Recruiting can be a delicate topic to bring up, especially among those in the tech sector. The field has obtained a negative reputation over the years, partly fostered by candidate misconception and partly as a result of inapt “shortcut” recruiting practices. It is frustrating for a candidate to put their trust in another to help them further their career only to be flooded with roles they are unsuited for, never get their calls returned, or feel like they are not a priority.

With the state of the job market already making it hard to find the perfect IT candidate, recruiters cannot afford adding to the stigma of their profession. Here are proven ways to reverse the trend in order to foster a healthy recruiter-candidate relationship that is fruitful for all parties.

Focus on Relationships

Our view of recruiting is that we have two customers, the client and the candidate, and they are of equal importance. Too many recruiters are stuck in a dated mentality that focuses almost exclusively on the client and treats candidates as an afterthought. Candidates have felt this over the years and voiced their opinion, resulting in the negative atmosphere we must now work to combat.

Luckily, giving equal focus to the candidate will help turn around this trend, and it begins with building authentic relationships. It is essential to treat candidates as human beings and not numbers. Recruiters that take a real interest in a candidate are the ones that give the profession a better name. Focusing on the individual makes them feel valued, and this translates into a stronger connection.

Communication is paramount in growing a positive relationship with candidates. Be clear that you have a shared goal with them and that your wants align with theirs. This is accomplished by staying in regular contact and keeping a candidate updated, even as the process twists and turns. When a recruiter tells a candidate that they will “circle back” to them, then they must keep their word.

When updating candidates throughout the recruiting process, be as personable as possible. It is very easy to send a quick “form” email when swamped with other tasks, but taking the time to pick up the phone and make a call is worth it. Candidates appreciate a personal touch and will feel valued, and this further builds a relationship with them. Making the extra effort early on with a new applicant will pay dividends as time goes on.

Keep It Moving

It’s no secret that slow hiring processes are damaging the reputation of recruiting in tech. Building a great relationship with a candidate will be meaningless if they find a role elsewhere before you can place them. Likewise, drawing out the process over weeks or months will simply cause more vocal frustration of unfulfilled expectations, furthering the recruiting stigma.

Every effort must be made to keep the process moving. A common mistake recruiters make when things out of their control cause delays is to be vague, or avoid speaking to candidates. This is antithesis to what should be done. Stick to the facts, and continue to communicate any delays clearly. People understand change happens and employers put roles on hold, but leaving a candidate clueless will only also leave them blaming you for something that was not your doing.

Be an Advocate for the Candidate

Boiled down to one focus, recruiting means being an advocate for the candidate. A recruiter and candidate are on the same side; one wins when the other wins. Realizing that their fates are tied together, recruiters must make an effort to better represent applicants.

Sending out massive amounts of spam-like emails creates the negative image we see today. Stopping such a process that treats candidates like cattle and focusing efforts on quality and not quantity is necessary in best representing candidates. If a real relationship has been fostered, then a recruiter will know the desired career path of a candidate and will not send them impersonal information on irrelevant roles.

What is best for the candidate is best for the recruiter, and that means adaptation to their goals and personality. Whether one must adapt to generation Z or make a late night recruiting call because that’s when a candidate is available, the effort it takes to be an advocate for candidates is worth it.

Recruiting in Tech

The time has come for tech recruiters to be the change and turn around the perceptions that have built up over the years. Not only will doing so provide a greater respect for the industry, but it will help achieve internal day-to-day goals. We’ve found that fostering positive relationships, keeping things moving, and being an advocate for candidates creates mutual success for everyone we work with, and the same can be true for your organization.