The LLoyd blog: hidden talent.

The Recruiter – Candidate Experience

I’m a Recruiter.
I place candidates into new positions with my client companies and believe me –  I’ve heard the complaints about Recruiters in general. They don’t call you back…they can’t answer the important questions…you interviewed with their client, but you didn’t get any feedback…or, they don’t have a real opening, they just want to add your resume to their database.

As a Certified Staffing Professional with 20 years of experience I’ve seen and heard it all and I work hard every day to change the perception of my profession. I’m so proud when a candidate I placed a decade ago sends me a referral…or the candidate I contact for a job tells me, “I’m not looking, but let me give you a friend’s number. My all time favorite line is, “ Hi Melissa, I am back on the job market and need your help again!”

Many candidates have genuine, legitimate complaints and recruiters should do better. As I train and coach newcomers to our industry, I always stress that the candidate experience is just as important (and profitable) as the one the recruiter has with his or her client company. I tell new Recruiters and remind experienced ones that every candidate who contacts you should always get a response back. Communication is key. Not responding because you can’t immediately help someone will bite you when they are the “right candidate” for one of your newer searches and then they don’t respond back to YOU.

Once you’ve met with a candidate (in person or on the phone) you are considered their future employment source. Sometimes the connection is so great they even stop job hunting, waiting for you to find them the right fit. A recruiter should always let a candidate know who (and at what company) you are sending their resume – this is an important practice because they may have info on a particular client that you don’t know, or they may have already interviewed there.   After the interview, it is critical to give a candidate feedback on the meeting with your client (the prospective employer.) Good or bad they earned the right to know if they are in the running, if the position was filled by someone else or you simply haven’t heard back yet. Not hearing back from the hiring company should never be a reason to not communicate with your candidate.

The candidate who you’ve had ten calls with, but never found the right position is the same person that will refer candidates to you. They’ll call you when they are looking again or even when they are in the hiring seat and now are in need your services! Why? Because of communication – verbal, text, email – don’t shy away from it. Relationships in this business are built on good communication.

Lastly, I believe a recruiter should never give a candidate false hope. If you don’t have an immediate opening/search that fits the individual’s skill set, you should let that person know. Be honest in how you can or cannot help them. Remember, as a recruiter your reputation is yours to establish and maintain!

5 Things Recruiters Should Do to Improve the Candidate/Recruiter Experience

  1. Be honest about your ability to assist.
  2. Provide good feedback to a candidate about his/her resume, how to improve his/her interviewing skills and why s/he wasn’t selected.
  3. Respond to a candidate’s phone calls or emails. Don’t ignore!
  4. Suggest other avenues to support the candidate’s search if you can’t help him/her.
  5. Stay in touch – keep your candidates in your LinkedIn connections; maintain and nurture your pipeline to encourage referrals.

Since turnabout is only fair –
5 Things Candidates Should Do to Improve the Candidate/Recruiter Experience

  1. Be honest with your recruiter about your needs – skills, hours, location, salary range.
  2. If you believe the fit is wrong between you and the client company, voice your concern before you accept an offer so the recruiter can address and respond to your concerns.
  3. Call your Recruiter right after the interview when the conversation is fresh in your head. Let them know if the position appeals to you so that the recruiter knows how you feel about it. Share anything that is a red flag – or something that the recruiter should be aware of – don’t let your recruiter be blindsided by something that went amiss.
  4. Act on and follow up suggestions given to you to improve your hiring chances such as resume edits, interview protocol and presenting your best self to the hiring authority.
  5. Don’t lie or falsify information such as employment dates, degrees not quite completed or why you left your last position.

When these basic guidelines are followed by both sides of the hiring desk, there are better chances of success for everyone.

Happy candidate, happy client, happy recruiter – it’s a perfect trifecta.


Melissa Matos, CSP is a Certified Staffing Professional who has been recruiting talent since 1995 in the South Florida area.  Currently, she is the Vice President of Operations for LLoyd South where she specializes in talent for healthcare, legal, pharmacy, insurance and general office administration roles.

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