Candidates and clients – one and the same?

By Richard Charnock, Head of IRP and Qualifications

As professional recruiters, our industry is often accused of chasing the deal and focussing only on the bottom line. Fortunately this really isn’t the case. The recruitment industry above all others realises that the service it provides to both candidates and clients, has a direct effect on their future business.

The most common thought is that candidates, who are given a good service by their representative recruiter, will sooner or later become a client. I have seen this no end of times during my time recruiting, although I did recruit in the HR field which is the most obvious route for this cross over to take place.

What is not so often thought about is the other side of the equation, which is where the client becomes a candidate. If the service given to the client is of the highest standard and they recognise the professionalism and dignity shown to candidates, they may approach the recruiter when their own thoughts focus on their next career move.

In both cases, the old adage of “treat others as you wish to be treated” really does step up to the mark and demonstrate the self-governing nature of a professional recruiter. A code of ethics can set out the basics, with areas such as respect for; working relationships, honesty, confidentiality, laws, diversity and personal development. To the recruiter who has grasped the idea of providing a professional service to both client and candidate alike this would seem like something they’ve all heard before. That’s as may be but have you ever considered that the core function of our profession is that of consultant, why? Is it because we are the bastion and advisor of law and regulations? Maybe it’s because the service we provide is bespoke and very often niche, even in the largest of recruitment and staffing companies there are specialists and brands to cater for different markets. Or is it because we offer a combination of the legislative advice, top-class service levels, knowledge and expertise?

The recruitment and staffing industry is a people business, where the raison d’etre is to consult with candidates and clients to ensure the smoothest of introductions. This can be either for short term assignments to help business flex and grow with demand or long term placements and permanent staff to provide organisations with the core people resources they need.  Whatever the length of the assignments our one constant is the people and those people are candidates and clients. Thank goodness the law prohibits charging of candidates for services; otherwise the ability to be the most suitable candidate would be outweighed by ability to pay. Thank goodness the consultative approach and resourcing flexibility offered to match clients requirements remain the reasons our industry exists.

Going back to the point that candidates can become clients, here’s the question; how many of your candidates will judge the way you treated them  to be of a high enough standard that they would come back to you as a client in the future?

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