Treating your Candidates Like Customers

Can HR learn something from marketing about treating candidates like customers?

When I was at the Hire Minds event this past fall (more Hire Minds Summit coverage), the moderator asked me if I thought the Marketing department should work closely with the HR/Recruiting department at any time. My response was one I’d considered before, and I think it still applies now:

Of course HR/Recruiting should work with the Marketing department if they can. HR is trying to sell ideas internally. Recruiters are trying to “sell” open positions to candidates. Marketing is trying to sell products/services to the public. Why not work together when the opportunity arises?

Since then I’ve started thinking of candidates as customers. Most HR and recruiting pros don’t have a chance to meet customers of the business on a daily basis. They don’t get a chance to make a good impression for the company, provide great service, and do it all with a smile on their face. But they do interact with people looking to get a job with the organization.

What if they started treating those candidates like customers? There would be a little difference in that these customers are not always “right.” They can’t get whatever they want.

But you can offer them a sympathetic ear. You can treat them with respect. You can give them a clear, concise picture of what the hiring process looks like so they are not stuck wondering if their resume disappeared into a black hole.

I’ve learned that even if they are not chosen, candidates sincerely appreciate knowing the disposition of their application. It’s just a small touch that means so much to someone who has been out of work or looking for a meaningful job.

If you’d like to learn more about my philosophy on “high touch” recruiting and what it’s like being the solo recruiter for a small business, click here to hear about small business hiring on my DriveThruHR appearance from HR Florida.

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