Recruiting, first and foremost, is about relationships. Finding the right fit for the right job, saying “no” by being consoling rather than condescending, building bridges to smooth out conflicts, are among the traits that help individuals become successful recruiters. This implies that recruiters must not only demonstrate business savvy, but also a high degree of emotional intelligence.


Listen before you speak. This small adage is critical to your success as a recruiter, and to the strength of your relationship with your candidate(s). When speaking to a candidate, ask the following questions to gain an in-depth understanding of how your candidate feels, and what can be done to improve his/her situation:

  • What are the candidate’s goals and aspirations?
  • What does the candidate’s ideal position look like?
  • What is most important to the candidate about his/her future position(s)?
  • How has the candidate’s experience been thus far?
  • Does the candidate feel you are knowledgeable about the job and the skills required?
  • Is the process moving at the pace the candidate expected?
  • Has there been enough, and appropriate, communication throughout the process?


You need not spend hours on the phone with a candidate to cater to every whim, and each message may not be a good one, however, quick, consistent, and thorough communication, regardless of the message being positive or negative, is vital throughout the hiring process. It starts with acknowledging that a candidate’s application has been received, trailed by constant follow-ups throughout the hiring process, once a candidate’s application has been successfully submitted to a client. While the active candidates require attention, undoubtedly, the more passive candidates should also receive constant communication as well, making them feel respected and valued.


Honesty is key in building trust with a candidate. A recruiter who is just as open about the negatives of a certain position, as well as the positives, will be able to build a more meaningful relationship with the prospect. For example, you come across a job for which you feel you have exactly the right candidate, as per the requirements in front of you. However, from your communication with that candidate, you know the position is not one where the candidate may prosper. Instead of pushing the job to meet your quota, and getting your prospect’s hopes up for a “great” opportunity, explain to the candidate why a certain opportunity might not be in his/her best interest. Being upfront about the truth is a quality prospects will admire and respect, and in the long-run, lead to a more meaningful, mutually-beneficial relationship.

The key to building meaningful relationships with candidates lies in the ability to build trust – the foundation upon which all relationships are built. To build trust, recruiters must take the time and initiative to ensure candidates are heard and served, promptly and appropriately. As a recruiter, make the effort to understand your candidate, communicate with them constantly, and ensure transparency throughout the entire recruiting process. It pays off.

Kevin Pochapin
Vice President