February 2nd, 2021

Managing Expectations – “Under Promise, Over Deliver”

If you tell someone you are going to get them an incredible birthday present and you just end up giving them a card, they will be extremely disappointed. Tell them you are not planning on anything big for their birthday and end up with a huge surprise for them, they will be thrilled.

Ultimately that is your objective in recruitment when managing a candidate’s expectations. A good recruiter is able to not only able to get the best offer for the candidate but more importantly manage the candidate’s expectations in case the best offer is not obtained.

There is nothing worse than telling a candidate that you are guaranteeing them XX amount and instead not being able to deliver on that said promise. This only happens when the recruiter is not honest with the candidate and not transparent with them.

These uncomfortable and difficult conversations need to be had right from the beginning and need to be reinforced every step of the way from the first contact until the offer stage. This way there is no misunderstanding and everything has been made clear since day one.

When working in a recruitment agency, managing expectations throughout the process is critical to building a great relationship with the candidate, yet managing expectations can prove to be tricky. Candidates usually have unrealistic expectations and do not have the same amount of market knowledge, insight, or visibility with the client as you do. Hence your job is to communicate that to the candidate to help them set realistic expectations moving forward.

If a candidate refuses to reconsider their position then unfortunately they’re wasting time for themselves, your client and you as the recruiter, and it would not be advised to introduce that candidate into the recruitment process. Misaligned expectations can quickly turn in to obstruction, hence it is critical to manage expectations right from the start and minimize these situations throughout the recruitment process.

Studies show that almost 25% of candidates expect to be hired within just two weeks after applying for a role. The need to manage candidate expectations has grown rapidly in these times. Recruitment agencies have become more aware of the potential damage that this could cause to their brand if the recruitment process is not up to the standards of the candidate. If the candidate has a poor experience due to the recruitment process being lengthy or disorganized, the majority of them would have a negative image of the company and would then proceed to share that negative experience with friends and family.

The solution? Communication. Identifying the best way to communicate with your candidates will ultimately help you set standards and expectations from the beginning. Be extremely clear with timelines and make sure you stick to them. If you inform a candidate you will be getting back to them in a week with feedback, make sure you do. If there no update, a phone call will be enough. Keep them warm and ensure they understand why the process is taking so long.

Finally, be human. Sometimes as recruiters we forget how it is to be on the other end – anxious, nervous, and stressed waiting for the phone to ring with the news of whether you have been successful or not. Have catch up calls with candidates, communicate honestly, help them understand the process and hopefully if you do that and all the above steps, you will have successfully managed a candidate’s expectations.

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