Behavioural choices are often heavily influenced by the expected outcome.
A recruiter might be annoyed that a candidate doesn’t return their phone call, but how many unanswered calls will that candidate have made to various recruiters? A candidate might back out of a phone interview at the last minute, but how many times have their calls been rearranged?
Respect is often a two-way street.
If recruiters don’t engage with their candidates appropriately (and treat them like humans rather than as a commodity), then why should they expect to be treated any differently in return?
The recruitment process has been dehumanised to the extent that there is often far too little meaningful contact with candidates. A candidate is at a crucial crossroads in their life – they deserve a warm and challenging interview with a recruiter who is interested in them rather than the keywords on their CV. It is sadly often the case that they only get a few generic ‘qualifying’ questions to tick some boxes, and then they hear the fatal phrase ’we’ll get back to you if we hear anything.’ When this latter approach is followed, the candidate often doesn’t hear anything because the recruiter doesn’t have a clue what value they might bring just by calling.
When recruiters don’t care, why should candidates be expected to care?
So, this begs the question – if candidates were more engaged from the beginning of the recruitment process, would they treat recruiters better? Communication lies at the heart of this issue. When you have a common goal with someone and plot a path to achieve it, you automatically forge a mutual bond. If a recruiter takes the time to show an interest in the needs of a candidate, the candidate will often be equally sensitive to the needs of a recruiter. Whether or not a process is successful, a positive experience will often lead to a long-term relationship – something that is all too rare in our industry.
Ironically, technology could be stepping into the breach to save the day.
I wrote about recruitment chatbots in my last article, and one person even commented about the possibility of human brains being enhanced by technology to function on a higher plane. Technology is already prompting us to interact with each other more effectively, and although I can’t see chatbots being the answer for our industry’s woes, there may well be some technological solutions which could help us deal with each other that little bit more humanely. Recruiters deal with a lot of different people every day, and it is not always easy to remember the individual issues, so anything that would help recruitment to become more personal would be welcome from my point of view.
As with many things, it comes down to the question of choosing your attitude. If a recruiter chooses to adopt a partnership mindset with their candidates, they won’t go far wrong. We are there to help, and if we do that, we will be treated better in return.
Maybe candidates treat us like dirt because we treat them like dirt?