Why People Don't Trust Recruiters

No matter how much you hear about the rise of recruitment AI, strong human relationships will always be the most important aspect of recruitment. Yet it's surprising that, despite how important trust is to nurture good relationships with our clients and candidates, recruiters have reputation for being untrustworthy!


The reasons why people distrust recruiters are variable, but the most common cited ones would be:

  • Recruiters are only driven by personal gain
  • Recruiters are pushy
  • Recruiters lie to get what they want.

Faced with these unfavourable stereotypes, it’s crucial that any recruiter or salesperson looking for success takes steps to become ‘one of the good ones’.

Here's our two-cents on how to make your candidates and clients trust you.

Stop the 'me-centric' communication

Following up with your clients is obviously an important part of recruitment, but a lot of recruiters get this stage wrong by making the update all about themselves instead of the client. They'll ask questions like...

  • “Could you give me an update?”
  • “I’d like to know where you are with this”
  • “Just checking in with you…”
  • “I’d have expected an update by now.”

These are all dangerous phrases to use because they make the client feel like you’re putting your own interests before theirs.

As a result, they'll trust you less and they're more likely to get their guard up (a nightmare situation for any salesperson!). As a result, each follow up makes you less effective, and reduces the chance of a sale. 

Think instead about phrases you could use in your follow up that are designed to help the customer make an informed decision:

  • Offer a success story: “You might be interested in this video that explains more like what day to day life is like at the company.”
  • Provide more literature: “I remember you saying that you had some interest in attracting more STEM candidates, here’s a blog that might help.”
  • Be supportive: “I know you were concerned about the commute, so here’s some information about the easy ways you can get to the office.

By adding value with your follow ups, the person you’re talking to will begin to view you as a useful and trustworthy resource, making it vastly easier for you to sell to them.

Avoid vagueness

recruiter misconceptions-minThere's an impulse amongst recruiters to say 'yes' to anthing if it will progress a sale or placement, and hide their uncertainty with vague promises.

But candidates and clients can sense if you’re avoiding giving a detailed answer, and getting caught in a false promise later down the sales line is toxic for your relationship.

The obvious solution here is to be open, honest, and up-front in all of your dealings. You might be woried about this slowing down the decision process, but the alternative (losing a sale altogether and damaging future possibilities of working together) is much worse.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say so and follow up once you have an answer. People appreciate openness and honesty, especially when the stakes are high, so showing yourself to be a straight talker is great for building trust.

Don’t be too persistent

You would never try to convince a friend to do something by calling and texting them five times a day, so you shouldn’t badger your prospective clients and candidates either.

If you’re following up that much, people are going to notice and feel pestered. Even worse, it can make you appear desperate and aggressive and raise concerns in their heads about your services that would otherwise never have manifested.

A good rule to set yourself is don’t follow up more than two or three times without an acknowledgement or response. If you haven’t heard from them, either try another channel of communication, or send a final communication saying they should get in touch with you in the future when the time is right for them. Always agree a next step! 

Doing so ensures that you know when the next step of your sales process will begin, and prepares the recipient for your call.

Becoming a trusted recruiter is not easy but if you ensure that you see things from the perspective of your candidates and clients then you’re on the right track. Always be open and honest. You’ll build more profitable relationships and close business faster.

Download the eBook below for some tips on creating emails that convert clients and candidates.

hand reaching out of screen holding email

Alan Hiddleston

Alan is an advisor here at Firefish with experience in both sales and marketing.

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