A strong candidate–recruiter relationship is everything, according to Randy Moore

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“Recruitment is emotional,” says Randy Moore, from his study near New York. He’s not wrong; we’ve all been through it – spending hours finding the perfect vacancy, crafting the ultimate cover letter and then waiting. The anticipation, the frustration, the joy – almost every emotion is pricked and prodded in the job hunting process.

If anyone knows about recruitment and how to make the job search experience better, then it’s Randy. The ex-professional baseball player has been in the industry for over 20 years and is now a Managing Director at New Jersey-based Associated Global Services. He’s also the founder and CEO of talent management system, Pocket Recruiter, and will soon be appearing as a boss on online global reality show, Top Recruiter (along with ARM’s own Adam Razzell, who is a contestant).

So when Randy says that recruitment is emotional, you know that’s experience talking. What he means, though, is that recruitment is a human activity and its success – for both parties – relies heavily on relationship building.

“A relationship is a two-sided bond”

It’s clear that above everything else, Randy values relationship building – he had to. Twenty years ago, before the existence of databases and job boards, recruiters had no other option but to simply telephone someone in the middle of the day (“You’d call them up and genuinely not know what they did!”). Randy quickly learned how vital it was to get to know the individual, to understand their motivations.

“How do I place that person if I don’t know what really drives them?” He says. “To call a candidate with a job that’s ‘right’ is a big mistake. How do you know what’s important to them?”

Instead, Randy spends time getting to know the person, asking questions about family, where they went on holiday, plans for the future and passions, to create a fuller picture of the individual’s life. “I find out all of these things before I ever assume they’re right for a job in the first place.”

This approach breaks the ice, gets conversations going and demonstrates genuine care - which, in turn, builds trust on both sides. “A relationship is a two-sided bond, both have to let down their shields for something to happen,” he says.

Armed with information on the candidate, it’s easier to understand what aspects of a particular role might excite them (the ‘sizzle’ of the job, as Randy calls it: “What’s going to turn somebody on? What’s going to make them want to come here?”). That makes the matching process far easier and – importantly – more accurate.  

Randy has proudly met every one of his candidates face to face, but appreciates that’s not the only way to build a strong, fulfilling relationship; especially when there are so many technological innovations at our fingertips which can aid communication.

“Technology improves the candidate experience”

Technology has always been important in job hunting – whether it’s the printing press that got those job ads into our local newspaper or the latest instant message apps. Some people might fear that new tech removes the essence of the candidate-recruiter relationship, namely the personal touch, but Randy thinks otherwise.

“When the first job boards came out, people said: ‘Oh god, no more recruiters!’ Then with LinkedIn: ‘Oh god, no more recruiters!’ What separates recruiters is relationship building,” he says. “Recruitment is unique in that it’s a sale with a human being on both sides, but you can do that on the phone. It’s still communication, right? Embrace it, adapt and utilise it to grow.”

Technological innovation has served also to improve the relationship and enhance what both candidates and recruiters can get out of it – including the Holy Grail of candidate wishes: providing instantaneous feedback.

A case in point is Pocket Recruiter, borne out of Randy’s frustration that his own recruiters were forced to spend so many hours screening irrelevant CVs and not building those important relationships. Combined with a passion for artificial intelligence, Randy and his team created a system that can not only match more effectively, but learns as it goes along (“I’m building a human inside a computer”), allowing subsequent searches to be even better.

It means that recruiters don’t need to spend so much time going through CVs, and can instead focus on the human activity of the job: getting to know the candidates and making the best career matches for them.

Randy believes that tech innovation is a good thing for recruitment. “Now, I can communicate better with my candidates. I can find people faster and more accurately. I use tech to improve the candidate experience.” 

Best interests at heart

We recently ran a survey on job hunting. Our results reveal the one thing that respondents feel would improve the job hunting experience is a recruitment consultant who has their best interests at heart. What people fail sometimes to remember, though, is for that to happen, they need to play an active role in developing and sustaining the two-sided relationship.

To get the most from your consultant and establish them as a trustworthy career partner who is sufficiently equipped to match you with a role, Randy says it’s important to be friendly, understanding and optimistic.

“If both sides go into every call with the right optimism, good things can happen for both parties,” he explains. “And understanding that hopefully we’re all here for the same purpose: to get that person a great career.”

As far as Randy is concerned, the candidate-recruiter relationship is not designed to simply fill one position, it’s about looking at the wider picture and taking a long-term view.

“I’m here to find you a good career – that’s how it should be flowing,” he asserts. 

It’s important, no shadow of a doubt, that you are open, trusting and honest with your consultant – answer the phone, respond to their emails and nurture that relationship. After all, the right relationship could lead you to a perfect, satisfying and rewarding professional future.

Watch Randy on Top Recruiter later this month and follow him on Twitter at @Recruit_Doctor.