The Barron Williams Candidate Experience: When is a candidate a client?

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The candidate experience is critical to our business, and we view our candidates as potential future clients.

It is important for us to not only identify senior executive talent for our clients, but also to establish strong relationships with our candidates.

We treat both with the professional courtesy that should be a given in our industry.

However, there is no escaping the fact that recruitment as an industry still suffers from some negative perceptions. 

There’s an impression held by many that recruitment organisations, agencies and consultants are simply ‘salespeople’.

And whilst there is some truth in that…

We are, and strive to be, so much more at Barron Williams.

Many people see our sector as purely client focussed, with little to no interest in a candidates career. 

Recruiters will prioritise their business based on who pays their bills right now. 

Time-wise, there’s maybe an element of truth in that statement too. 

A typical day (if there is such a thing) is definitely more client hours than candidate.

However, that is purely ‘time’ and not indicative of the quality of service we provide. 

The experience that candidates receive from the Barron Williams team is the same we provide to our clients.

We conduct ourselves in the same professional manner, regardless of who we speak to. 

When we started Barron Williams that was critical to us. Many of us have worked in industry, and we’ve had the brush off, calls and emails ignored etc.

Still to this day we often speak to candidates who’ve been left in a comms void, floating along as the interview process moves forward and closes with little to no feedback. 

Even at senior levels, crazy as it sounds. We wanted to challenge those negative experiences from day one, and that continues to this day.

Is the negative perception of the recruitment industry justified? Yes!

Now I don’t want to defend poor behaviour, and there’s often a number of reasons why comms break down:

1. Poor communication and a lack of clear/agreed process between the recruiter and hiring manager regarding next steps or interest in the candidate.

2. Poorly organised recruitment consultants.

3. A lack of understanding of the importance of regular communication.

At Barron Williams we only work with clients who share our brand values and methods of working/approach to the recruitment process. 

We only take on a limited number of briefs at any one time so that we ensure that all clients and candidates receive the focus they deserve.

According to a study by CareerBuilder 73% of candidates stated that the:

“Role search process is one of the most stressful things in life.”

Rosemary Haefner, CHRO at CareerBuilder highlights that:

“A positive candidate experience is a competitive advantage in a market where candidates have flexibility in their role selection.”

Why would we not want to try and use that competitive edge in providing a positive candidate experience?

The biggest frustration for many candidates is radio silence once they’ve been interviewed.  Worse, often the lack of communication starts at the application stage.

No explanation as to why they didn’t get an acknowledgement, rejection, never mind any feedback offered. 

Not getting a closing email or phone call (and in my opinion, if they attended an interview, then they get a call) is simply not acceptable, at any level, not just the senior exec.

It damages the brand of both the recruitment consultant, their organisation and the hiring company (client).

LinkedIn’s Talent Trends report from 2015 might have a few years on the clock but the findings are timeless. It highlighted that: 

“Approximately 60% of jobseekers report having a poor experience while applying for work. This negative impression can be a deep and lasting one, with 83% of candidates saying that a poor applicant experience can change their minds about a role or company they once liked. Perhaps even more alarming for employers: they don’t keep their feelings to themselves. Of those who reported having a poor candidate experience, 72% share their opinions on employer review websites or with friends.” 

At Barron Williams we consider candidates and clients as one and the same

We build relationships with our network of senior executive talent so that they become a professional associate, brand advocate, and ultimately, hopefully, a future client.

We aim to make the Barron Williams candidate experience a positive one, so that it continues way beyond finding you that next role. 

As a candidate you could apply for another role in the future or return to us with your own hiring needs. You can help us find other good people in future searches and we can help you by sharing career development best practices.

We are firm believers in the old saying of treating others how we’d like to be treated ourselves.

Ask the question… What do you expect from the Barron Williams candidate experience?

We won’t work with any people or companies that don’t share our core brand values. 

Our approach and recruitment processes must be agreed, defined and shared by all parties.

Candidate and client care is an integral part of that philosophy.

