It’s fair to say that recruiters get a bad rap.


Whether they’re In-house Recruiters, Agency Recruiters, International Recruiters, Headhunters, IT Recruiters or anything in between, those who place people in jobs for a living are often perceived with distrust and even scorn.

They say, “Don’t hate the player; hate the game.”

But by definition, the “game” of recruitmentseeking and placing people where they fit best – is far from malicious.

In fact, the problem we see most frequently is with recruitersrelationships with these people.

Ultimately, quality hiring processes – including candidate sourcing and engagement – require genuine interest in the people being hired.

Ready to uproot the stigma around recruitment and build honest, rewarding relationships with your candidates and clients?

Follow these 5 easy tips to ensure you put people first.


1. Think Beyond Resumes

It is critical to think outside of the box so as not to miss out on good candidates simply based on their CV.

Be open and consider the skills which candidates acquire across different jobs – people are more than just their job title!

Thinking about the bigger picture with candidates is symptomatic of a more comprehensive, ‘holistic’ approach to hiring. From the get-go, people-focused recruiters don’t think of candidates simply as ‘numbers’, or uni-dimensional profiles.

Some companies are even doing away with resumes and focusing only on skill assessments as an alternative, in order to still distinguish between candidates and see their unique strengths in action.

Furthermore, some predict that with advancements of technology, the act of reading a resume in itself will become obsolete. Indeed, in the future, data-driven tools may well automate (and radically speed up) the hiring process altogether.


2. Keep Your Inner Critic In Check

Research suggests that we make our judgement of people within less than a second, based on a range of prejudices and conceptions that we are not even fully aware of.

In order to minimise unconscious biases like these, consider giving some structure to your process by using different tools to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role.

Furthermore, our judgement can be skewed by a number of other influences. One to be particularly mindful of as recruiters is the Halo Effect

The ‘Halo Effect’ refers to a kind of immediate judgement, or cognitive bias, that we make at first glance.

This bias comes from us assuming unknown information about the subject in question, based on what we know for a fact. A common example is that of attractive people: people who are physically good-looking are often perceived as more successful and likeable as a result. 

Being aware of this can already improve our decision-making process when it comes to hiring. 

How can we listen to others if we have already made our own indisputable decisions about them?


3. Change Your Perspective

As a recruiter, it’s important to put yourself in the job seeker’s shoes.

We have all been job seekers ourselves at some point.

When sharing a job offer, think about whom that offer is directed at.

Focusing on your target audience is key.

How do you know who you’re talking to if you aren’t people-focused?

Each of them has different needs, and so your communication and approach with them should consider this.

Ask yourself: what are your candidates’ motivations and drivers?


4. Show Empathy

Let’s face it – job hunting is a stressful process.

In fact, job search stress is a well-documented phenomenon for job seekers.

But professionalism and compassion from recruiters can make a big difference for the candidate experience.

Be human and be kind. Every one of us has been a job seeker at some point in life, right?

Remembering the challenges and anxiety that come with searching for employment can help us relate to our candidates on a much deeper level.

Appropriate feedback is what candidates want, and is the least we can offer as recruiters.

Showing empathy also strengthens relationships with candidates, giving recruiters an extra edge when it comes to candidate engagement.

Furthermore, being human is not optimal from a purely moral standpoint. It also makes business sense. This is especially true in a candidate-short market, where building trustworthy relationships with candidates is a tried-and-true way to keep them interested (so as to prevent them from pulling out), and thus, finalise the placement.


5. Embrace Diversity

Though the gender gap is still very much evident in workplace demographics, particularly in upper management, statistics on workplace diversity demonstrate the power of gender equality in business.

It is proven that a diverse workforce fosters innovation, and it all starts with recruitment.

People are unique in their origins, backgrounds, mindsets, culture, education, – all the elements that comprise their life experience. And gender plays an undeniable role in one’s life experience.

It’s simple: why wouldn’t you explore and expand your talent pool to find the best possible talent out there?

It’s important also to reiterate that people are not just numbers – recruiting for true diversity of experience, skills and cultural background is not the same as meeting quotas in order to comply with legislation.


The bottom line is that recruitment wouldn’t exist without the people that need to be placed in those jobs. Recruitment itself should be understood like a kind of social service; a means of uniting job seekers with employers to foster a functional and dynamic job market.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about quality recruitment and engagement with candidates?

About the Author:

With over 15 years’ experience in advisory and leadership positions, William is an accomplished and pragmatic leader. Having helped countless international businesses grow and expand, William has an innate cross-cultural understanding. Passionate about his work, William loves mentoring and sharing with others.
Read more about William Gaguin.