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How to deliver a positive customer experience as a recruiter

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One member of the team decided that it's time to set the record straight!


“Treat everybody you come into contact with with respect. Clients become candidates and candidates become clients so the more people you leave with a good impression the more you will get back from your customers.”


Having read an article on LinkedIn last week, a number of people urged me to put some thoughts together. The article seemed to focus on any and every negative experience possible in our industry, which caused tensions to rise and recruiters to stand up for themselves, and for customers (I prefer to refer to clients and candidates as customers as we value them both equally at Wade Macdonald) to add their bad experiences.

First though, let’s take a step back for a second. Of course, consumers have bad experiences with service providers more or less on a daily basis… and when it comes to recruiters, we’re often up there with Estate Agents and door-to-door sales people in peoples minds and I think this is due to the fact that we work in an unregulated industry and there are so many different types of recruiters out there.

Staggeringly, last year alone saw 5110 new recruitment startups* set up in the UK. How many of those succeed, will most likely remain a mystery…this industry is tough, and you need to be able to make yourself stand out - preferably in a positive light. I think that if recruitment professionals considered their personal brand more with each experience they have with a customer that they may be able to change this negative perception.


These are my Golden Rules for a positive experience:


1.    Under-promise and over-deliver - From my first day in recruitment in March 2001 I made the decision that I would never tell a candidate that I would get them their next dream job. Not everyone would agree with this, but over the last 15 years, this has served me well.  How can you guarantee to achieve something that is out of your control?  So much of the candidate match is about team and person fit, assuming of course, that the skills match has been done well by the recruiter, the rest is up to the people working out whether they can work together to get the job done well.

2.    Communication is key - This includes listening! : The key is to get the bigger picture. It will be very hard to get everything a 100% right, especially at the beginning…but you should always aim to get at least 80% of what the client wants [you to get]. Pay attention to what they say, and how they say it - and don’t forget to ask difficult questions as well; What type of boss works best for you? What can you do without and what are your non-negotiables for your next role? Think about what you want to achieve, but try also to be flexible.

3.    Go the extra mile - I once took a candidate to the interview and dropped her off afterwards, she wasn’t offered the job, but I got some very positive PR with the client and also some great referrals from the candidate.  Always call or text your candidate before they go to the interview, call them the day they start and keep close to them (and your client) through the early days.  This shows respect and appreciation, the recruiter who runs away from post placement communication will rarely get the opportunity to work again with that person(s)!

4.   Build a strong Personal brand - With Linkedin, Twitter and other social media and online channels now  playing a prominent role in all aspects of recruitment, you must keep building and protecting your brand, this is your USP.  I always ask for referrals on LinkedIn - I probably receive less than 5% back but, if you don’t tell people about the good stuff, they won’t know. You can also showcase your industry expertise by sharing insightful articles (not just jobs) to show your candidates and clients that you are an expert in their area.

5.    Honesty is the best policy - If you can’t help, don’t try!  At Wade Macdonald, we specialise in recruiting in HR and Finance; if a candidate comes to us looking for Marketing, Engineering, IT etc. we pass them along to an agency that can help them. You cannot be a Jack-of-all-trades because your candidates will suffer. Be a specialist and stand firm, your expertise will count for a lot and your clients will want to listen to your advice on the market you focus on!

These rules have served me well and Wade Macdonald is delighted to have a 4.7/5 rate on Feefo from hundreds of happy candidates.

My boss once said to me “ Let your worst better your competitors best”, it has never left my side and I always think about it when recruiting. I believe that if we are able to use the points above in our daily work, we are able to strike a balance with all of the different people involved in the process. After all, recruitment is one of the few professions in which the relationship between the different parties is an important factor. That notion however, is a completely different story...maybe for next time ?

Have you had a good or bad experience with a recruitment rep? I’d love to hear your stories.

Thanks for reading!


*According to this Sonovate article.


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