How to Improve the Client/Candidate Experience

OKIs the experience people have with your staffing firm worth talking about? If so, what do you think your clients and candidates are saying?

According to CareerBuilder and Inavero’s 2012 Opportunities in Staffing Study, client satisfaction is on the decline. Responsiveness is a critical component of how satisfied your clients and candidates are, and there’s a significant gap between what staffing firms say they’re doing and what clients and candidates say they’re experiencing. For example, when it comes to being responsive:

  • Fifty-six percent of staffing firms say they return client calls within two hours; yet only 25 percent of clients say they receive a response that quickly, and
  • Sixty-six percent of staffing firms say they get back to job candidates within a day, but only 40 percent of candidates say they receive a response in that time frame. (Nearly 20 percent say they don’t hear back for a week or more!)

These statistics underscore the need to create clear, simple standards for meeting clients’ and candidates’ needs and to make sure these standards are understood throughout your firm. Here are three areas where clients and candidates say you can improve their experience:

  1. Communicate Early and Often. Clients expect to have their calls and e-mails returned within two hours and job candidates expect to hear back within a day. Once candidates are placed, it’s considered a best practice to contact the candidate two to three days prior to the start of their assignment and two to three days after the assignment has begun. And remember, no news is far worse than bad news. The survey found that staffing firms that deliver bad news have a much higher satisfaction score than those that do not get back to candidates at all. Bottom line: More communication throughout the placement process makes clients and candidates feel like you’re on top of things and have their back.
  2. Help Candidates Improve. If you’re unable to place a candidate, let the candidate know what he or she can do to become more desirable to employers — be it acquiring new skills or gaining experience through an internship or volunteering.
  3. Manage Turnover and Transitions. Turnover is inevitable. How you manage it can make a world of difference. When clients work with a new recruiter, they want to know: Can I trust him? Does she have access to the right resources? Does he “get” my company and my industry?

Put your clients’ fears to rest by introducing them to their new recruiter early in the transition. Let them know their new recruiter will be brought up-to-speed on their business and industry. Finally, don’t just inform them of the change. Make them excited about working with their new recruiter by letting them know the experience, skills and benefits he or she brings to the relationship.

Focusing on these areas will not only improve the client/candidate experience but ensure your firm’s continued growth by getting people talking about you for the right reasons.

Andrea Wagner-Giagkou
Andrea Wagner-Giakou is a national sales director in CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group.

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