For example, we put our direct contact details on all of our role briefs so that potential candidates can call and discuss the role before applying. It makes for busy days but it’s important!

We don’t want to miss out on good candidates and you don’t want to miss out on good opportunities, so let’s talk.

Without a positive experience talented candidates may miss out (and we miss out on them) – now, or for future roles.

We understand that people change

Just because you aren’t right for one role, doesn’t mean you’re not right for the next.

Good recruiters understand the long-term impact candidate relationships have on their brand.

We handle rejection constructively, honestly, professionally and with integrity. We want to retain your goodwill.

We aren’t afraid to have those difficult conversations, it’s the right thing to do.

We’ve walked many a mile in your shoes, and we appreciate that it is important to provide constructive feedback.

A positive candidate experience equals referrals too, you’ll share our name with your network. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve been referred to us by candidates who appreciate our mature, professional approach.

In recruitment, word of mouth and reputation is crucial. Why would we want to leave a sour taste in your mouth?

We offer feedback and advice to help candidates, and most importantly, endeavour to offer guidance which helps people achieve their overall objective, regardless of whether we place them

We stand out from the crowd

At Barron Williams we strive to provide a value added service to both clients and candidates alike. 

We utilise our experience, mature processes and the power of our network to help place the right people in the right roles.

At the heart of that are the relationships and extensive networks we build.

Our brand and reputation is one of our most valuable assets. It’s our life’s work.

As a minimum, a candidate should expect (and receive) the following from Barron Williams:

  • We’ll take/return your call.
  • Acknowledgement of interest in the role for which you’ve applied
  • A clearly defined recruitment process – we know our clients requirements.
  • Full transparency throughout the hiring process – we’ll keep in touch.
  • Regular feedback and comms – open and supportive.
  • Efficient time-to-hire – managing expectations and keeping the process moving.
  • Communication of decisions quickly and thoughtfully
  • Honest and constructive feedback – valuable for the long term.

We will always strive for fast return of any phone calls and emails. 

Of course this sometimes isn’t possible, always for a good reason.

You will know where you stand at each stage of the recruitment process!

At the start of any brief we spend time with our clients to really get an understanding of the role they’re trying to fill.

We need to establish exactly ‘who’ they’re looking for.

It is vital for any candidate that a recruiter is fully versed in both the role and the hiring companies needs and wants. 

That they’re fully prepared to ask the more difficult questions on behalf of their clients.

If there’s aspects of the organisation, package, role brief or process that are of concern, then we are always open to a conversation with you.

Of course we’re in regular contact with the client too – reporting on progress and providing feedback to them.

This ongoing dialogue helps us manage expectations on both sides.

Pick up the phone – It’s good to talk!

I’m a firm believer in picking up the phone.

So, if you see a role you’re not sure about, call us and find out more.

For me it is important that all involved in the process know where they stand, right from the start. We won’t waste your time.

That we provide candidates with an opportunity to ask any questions and for us to provide constructive guidance (or feedback, later in the process).

Maintaining a professional and open approach with all candidates, not just those that are ultimately successful, is what has helped us to build an extensive bank of senior exec talent.

To be clear, we are not a database-led business, but having ready access to good people is very useful!

We want those that aren’t successful with one role to feel that they’ve had a positive experience and wish to stay in touch for future roles.

Our aim is to ensure that our process is fair, open and objective. People respect that.

Clear comms are the critical component that keeps everything moving. 

It keeps candidates motivated and engaged throughout their journey with Barron Williams.

Whether your journey ends with an offer from our client or not, we work hard to make the experience as positive as possible.

And remember…

The reason we decided originally to move into recruitment was simple… The gap between candidate and client experience was (incomprehensibly) vast. 

The same recruiters chasing you as a potential client go silent when you’re a potential candidate. Not all, of course, but enough!

Test us, see if we can earn a future client conversation.

If you’re looking for your next role, then please feel free to Upload Your CV or Call Us for an exploratory conversation. If you’re looking for a senior executive for your organisation, please use our Client Upload Form or Call Us now.

Barron Williams

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