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Why The Recruitment Industry Shouldn’t Struggle to Say “No”

15th April 2021

One way to understand recruitment is that it’s about making connections. A recruiter’s job is to find the right candidate for the most appropriate role, and this creates what we call the ‘golden triangle’: best for the client, best for the candidate … and, of course, best for the recruiter.

Sourcing the best person for a given opportunity ensures that recruitment processes ‘stick’ – if a recruiter does their job right, a candidate will be a huge success in their new role and stay in it for a good period of time.

Taking so careful an approach to recruitment isn’t easy – it takes time and trust. And, counter-intuitively perhaps, that’s why “no” become such an important word.

A focus on finding the right candidate for the job can sometimes result, in various part of the recruitment industry, in a focus only on the right candidate. In other words, once the search is complete, agents only get in touch with the successful applicant – and they don’t reach out to the unsuccessful ones.

This is bad candidate management, and it results in a poor reputation for recruitment agents among both potential applicants and even clients themselves. Negative feedback is just as important as positive – and, if a recruiter wants to retain a good list of candidates for future opportunities, they need not to ignore their unsuccessful ones but learn to say “no”.

These are difficult conversations, of course. We are all good at talking to candidates when we want them – good news is a pleasure to impart! But if we don’t get back to them when they have missed out on a role, they will become frustrated and less trusting.

Recruiters thrive when candidates and clients alike believe in them. When a new role opens up, the best recruiters understand their potential pool of candidates – and can call on the best prospects straight away. They will have better relationships with those candidates if they have in the past been honesty with them – and kept lines of communication open even when there’s only bad news to share.

At DMA, we have always valued our personal service – and we do everything we possibly can to keep good communication going. That includes being frank with our candidates – and helping them build on bad news to improve their CV or hone their target roles more carefully. This works for everyone in the end … even if, for the recruiter, it’s time-intensive and sometimes tricky.

But golden triangles don’t build themselves. Good recruiters have to make the effort.