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The candidate is king

Posted: 25 April 2017

When it comes to recruitment, is cash the king? We sat down with Andy Cox, IRP’s Recruiter of the year, to hear his views.

Surely it’s simple – the more candidates you place the more money you make and that should be the focus. As for candidates, you are doing your job to place them – that’s it, and they get that. Keeping the clients happy is the priority (they pay the money, right?)


You cannot underestimate the importance of how you treat candidates, and that includes what it means for the bottom line. I value all of my candidates. When it comes down to it, they represent me. They are the lifeblood of my business and the foundation for any success I have had.

Here’s 5 things I do to look after my candidates (and why I do it):

Meet them

How can you truly understand and represent them as a candidate without seeing who they are as a person? How are they going to fit with the client, the culture, the personalities? Even if it’s last minute or an international candidate, make a face-to-face happen.

Be honest

I always make sure that I share my values – honesty, integrity and trust. I let the candidate know who they are dealing with, what they can expect from me and make sure they understand that it works both ways – they represent you as much as you represent them. Both reputations were hard won and should be protected.

Share expertise

Never underestimate the value of advice. Whether it’s for CVs, presentation skills, their approach to job hunting or the current market conditions, always offer help. And when you get the interview, do a proper briefing/run-through – it’s invaluable. I always share feedback post interview (good or bad), to inform my candidate. All of this makes a tangible improvement to your candidate’s chances and the quality they will bring to interview – which, in the end, represents you.

Build and maintain a proper relationship

My main aim is not just to get a candidate placed, but also to establish a relationship with them. This can be as easy as a coffee or lunch to give an update on what is going on, or a catch up to see how the new role is going. Keep candidates updated, even if your only news is that there is no news! They will remember you for this. Referrals and recommendations come thick and fast if you differentiate yourself in this way.

Show respect

You’re dealing with people who are doing something that’s really important – getting a job. Remember the emotions involved; it can be a rollercoaster with disappointments and occasionally the need for some tough conversations – think how you would respond, and how you would like to be treated yourself.

The results

  • Happier candidatesthese candidates are engaged and more attractive to clients which will help them land the role.
  • Happier clients – they get the best resource, because you took time to understand (and improve) your candidate.
  • More business – people don’t forget when someone cares – they’ll come back to you for the next role.

We can all get fixated on numbers – the deals, the revenue – it’s important. But ignore the pastoral element at your peril – that’s what keeps them coming back.