Continuing, dear reader, this week’s focus on respecting the customer, I want to tackle the recruitment industry. This is an industry that provides a valuable service both to customers and potential employees, and to an extent serves them both.

Some call themselves recruitment consultants, while the posher ones that deal with more senior appointments call themselves executive search firms, after the ‘headhunter term first coined a generation ago fell from favour.

These companies are either paid by or retained by their customers to filter candidates and appoint the best available person for the role. So the prospective employee is not the customer, but they are a vital part of the recruitment process and are in effect the secondary customer.

It seems to be they often get de-prioritised in the heat of battle, so to the recruitment industry I offer the following five best practice rules for dealing with the pawns in the game, namely your secondary customers:

– Understand that most of the risk is with the new employee, who might be leaving a secure environment with tenure for a job that promises better but who has pretty much no rights in the first 12 months of their new job

– Understand that the impact on an employee of a bad hire (by which I mean the cultural fit is bad) is usually worse than it is on the employer. It may not feel like that to your customer who has hired badly at senior sales level, or C-Suite level, but it is

– Understand that your customer is usually in a buyers’ market, and that while it’s perfectly understandable that in fast-moving businesses requirements change and roles get pulled, your job is to educate your customer that it is poor practice not only to do the real resource planning after you’ve engaged prospective employees but also trawl for candidates for internal benchmarking or other purposes when you’ve no intention of hiring anyone

– When you get applicants for a job, it is a cop-out to say that because of the volume of applicants you can’t communicate to those who have been unsuccessful. There’s no excuse for not even sending out an automated email to say sorry you weren’t successful this time. You allow the applicant to cross the role off the list and look elsewhere. You don’t leave them flapping in the breeze

– If a candidate asks you for feedback as to why they were unsuccessful – and not many do – give it. It strengthens the overall candidate gene pool

I know your prime responsibility is to your customer, so please treat this as a gentle reminder to keep the secondary customer on your radar too. The best recruiters do.

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