5 Thing That Break A Recruiter's Heart (and How to Avoid Them)

Recruitment is all about relationships, and it’s true that sometimes we can be so invested in what we do that our recruitment troubles are just as painful as our romantic ones! To celebrate Valentine’s Day, let’s take a look at just some of the things that can break a recruiter’s heart, and how to stop these things from happening in the first place.

1. When candidates play hard to get

Causes of recruiter heartbreak-min.pngWhen you know a candidate has great potential, but unfortunately, they know it too! There’s nothing more heart-breaking than candidates who shoot themselves in the foot by being too cocky: They make no real effort with their CV, they hit you with last minute cancellations and don’t see the point in meeting with you before being put forward for a role.

So how do we tackle this? We all know it can be a struggle building relationships with candidates like this, but think of it this way: No matter how difficult they are, if they’ve got something to offer, someone’s going to get the billing, so it may as well be you! So, take a deep breath and explain to them that whilst they are a good candidate, you'll need better co-operation to make anything happen for them. Sometimes these candidates just need a pat on the back!

2. When a candidate knocks you back

You’ve spent hours with your candidate, developing a strong relationship and supporting them through the whole recruitment process. You’re sure it’s going somewhere (you can practically smell the £££) and then BAM! It turns out they’ve been juggling offers and decide to turn down yours last minute. Or worse, they suddenly drop off the face of the earth - looks like you’ve just been ghosted! It doesn’t get more heart-breaking than that...

How to tackle this?: The key to preventing a candidate knock-back from happening in the first place is to keep your candidates engaged (without seeming too desperate). Map out the process so you can both see where things are going, and keep the relationship positive so they feel obliged to be straight with you from the start.

3. When a candidate uses you

When a candidate applies for a job, but they have no intention of taking it. Like a true player, they’re just using this role to get on your radar, so they can be considered for another job… that they aren’t qualified for. Or worst still, they’re just looking for an offer to push a pay rise at their current job!

Your time is precious, but you’ve just developed a relationship that’s never going anywhere.

How do we prevent this from happening? Tighten up your process! As recruiters, we take the view that everyone is a potential candidate or client – which is true, but don't allow space for time wasters. If the candidate is just fishing for an offer to further their career, take up their time - they're not going to want to give you any if they're not serious about a career move, so this should bust their cover!

4. When you find out your client is cheating on you

So, you thought you were the only recruiter in your client’s eyes (oh, how naive of you!). You then find out during a call with a candidate that they’ve dished out the job profile to your biggest competitor, too.

So, what now? Honesty is the best policy here – just be up front, and don’t be afraid to probe:

I’m a little confused as I was just screening a candidate, and they said they were already forward with another agency? Should I ensure that candidate knows that the other agency is not in the position to represent them, or are we not the only one working this job?" 

The ultimate goal here is to establish why they felt the need to reach out to multiple agencies, but also to re-establish the rules of engagement. If the situation has changed and they're using other agencies too, use the opportunity to re-negotiate fees.  

Which leads me to our next heartbreak…

5. When your client chooses a competitor for a retainer

Bummer! What do they have that you don’t have? You know you have the right candidate database to do the best job, so pitch to prove it.

How do you fix this? Self-correct. Ask the client for feedback so you can work out where you went wrong (and learn from this – don’t just jump on to the next client and make the same mistakes all over again). And try to keep the door open just in case. The job hasn’t been placed yet and your competitor might not find the right candidate after all. In which case, this could be your chance to swoop in and knock your client off their feet!

Looking for some extra guidance on how to sell a retainer to your client? Download our eBook below!

Recruitment Retainers

Joanne Causer

Joanne is a Senior Growth Specialist at Firefish. She loves bringing on board new recruiters who are looking to recruit smarter.

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