Recruitment has always been about relationships and shared objectives; between the recruiter and the client; the recruiter and the candidate and, if the recruiter is performing effectively, between the client and the candidate.
However, performance pressure, market forces and even technology have, for some elements of the industry, added some unwelcome distance in one or more of these relationships.
It can be seen all too often; recruiters spending only a small amount of time actually getting to know the people they are recruiting for – 15 minutes on the phone isn’t sufficient and is most definitely not going to provide the service that clients and candidates are looking for. However, taking the service to the next level is easily achieved by a business activity that has in some senses fallen victim to modern communications technology; namely a good old fashioned face-to-face meeting.
Not only does face-to-face interaction allow both parties to build a strong relationship, but it gives the recruiter a chance to properly understand the client and their organisation. Remember that a very significant proportion of all communication is non-verbal. Picking up the nuances of a client organisation is impossible by telephone or email alone. A meeting provides an invaluable opportunity to understand the myriad of cultural and “soft” factors inherent in any brief in order to accurately source the most appropriate talent for the client.
In exploring the brief, both recruiter and client can collectively devise an appropriate sourcing strategy and can clarify and agree the specifics of the hiring process.
With a comprehensive understanding of the brief, the client’s business, strategy, culture and longer term objectives, the recruiter can select the most appropriate candidates. This process extends far beyond proven competencies and skills; it embraces personality. The recruiter can also ensure that suitable candidates are fully briefed as to the client’s requirements including the “soft” factors. This ensures the best possible potential fit, minimising the time clients must commit to the interview process.
Just as it is important for a recruiter to meet with their clients, it is equally important for them to meet with potential candidates. The above matching process cannot be considered to be comprehensive unless both sides of the equation are fully addressed. Whilst a candidate may look perfect on paper, the reality can be a very different story.
Candidate meetings allow the recruiter to explore and verify the candidate’s skills in considerable detail and to gain insight far beyond that which can be achieved from a CV alone. Similarly, the recruiter can brief the candidate and discuss the client’s wider requirements. Following these meetings the recruiter is able to fully brief the client on suitable candidates.
Candidate meetings also allow for coaching and mentoring on presentation and interview techniques, ensuring that candidates are seen in the best possible light. This coaching is not necessarily limited to a specific role and assists both candidate and recruiter in building lasting relationships.
Ultimately, the key to success for all parties in the recruitment industry is in-depth understanding and long-term relationships. And the best way to achieve this? Face-to-face.