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Treat Talent as Customers

Candidates Must Be Treated as Well as Customers

The saying, Candidates are Customers too, should be hung over every wall of Human Resources departments across the country. Sometimes we forget that each candidate that goes through the HR department will most likely influence a future purchasing decision of your product/service. There are some exceptions to the rule, but know, word of mouth spreads like wildfire and if a candidate is treated wrong, their friends and their friend’s friends will hear about it. Recruiters and hiring managers need to look beyond the old ‘recruit-to-hire’ experience and put on our new corporate hats. Purchasing decisions are made based on the aggregation of every little experience the company has with the market. Read below for the 3 methods to treat every candidates as well as customers.

Treat Talent as Customers

According to the Candidate Experience Results over 21% of candidates said they were or have been customers to places they applied. As buying power increases in our growing economy it’s becoming more likely that those who are applying for jobs are customers. The idea that negative feedback travels faster than positive couldn’t be truer in this scenario. Even if a candidate isn’t qualified for a certain position, treating them as a customer goes a long way in making sure their experience is a positive one. There are multiple ways to achieve top results when recruiting, here a few that have helped in the past:


1. Invest in Candidate Relationships. This should be the ‘no-brainer’ bullet point for any recruiter. In order to successfully recruit top talent it’s essential that you’re investing in the actual relationships and not the end result of hiring. The goal in this part of the hiring process is to not be a pushy salesman, but show each candidate, regardless of qualifications, that they’re important. Building communities that show the focus on these relationships will engage and keep the customer beyond the candidate process. Talent Communities, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, even email marketing solutions, and other types of communities are out there, you just have to find which one fits your company best.


2. Don’t Upset Your Applicants. There has been a lot of discussion on the transparency of the HR department and the black hole of the candidate process. If you’re a larger company and receive thousands of applicants a year it’s sometimes impossible to return each call or follow-up with each resume. Many job descriptions carry the disclaimer that not everyone will receive some type of feedback due to volume. Although communication is not required for every applicant, there are some instances where the job status should be communicated. The cost of no communication could be loss of sales, referrals, which leads to less money in the bank.


3. Think Like Marketing. Recruiting is not just about filling an open position any longer. Recruiting is another form of marketing and the only way for employer branding to survive the hiring process is to create a candidate-centric approach that prioritizes the candidate experience. As recruiters you promote your company, which helps bring candidates into the hiring funnel while maintaining an ongoing relationship. This is the foundation in building up the candidate experience to not only keep the customer, but also find the best talent out there for your company.


There are numerous benefits to treating a candidate like a customer. When it doesn’t happen sometimes there are no consequences, but all it takes is one angry person to spread negative feedback. Each candidate interaction affects your brand. There are multiple sites out there that anonymously rate companies on their interview processes, you don’t want to be one of those with 0/5 stars. To combat this, make sure each applicant is treated like you would treat a customer making a purchase. The life of a HR professional isn’t an easy one and the candidate experience is hard to perfect, but with these steps you should be on your way to achieving better practices.


Jessica Miller Merrell Blogging4JobsJessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs, Huffington Post and Smart Brief. When she talks, people listen.

SmartRecruiters is the Hiring Platform. Everything you need to source, engage, and hire top talent.

Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a HR consultant, new media strategist, and author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. Jessica is the host of Job Search Secrets, an internet television show for job seekers.