Staffing and Candidate Relationships Must Change

Staffing firms handling of candidates has evolved into fast food style relationship as opposed to being a more precise, thought out interactions.  This is harmful to both parties, and also impacts the ultimate quality of placement that occurs with a client.  I think candidates deserve more when working with a recruiter and should begin demanding more from that relationship.   After all, they are the reason the recruiter has the opportunity to do business with their target companies in the first place.

Conversely, any good job seeker should understand that not every recruiter, as noble as their intentions and effort may be, will be able to find them a job.  So, both parties should view this as a learning exercise and opportunity to build a relationship that persists beyond the placement…

  • The interview needs to become a conversation.  Gone are the days where a staffing company can “process” a job seeker.  It’s up to the recruiter to understand exactly what the candidate is capable of and WANTS to do.  Candidates, on the other hand, should be looking to explore the recruiter specifically and the company in general to determine if they are a good fit to help them find the positions they are most interested in.  It’s up to both parties to determine if there is an alignment of skills, goals, and priorities between the two parties.
  • Job seekers need to tap into the power of the recruiter’s network.  Who is their client base?  What types of jobs to they typically fill?  What industries to they operate most effectively within? The candidate should use this as an opportunity to screen recruiters in or out, based on whether or not they are a great resource for the candidate.
  • Not every recruiter can find every candidate a job – but the experience should be an education process for both sides.  Recruiters should understand that most people they work with aren’t looking for a job every day.  They’ve often found themselves in that mode for the first time in year, thus probably could use a little coaching and direction.  Job seekers, on the other hand, need to use the recruiter’s knowledge base to strengthen their understanding of how to look for a job and what works.  They should ask questions about their resume, interview style, approach to job search and be willing to receive candid feedback to improve.  The staffing interview is a unique opportunity to de-formalize the interview process a bit.
  • Establish a communication plan.  This is the part I see missed the most.  Each party walks away with no idea (and sadly, sometimes no intent) of when they will communicate again.  Both parties (particularly the recruiter) need to openly discuss and acknowledge what a communication plan looks like.  And if one has determined that it is not a good fit, then that needs to be openly acknowledged.

In closing, I believe that we work in an age where the most in demand skills are the hardest to find.  As a result, it’s important that relationships between staffing partners and job seekers continues to evolve.  It needs to be an open, transparent dialogue, with the job seekers best interest at the heart of the discussion.  If we all embrace this philosophy, the results will be great for everyone.