Serving the Candidate as a Customer

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As humans, it is natural to have certain reactions when we meet a new person. These reactions shape our perception of the other person. They also determine whether or not we want to continue to engage with that other person. If the experience with the other person is positive, we enjoy our mutual interactions and look forward to extending the time we spend with each other. If the experience of engagement is negative, most of us look forward to cutting off the time spent with that other person as quickly as we can.

With this in mind, the recruitment role taken on by the human resources practitioner can make or break a candidate’s job-seeking fortunes. As recruiters, we may find ourselves reacting to a particular candidate based on our own individual and personal perspectives. If the personal reaction is positive, the recruitment process with that candidate continues. If the reaction is negative, the process with that candidate stops. Either way, our responses as recruiters, in this type of approach, are based on our own self-interests and are not in support of the best interests of the organization that we must represent. The results from this type of approach are not good: the business interests of the organization are not met; the valid interests of the job-seeking candidate are not met; and the legitimate interests of meeting our human resources’ legal, ethical, and professional obligations are not met.

In order to meet the legitimate interests of the business and recruitment process, viewing the candidate as a customer can provide assistance in shaping the recruiter’s frame of reference. A customer service approach for the recruiter is explored in this article posted by HRD magazine.

As noted in the article, when the recruiter is able to use a customer service-based approach, the candidate and the recruiter both experience a better process. The result may be the same in that the candidate is not the successful choice for the organization; however, the credibility of the hiring process and its results are not put at risk when the recruiter has done their job by serving in the best interests of others.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If you experienced ‘ghosting’ by a recruiter during a job application process as a candidate, what impressions were you left with of the recruiter and the company you wanted to join? Would you re-apply as a candidate in the future?
  2. From an HR perspective, how can you monitor and adapt your personal reactions (positive or negative) during the recruitment process in order to maintain objectivity and reduce recruitment risks?
  3. In your opinion, what is the value of using a customer service-based approach for job candidates? Explain your rationale.

Who is Checking Whom?

What is good for the goose is good for the gander.


This idiom is often used to explain how equitable treatment can be applied in a given situation. Sometimes, these old phrases help to remind us of common human behaviours or expectations in the midst of increasing social and technological change.

At this point in the evolution of how social media is used, it should be no surprise to anybody that individual online profiles are subject to public scrutiny. This is particularly true in the recruitment function of Human Resources. Most employers who are actively engaged in the process of recruitment will spend some time reviewing candidate online profiles looking for multiple elements that may or may not determine an individual’s potential suitability and organizational fit.

The number of employers involved in social media searches continues to increase, as noted in a recently published survey. In addition, the survey indicates that employers are more likely to eliminate a potential candidate if they (the employer) are unable to find an online profile at all.

Click here to read about the social media survey results.

While the rates and the percentages of recruiters checking on candidate profiles through social media channels is on the rise, so too are the rates of individual job-seekers who are checking on those who are checking on them.

Click here to read how job seekers prepare for interviews including social media searches.

Job-seeking candidates have the same access to social media platforms as employers. Most candidates know that part of the preparation for a job interview includes online research through a corporate or organizational website or other online resources. As professional recruiters, we do expect a motivated candidate to come to the screening and selection process having done their homework, which would include research on the company profile and other business elements.

What we as recruiters may not fully appreciate is that job-seekers are increasingly going beyond the corporate profile, and are following through on our individual social media profiles. A job-seeker might gain significant insight as to whether or not a company would represent a good fit for them by paying attention to a potential employer’s comments and posts on social media.

It seems that a little bit of social media digging will indeed go a long way for the recruiting goose as well as the job-seeking gander.


Discussion Questions:

How would you update your current employer’s social media profile in order to attract a diversity of candidates?

As an HR professional, what would a prospective candidate see and read about you through your online profile as a private individual?

What sites do you expect candidates to research before coming in for an interview?

As a candidate, how much time to you spend researching potential employers, including checking out their individual profiles online?