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3 Reasons to Treat Your Candidates Like Customers

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When most of us think of staffing “customers,” we immediately envision clients. After all, they’re the ones who place the orders and write the checks.

But clients are only half of the customer service equation. Your candidates are customers, too! And in case you haven’t noticed, competition for the best ones is heating up.

As unemployment continues to decline, your staffing or recruiting firms can use its ability to attract top talent as a source of real competitive advantage – but only if you treat applicants well. Here are 3 reasons why you should always offer candidates the same excellent treatment you give your best clients:

  • Time is of the essence. The best candidates are only in the job market for a short period of time. If your screening process stalls, or if you make applicants jump through unnecessary hoops, you’ll lose great job seekers. Review your entire sourcing and screening process – from online application through post-placement check-in – to identify bottlenecks and service gaps that discourage or turn off candidates.
  • This type of customer is not always “right.” Obviously, not every job seeker can get what he wants from you. Some will not have the right skill sets; others may prove unplaceable because they’re not a good match for your niche, or because they’re overqualified. Regardless of the reasons they’re not “right,” treating them well should still be a priority for your staffing firm. If you can’t place a candidate, tell him as soon as you know. Respectfully explain why he’s not a good candidate for you. Offer practical advice for what he can do to become employable, or refer him to a firm that better fits his needs and qualifications (Yep, I said it!).
  • Candidates are becoming more vocal than ever. Traditional social media, in addition to review sites like Yelp, Google+ and Indeed Reviews, make it easy for candidates to instantly share their opinions about your company en masse. Even a handful of negative comments from disgruntled or unplaceable candidates can tarnish your firm’s reputation. On the flip side, positive candidate reviews can dramatically enhance your candidate sourcing efforts. Why? It’s simple. Research shows that people are much more likely to believe what others say about your company online than what you say about it yourself.

Treating your candidates like customers isn’t just “nice” or “the right thing to do.” It’s smart business! And as the talent market continues to tighten, a consistently shareworthy candidate experience will set you head and shoulders above your competitors.


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