Why Recruiters Should Think Like Candidates When Hiring

Rachel Ludwig
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As we think about refreshing our recruiting practices and establishing new habits at work, we often think of tangible changes: buying a new planner, downloading another scheduling app, and even changing our office setup. However, one simple, cost-free way to reimagine your recruiting and reinvigorate your candidate pool is to reframe your thinking. 

While your perspective and experience are valuable as a recruiter, there’s another important perspective to consider, that of the candidate. Perhaps it’s been a while since you yourself have been a candidate. Maybe the uncertainty of the job search and the anxiety of interviewing is a distant memory. Or, maybe you remember those feelings clearly but haven’t thought of them recently as you focus on adapting to a new position. Whether it’s been months or years since you were last a candidate, it’s useful to reflect on your own experiences in order to better understand your hiring practices from a candidate’s point of view. 

The Length of the Hiring Process

As a recruiter, while you are sharply aware of all the moving pieces behind the scenes, your candidates are not. Realistically, even a few weeks can feel like a long time for a candidate who is trying to land a new role. While reframing, try to be cognizant of all candidates’ time and understanding if they follow up a little earlier than you might prefer. They don’t have access to the same information as you and can end up feeling left in the dark. 

Being Communicative

When you’re dealing with a large number of candidates at once, it can be challenging to stay on top of all of your work and keep candidates updated every step of the way. However, remember that a little note can go a long way, especially when the hiring process is taking more time than anticipated. Consider setting up alerts or reminders to check in with your candidates after a certain length of time. From a candidate’s POV, it will show that you are active and engaged and that you value them as a potential hire. 

Treat Candidates as Individuals 

In recruiting, there’s only one of you and many candidates. However, as a candidate, you want to feel that your recruiter sees you as an individual and that you stand out in some way to them. As a recruiter, consider the ways in which you make candidates feel valued and wanted. Do you remember personal details about them if you interview them multiple times? Do you ask follow-up questions that aren’t generic? Giving a candidate a positive, personalized experience is always useful to you in the long run. Even if a candidate didn’t get the job, they can still have a positive view of the company and the recruiting process. 

By better understanding your candidate, you can improve your hiring experience overall and continue to grow your skill set as a recruiter. While it might take more work on the back end, it’s great to start out on a strong foot with your future colleagues. 


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