Why you shouldn’t burn bridges in recruitment


When John Donne remarked that no man was an island, he couldn’t have dreamed how apt that would be some 500 years later. In our hyper-connected world where anything you say can, and will, be used against you on the internet, the way we conduct ourselves professionally has become more important than ever. This can be also be applied to the recruitment industry.

Marina Shifrin caused a social media storm in September 2013 when she resigned via interpretive dance on Youtube, but she took a big risk in permanently damaging her professional reputation. In an industry of fierce competition, fostering and maintaining good relationships can make all the difference between longevity and merely getting by. Here’s why:


People talk

You’re having a bad day. You’ve dropped your phone, you didn’t have breakfast and the candidate you’re supposed to meet is 20 minutes late. By the time they turn up with stories of tube delays or missing cabs, you’re irritable and not at all interested in what they’re saying. Maybe you’re a little short with them, maybe they deserve it. But then the candidate gets on social media and tells the world you were dismissive, abrupt or rude.

A quick Google search will now reveal this one bad experience to anyone who’s interested and it’ll stick in their mind when it’s time to decide who to work with. Things can so easily get out of hand and you can do serious damage to your own personal brand for even a momentary lapse of professionalism.


Personality is key

Candidates will often complain about how disheartening job-hunting is. It can be a frustrating, dehumanising activity where personalities are whittled away into generic cover letters and resumes until they are nothing but application numbers. So when it comes to dealing with candidates, you’re likely to be more successful if you forgo the revolving door policy.

Spend a little time thinking of them as individuals and come up with some interesting interview questions to set you apart from others. Similarly, by making an effort to get to know your clients, you have a better chance of success.

A job description may give you a reasonable idea of what type of candidate is needed, but by working more closely with clients you’ll have a better understanding of their culture, drive and working environment. This personal touch shows you are committed to finding the right candidate and clients will keep coming back to you because you understand their needs.

Loyalty matters

There’s a famous scene in Jerry Maguire when, having been fired, Jerry freaks out and expects his co-workers to walk out with him. He also expects his clients to stick with him. While things don’t go exactly to plan, he does manage to leave with a couple of allies. Establishing a good working relationship with a client can result in constant business. After all, providing a pleasant experience is just as important as providing results. By creating a sense of brand loyalty, clients and candidates are more likely to continue working with you because they feel they can rely on you. Satisfied clients, through word of mouth and positive feedback, will usually also generate new business.

Fostering good relationships benefits all parties. Recruiters develop professional reputations and retained engagement, while clients and candidates are presented with actual understanding, consistency, better service and a greater chance for success.

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