It is clearly essential that recruitment agencies have access to the best possible candidates. But this doesn’t happen by chance. Designing the candidate experience is a key factor in successful recruitment. So how do leading agencies achieve their full potential in this area? Here are our ten top factors in ensuring that the recruitment agency you choose is a go-to firm for clients and candidates alike.

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1. Understanding candidates. A telephone call is simply not enough to ensure that you gain a comprehensive understanding of candidates. The best agencies schedule face-to-face meetings and don’t limit the conversation to business skills. Understanding the personalities of candidates is key to forming mutually-beneficial relationships and to ensuring that the recruiter can place them appropriately.


2. Transparency and honesty. Attempting to intentionally mislead or withhold information from candidates can have dire consequences. The best candidates will not want to be associated with a ‘dishonest’ recruitment agency and word-of-mouth can travel a long way.


3. Investing time in preparation. The strongest recruiters are generous with the time they spend in giving candidates advice and in helping them to prepare for interviews. This investment is likely to be repaid with interest if they consistently put forward candidates who are fully-informed and prepared. 


4. Providing real-time feedback. The more feedback a recruiter can offer candidates, the more opportunities they will have to improve candidate performance at key stages in the process.


5. Selling the business. To secure the finest talent, stronger recruiters will not only focus on their personal capabilities but will ensure that the candidate understands what their agency and its specific practices can offer them.


6. Creating the best first impression. Leading firms will look at all of the touch points that potential candidates will encounter and confirm that they are working effectively. They will ensure that any first impressions of the business are not marred by a poorly-worded advert, a weak presentation at a recruitment fair or spelling mistakes on social networking sites.


7. Selling the experience. Professionals will follow in the footsteps of companies like Nike and sell the experience rather than simply the jobs. They will ensure that candidates understand all that working with their agency can offer them rather than merely the practical advantages, many of which the better candidates should – and will – already know.


8. Using the voice of experience. Wherever possible it makes sense to use the most successful candidates to help sell the business to new talent. A positive story will have far more impact when it comes straight from the horse’s mouth.


9. Effective use of social networking sites. LinkedIn, Facebook and industry-specific forums are valuable platforms on which to build the agency’s reputation, engage with new talent and keep track of what people are really saying about the business and the way in which it operates.


10. Empathy. Serious recruiters will take a step back and really try to judge how candidates see them and their agency. Would they themselves respond to the advertising or answer a Facebook posting? Would they feel welcome when entering the offices? The truth can sometimes be unpalatable but this is essential for any firm truly committed to offering the ultimate candidate experience.

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