Building relationships and creating positive candidate experiences are the foundation of your employer brand. They are the reason people come to work for your organization and they guide how people who aren’t selected feel about your brand.
When relationships are strong candidates will remember you. They will tell others about you. They will trust your word. When relationships are strong, your hiring and onboarding teams will trust your professional judgement. When relationships are strong, your competitors become your allies.
Read on to discover how to nurture these relationships throughout the full life cycle recruiting process.
Build a Relationship from Rejection (You)
It can be disappointing to find an incredible candidate and have them tell you they aren’t interested in your role. You can retreat and lick your wounds, or you can focus on the positive. You’ve found a great candidate. This shouldn’t be the end, but rather the beginning, of your long-term relationship. Show them your hand. Tell them what makes them special and ask if they are interested in staying in touch. Show them you value their opinion AND get a potential referral by asking them if they know anyone who might be a good fit for the role. Ask questions about them. What are they looking for? What is their long-term trajectory? What intrinsic factors drew them to this role–to any role?
The best candidates are usually on the market for the shortest amount of time. Experiences like the one above will put you in a position where they think of you when they start looking again. This will give them faith that a friend they refer to you will also be well cared for.
Repeating this process, over time, creates a candidate pipeline. It gives you a pool of quality candidates to draw from when a role becomes available and drastically cuts sourcing and screening time. It also gives you a better understanding of what is drawing candidates to (or away from) your role and your company.
Put in the time up-front to attract better candidates who are a better fit. This, in turn, pays off with employee retention and improved overall company brand. Putting in the work on the front end often means the timeframe is much less crucial, as well. Relationship building can often happen in your spare time, throughout the day and pay off when time is of the essence in crucial sourcing and screening time.
Build a Relationship from Rejection (Them)
Much of the same process can be used when a stellar candidate is interested in your role but gets edged out by another. Don’t let them walk away feeling rejected. Use this opportunity to build a lasting relationship. Give them feedback that can help them with future roles.
I train recruiters to ask for referrals even when they’re not moving a candidate forward – that only works with positive relationship-building. It still surprises me when I turn someone down and they send me a referral; But it is certainly a delight!nnI actually accepted my last role after being initially turned down by the company. I remembered and was impressed by the way I was treated during the interview process and the CEO took steps to build a relationship beyond the hiring stages. I am proof positive that this process works.
Relationships with the competition
Build relationships with others in the industry. Build allies, instead of competitors. Are you consistently losing candidates to a certain recruiter or company? Reach out and ask them what they are doing.
Have a candidate you love that you just don’t have a role for? Consider sending them to another recruiter. Both the candidate and the recruiter will remember it and it will pay off in the form of future referrals and improved company brand.
Nurture the Relationship at Home
Build quality relationships within your company. Your relationship with the hiring manager is crucial to success in filling any role. Focus on ways you can best support them and make their life easier while also providing counsel on your area of expertise. I was once able to negotiate a free pass on a core job requirement (getting a required certification while on the job) by offering creative options to best serve the hiring team and candidate. This only works with trust.
Relationships built with the candidate and team along the way help you stay ahead of (and often prevent) surprises that come up in the final interview and offer negotiation phase. This further strengthens the trust your hiring team and candidate have in you.
Don’t forget to build rapport with the onboarding team. You want them to know you are bringing them good candidates and you want to know your candidate is in good hands as they continue their journey with your company, for many years to come, thanks to the strong brand you are helping to build.
Relationship Building is one of 14 key competencies taught in our Recruiting Immersion Training. Ready to explore the processes behind kinder recruiting? Learn more or sign up for Recruiting Immersion Training.