Relationships As Part of a Recruiter’s Work – Costs or Benefits?

A relationship with a shop assistant at our favourite local store ensures she will make a mysterious face to advise us on what to choose. Good relations with our neighbours allow us to count on more understanding for parties we give or renovations we carry out.

But what about relationships being part of a recruiter’s work? Are they costs or benefits? To this question, like to many others, there is no straight answer.

A recruiter builds two basic types of relationships: with Customers and with Candidates. Each type is defined differently and has different consequences, but they both come down to building trust and loyalty.

It takes commitment, time and understanding for a recruiter to establish relationships with a Customer. It does not mean that the recruiter must be available for this Customer at all times, but that rules regarding mutual respect and understanding should be set. To be firm, such a relationship must be based, apart from respect, on trust, which we may gain only with our expertise and professional advice in an ongoing or planned recruitment process. Therefore, we must continuously broaden our knowledge and expand our areas of interest. Our Customers will be more willing to trust us if we explain that a given process will be difficult and will take some time, giving matter-of-fact arguments and showing we know the subject, rather than if we blindly promise to find the right Candidate almost at once.

Customers know their sectors and most usually they are also aware of limitations resulting therefrom, so if a recruitment process would be easy, they would carry it out themselves. With a recruiter being their partner, Customers gain also an advisor with whom they can talk about their doubts concerning Candidates without fear of impure intentions. They can trust in the professionalism and expertise of a person who deals with recruitment every day and has a lot of experience honed during multiple recruitment processes completed.

If we manage to build such relationships, it will become very likely that, after a time, Customers will trust us enough to make us their only third-party recruitment support engaged for all recruitment processes, and as they will not use their own resources, they will save time and, ultimately, money.

Building this kind of relationship, even though a very difficult task, is a perfect situation providing mutual benefits. We, as recruiters, build our professional position and stability while also broadening our knowledge, and our Customers can be sure that they will receive an expert support and save funds. It proves that a relationship so defined is a benefit that requires some costs.

Another type of relationships built by recruiters comprises relationships with Candidates. These relationships also require incurring costs to gain benefits. But what is our benefit here? We cannot count on a Candidate who has two proposals to choose from to accept ours despite its worse working conditions, based only on the relationship and trust that we have built. Of course, I am referring here to two proposals with most variables equal but, for instance, different locations of the new workplace. On the other hand, an unquestionable advantage of a good relationship with a Candidate is the elimination of the element of surprise. When we talk to our Candidate honestly and openly, ask also difficult questions and accept answers that may not be convenient for us, in return we may expect the Candidate to timely meet his/her obligations as well as something most important for our work – an open communication if a counterproposal occurs. It will enable us to beat this proposal by renegotiating terms of employment with the Customer, but it will also allow us to get ready for the Candidate’s possible withdrawal from the process and have other Candidates up our sleeves.

Such a relationship is mutually beneficial as well. Each of us when being a Candidate particularly appreciates information about our current status in the recruitment process. We all firmly declare that we would rather know that we are no longer considered for the job than receive no feedback at all. Surely, it requires a recruiter to act systematically and sometimes to make dozens of phone calls during the project and after its completion – for which we never have enough time. But it allows us to come back to our Candidates knowing that even if our cooperation has not been successful before, they will be willing to talk to us again and participate in another process.

As it has been assumed at the beginning, there is no straight answer to the question whether building relationships should be considered a cost or a benefit. Many variables have an impact on our choice of the type of relationships, but I think arguments given above prove that benefits outweigh costs, so it is worth it.

Author: Natalia Pytel – Recruitment and Sales Specialist – LOBO HR