The One Thing All Great Recruiters Have
“Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Oxford Dictionaries
Recruiters are often viewed as selﬁsh, hard-nosed and pushy individuals. And it’s not just consultants; in-house
recruiters have the same (if slightly smaller) hurdles to overcome.
But there are those, including this recruiter, who believe that empathy, compassion and a little bit of kindness are
absolutely crucial to the hiring process.
Why? Let’s take a look…
1. That relationship matters.
What some recruiters fail to understand is that it’s genuinely important to keep candidates happy.
Why treat another human badly anyway? That’s not exactly great for your own sanity.
You may ﬁnd the perfect opportunity for them in the future (so don’t burn bridges).
Your employer brand depends on it.
It’s incredibly easy for candidates to write bad reviews these days, using Trust Pilot, Glassdoor, social etc.
2. You’ll be happier.
Have you ever found the “perfect” candidate, oﬀered them the job and then been completely rejected?
Ye, it hurts.
But the more you take the time to get to know and understand your candidates…
1. The less shocked you’ll be when they drop out.
2. The more understanding you’ll be if they have any doubts.
3. The less p*ssed oﬀ you will feel if everything falls through.
If you understand their reasons and circumstances, it’s much harder to be angry at them (seriously).
Plus, the more you learn from these experiences, the more you’ll be able to spot the warning signs in future.
3. You’ll become a better recruiter.
The same logic works the other way.
The more you get to know candidates before you hire them, the better you’ll be able to ﬁnd similar, likeminded
people in the future; you’ll know…
What motivates them.
What kind of things they like.
What stage of life they are at.
Empathy will help you see the signs, good and bad, earlier in the process.
4. You’ll give more people a chance.
Are you the kind of person who throws out a CV if you see one (however small) red ﬂag?
With a little bit of empathy, you will be more open to give people the beneﬁt of the doubt, to ﬁnd out what actually
happened and what that person genuinely has to oﬀer.
We’ve all had a rubbish job, boss and/or situation occur at some point in our lives. Does that necessarily mean we
can’t do our job well?
No recruitment process should be purely objective; if we don’t have any empathy, then chances are, we’ll miss out
on some brilliant candidates.
Recruiter Pro Tip
I know; we’re usually all about creating a “strict recruitment framework;” a way to simplify and
rationalise all of our hiring decisions.
But we shouldn’t forget that we are human beings; we are not simple and we are not purely rational.
We are not perfect and/or infallible.
Our empathy is what separates us from other animals.
Mark is one of the founders of Coburg Banks and heads up the permanent recruitment
division of the business. Every day he helps companies with their recruitment projects,
sourcing the very best individuals for their vacancies. He understands recruitment inside-
> More blog posts by Mark Wilkinson