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Recruiters: DOs and DON'Ts to make your candidates remember you

Being a recruiter means that you're frequently giving applicants bad news rather than good news; after all, only one person can get each job.

But, together with clients, there are things that you need to avoid as a recruiter if you're to keep your talent pool happy.

Added on 06.04.2013

DO make sure they know what you want

For every poorly written CV or application there is a poorly written or vague job description. If you don't take the time to make sure that your descriptions adequately and concisely describe the role then how do you imagine you'll attract the right candidates? Make it easy on everyone.

DO specify a salary

The definition of 'competitive' and 'ample benefits' will vary from business to business and candidate to candidate. Save everyone some time and encourage the client to be up front with the renumeration and package they are prepared to offer.

DON'T oversell the position

It can sound tempting to make the job sound more exciting than it actually is, perhaps in the hope of attracting the best applicants, but if those same applicants are 'underwhelmed' when the unvarnished truth becomes apparent, you will damage your reputation with them and people they talk to about you.

DO respond to all applicants

If someone has taken the trouble to express interest in a position and forward (at least) their CV, then a brief email letting them know that it was received and considered will be appreciated. If there are lots of applicants and responding to each one individually would be too time-consuming, then even a BCC email will let them know that their application was actually received and looked at.

DO contact them the way they asked

If you've asked your candidate to indicate how they'd like to be contacted then pay attention to what they indicated! Some people are unable to take calls during the day but can respond quickly by email; paying attention to this will improve communication and the candidate's perception of you as someone who listens to them.

DON'T expect the impossible

It's not unknown for employers to want to set tasks for the interview or ask that the candidate deliver a presentation, and if this is the case make sure that the candidate has enough time to prepare properly around their existing commitments.

DON'T try to catch them out

There's a fine line between a challenging interview and an intimidating and potentially humiliating one. Remember that not all people give their best under this sort of pressure, so try to reign in anything too weird and wonderful that the client might have in mind. The bottom line is that it might not show them who their best candidate is - and all your candidates will appreciate an interview environment that puts them at their ease.

DO do your research

Candidates are expected to know something about the company they'll be interviewing for; it should cut both ways. Finding out what you can about them, their skills and experience before you meet them is important on many levels.

DO call all of your interviewees

A conscientious candidate will have put a significant amount of effort, energy, time and worry into their interview. Devoting a few minutes to a phone call to pass on some feedback from the client is not just helpful to them, but also common courtesy. Recruitment - done properly - is all about building relationships, and taking trouble over your candidates will make them remember you.

Most of this is either common sense or common courtesy, but none of it takes much effort, and following these rules will make sure that your candidates should respect and remember you, with all the benefits this brings.