them by making it easier for them to meet you.

It’s also worth remembering that recruitment is an expensive business: according to Palomino Training Solutions it costs from 35% to 100% of a candidates annual salary to hire someone. Costs include the cost of the job advert, testing costs, evaluating costs, training costs and recruitment fees. For senior hires it can cost up to 200% according to Jason Davies, the Africa Head of Leadership, Learning, Talent and Resourcing at Barclay’s Africa Group.

So, it makes sense to get it right and do as much as you can to attract the best candidates for the job. Davies believes that “the impact to an organisation of making a bad hiring decision is 50% of an employee’s annual salary.”

Clear lines of communication, being open and transparent at all times, and walking the candidate through the process all help. When the candidate feels valued, they will be more likely to respond in kind and value you and your company too – a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Let's do Biz