How to Make Sure Your External Recruiter Cares about Candidate Experience

How to Make Sure Your External Recruiter Cares about Candidate Experience

Engaging an external recruiter sounds like an easy way to patch up any holes in your hiring process. Unlike you and your team, it seems like their entire job is to engage with candidates, and you might assume they have a system for doing it well.

But external recruiters can’t always fix problems you may be having with candidate experience. You want to make sure that their workload is balanced enough that they are able to devote time and motivation to respond to unqualified applicants. It’s important to try to engage with a recruiter that puts your candidates first; here are a few questions to ask your recruiter to see if they will help or hurt your candidate experience:

Are you working on multiple searches?

When your internal team gets bogged down by the volume of applicants for a position or the picky requirements needed, it can be tempting to engage an external recruiter to help qualify candidates without sacrificing your employer brand. Just be careful about who you hire. Recruiters who are clear and transparent about their policies on multiple searches are easier to work with from the candidate side and net better candidate experience. Similarly, recruiters that operate based on an hourly rate instead of commision are more willing to limit their workload to what you are comfortable with them doing and take direction from you, the client.

Problems with candidate experience can come in when you hire recruiters that work for contingency fees. They are often incentivized to work on as many job searches as possible to maximize their income. In order to boost your candidates’ experience, you’ll want to find someone who is willing to take the time to craft personal response and rejections to your applicants. Impersonal communication and radio silence are two of the most significant factors contributing to a negative candidate experience. Ask your recruiter about how they balance multiple searches and pay attention to any corners they cut on the candidate side. Don’t be afraid to shop around for a professional that will put your employer brand first. Our tip- ditch the commissions and find someone on an hourly model who will work as an extension of your team.

How do you convey company culture in a search?

During the hiring process, candidates want to learn as much as possible about your company’s culture to decide if they're going to accept a job you offer them. In the past, you’ve probably tried to get your employees involved in the hiring process to give candidates a way to ask questions and better understand how your company works day-to-day. But when you don’t have the time or ability to get your team involved in hiring, you need to be able to rely on your recruiter to find culture fits for your organization.  

Understandably, this can be tough for an external recruiter. They only have your word to go off of. But it’s important to take the time to make sure you are both on the same page when it comes to your company culture and the ways they should show it off when searching for candidates. Make a list of soft skills that reflect the values and goals of the team for which you are hiring. Go over it with your recruiter point by point and ask how they will try to glean these skills from the job search. Feel free to ask for a summary of how each candidate matches these skills (or your culture as a whole!) when they submit candidates for your approval.

Do you have any references from candidates that weren’t hired?

This question might come out of left field, but it is an excellent way to gauge how a recruiter manages relationships with candidates that don’t make it to the end of the hiring process. Remember, the most damaging thing a recruiter can do to a candidate’s experience is ignore them. But if your recruiter has maintained professional courtesy and parted ways with unqualified candidates respectfully, they should be able to find you someone to talk to.

Even better, if a recruiter takes the time to create a network of candidates that they’ve engaged with in the past, it might be easier for them to source candidates for you than someone who starts from scratch with every job.

Bottom Line

External recruiters are an immense asset to your internal recruiting team. When candidate experience is a focus for your team, they can make sure that your applicants feel heard and respected. Just do a little due diligence when you are looking for the right recruiter to help your team.

In order to make sure you find someone who is putting your hiring goals first, find professionals who are transparent about how they use their time, and consider using recruiters that work at a flat-rate to encourage then to spend your time wisely.  Make your candidate experience goals very clear and ask for references from candidates and clients who can speak to how a recruiter represented their interests.

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