Manage Candidate Relationships – An approach to handle Talent Acquisition issues

My brief stint in “Talent Acquisition” (recruitment) field gave me exposure to an entirely new area, which I had not ventured out before. I could observe, the various working styles of recruiters, interacted with them on a daily basis, understood their problems, and the way they tackled them. I also got an opportunity to deal with a number of recruitment vendors and their recruiters as well, to understand their issues and motivations. All the exposure and experience has made me immensely rich in my understanding of the job market, candidates, recruitment companies, organizations recruiting people and lastly, the recruiters.

I have seen these recruiters toiling to continually run this mammoth ‘recruitment’ engine for feeding the ever-increasing appetite of good, employable, retainable and productive candidates for the organizations they work in.

No-show” is a very common problem faced by the recruitment fraternity. A candidate’s “no-show” for the interviews and onboarding is a nightmare for the recruiters and organizations. All the good work done by the recruiters in searching, shortlisting, calling, convincing the candidate and the building of ‘short-term relationships’ for the purpose of filling the vacancy, suddenly becomes ineffective. Recruiters are blamed for this and they carry guilt on their shoulders as they have to listen to the sermons from higher-ups for the billing loss, reputation loss, productivity loss and many other losses. They have to make up for this “no-show” and recruit someone equally competent within no time, which is almost highly impossible.

I particularly used the phrase ‘short-term relationship’ above for a reason. Majority recruiters I worked with, build this kind of relationship with the candidates, until the time they start interacting with them from the first call till on boarding. The lifespan of this relationship is 2 to 3 months. Relationship almost abruptly ends as soon as the candidate joins the organization. It generally starts with the first call, where majority recruiters almost every time ask the question, “Are you open to switch the job?” which is a strict ‘no-no’ in my opinion.

A number of organizations spend a lot of energy in building a great relationship with their customers at one end, and forget to build similar kind of relationship with the candidates on the other end, who play an important role to satisfy those customers.


One can see from the diagram above, where almost no relationship is built from the organizational side with the probable candidates. Information about great things happening in the organization is passed on by the recruiters in bits and pieces to the limited group of shortlisted candidates for the duration of the ‘short-term relationship’.

In my opinion, there is absolutely no mechanism in the organizations to appraise the big pool of candidates in their database. It could be about, and not limited to, compliments for events like birthdays and anniversary in a candidate’s life, organizational values, initiatives, policies for their employees, motivational events, trainings, growth potential, expected growth of the organization, niche technology domains, business domains, onsite opportunities, good feedback received from employees and customers, etc.

In MSMEs, I have seen recruiters working under immense pressure to fill in the vacancy as every requirement is to be filled ‘yesterday’. They generally get the time to build the ‘short-term relationship’ as mentioned above. This time is insufficient to build the long-term relationship providing the information above on a continual basis, to all the candidates in the database. They just do not have the wherewithal to do that. Building this kind of relationship manually is impossible and one needs to have a tool at the disposal, to automate this process.

This tool should have identified templates for birthday and anniversary compliments and must automatically send them, based on those dates from the candidate’s profile. Identified templates for providing other information mentioned above, should be filled in and sent in one click to all the candidates, by any one of the recruiters or identified responsible person. Once this kind of regular information flow gets established between the organization and candidates, recruiter’s life gets pretty simple, as they do not have to hard sell the organization anymore. They have to do some research about the candidate and build a hot pool of the probable candidates.

How to do that? Please wait for my next blog.

Ideally having a human touch for building this relationship with the pool of candidates is the most preferred strategy, however, with negligible bandwidth available to recruiters, that is not possible. So, the tool should keep this pool warmed up on a continual basis and recruiters should build a strong relationship with the shortlisted hot pool of candidates. This hot pool should be available across the organization and movement of candidates should be monitored frequently. If someone isn’t available in the pool, that candidate should be replaced with another and the count should be maintained.

I think with most of the background work done by the tool in building the relationship, recruiters can take it from there and reduce their nightmares of “no-show” to a great extent. I think, building the strong relationship with the candidates at organizational (with the help of the tool) and at recruiter (building relationship with hot pool candidates) is a key to reduce the gap between talent acquisition and talent requirements in the organization.

Rajendra Babtiwale is a Principal Consultant at e-Zest Solutions Ltd. and provides a roadmap to organizations to become “Globally Competitive”. He is associated with ‘Anaar’ in the USA and has conducted 1000+ workshops for a cross-section of employees in the industry in India and abroad. He has 38 years of experience in manufacturing, consulting and tech industry.



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