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How to build rapport with potential Candidates

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

When you’re working as a recruiter, the ability to connect with people is incredibly important. Having a good rapport can be the difference between successfully attracting the right talent and being blacklisted, to the extent that they never answer your phone calls again. For those in the profession, communication with Candidates can be tricky to manage – you might be speaking to someone who is not actively looking for work, or at the other end of the spectrum, you may have a jobseeker with several different offers. So, how do you manage the relationship? Here are a few suggestions.

Show a genuine interest in people

Do your homework before you call or meet someone for the first time. Today, it’s possible to find most Candidates online – LinkedIn alone has 575 million members worldwide – so make sure you know who people are and why they’d be perfect for your position. Ask relevant questions about their jobs and work experience. As a recruiter, you’ll have your own checklist to determine whether potential Employees match the job description. However, it’s best to leave this until later in the conversation.

Take some time to listen to Candidates, so that you have a better understanding of their wishes. This will give you a better idea of whether they’re the right fit for the company and show that you’re genuinely interested in them. It could be that you find something you have in common, so you can connect on a personal level – if people enjoy talking to you, they’re more likely to pick up the phone again.

Sell recruitment agencies as a great opportunity

Recruiters know the job market, they have insight into the companies who are hiring, and may have even placed people in those same businesses in the past. They’re also a great link between the Employer and the Candidate, because they aren’t as emotionally involved and can see the broader picture. You have many different things to offer, but not everyone knows this. Sometimes you may need to explain the way that you work.

It’s also important to sell your personal experience. Do you have industry specific knowledge which will help you understand a candidate’s perspective? Mention this when you call people. Although you’re looking at their CVs, they’ll also want to know a bit about you and your background. Take a moment to think about how you can give them confidence in you and your ability.

Keep communicating

Go the extra mile to make yourself available. Communication is key when it comes to keeping jobseekers motivated and interested in what you’re able to offer. How about calling Candidates the day before their interview to check they have everything they need and then following up to find out how it went?  These small gestures demonstrate that you want people to do well and are interested in their career progression.

Don’t go cold on people – if they’re not successful in an interview, it’s still important to keep them updated. There might be another position for them later down the line. The best recruiters have a talent pipeline, a list of people they can call as soon as an opportunity becomes available. To do this, you’ll need to keep your contacts book up to date.

Be honest with Candidates

When it comes to building trust, honesty really is the best policy. Be clear with Candidates about the type of person you’re looking for and whether they’re suitable for the role. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations, if someone is not right for the role, they will appreciate constructive criticism and a professional opinion on how they can improve in the future.

Although you’re selling the job to potential Employees, they also need an accurate picture of the place they’re applying to work at. If there are areas for improvement, or the company is going through a period of change, it’s best that they know this before they attend an interview. Take time to get to know the teams you’re hiring for, so you can speak from personal experience when a candidate asks you questions.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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