Executive search and recruiting is a business that’s all about people and relationships. In the construction industry, talent has always been scarce – which is why creating a meaningful and memorable candidate experience is critical. The candidate experience is the feeling that candidates will take away from the recruitment process and form the foundation of their perception of your EVP, company and brand. The candidate experience includes any interactions and touchpoints across your brand, team members, software, the application process, website, emails, communications, and much more.

Why Does The Candidate Experience Matter? 

Of the hundred or so candidates a recruiter sources, screens, interviews, and interacts with for filling a position – only one finalist will be selected. Providing a positive candidate experience to the remaining 99 candidates is key for two primary reasons:

  • They will be encouraged and willing to apply for future positions at your company 
  • They will share their experience with other colleagues and industry peers

The second point is the most important for construction firms. People are more likely to share negative than positive experiences and perpetuate this message to anyone who will listen. This can hurt your brand, your EVP and destroy your talent acquisition and recruiting efforts. Since talent is already scarce, a company and a recruiter cannot afford 99 individuals speaking negatively about their experience of the hiring process or your company.

How Do You Create A Great Candidate Experience? 

Every interaction between your brand and a candidate should be purposeful, positive and progressive. Attracting top talent is the first major challenge in recruiting for construction firms, but keeping this talent engaged throughout the recruitment process is an even bigger issue. Here are a few simple ways to assure that your recruiters and teams deliver a high-touch candidate experience.

10 Ways To Assure You Deliver A High-Touch Candidate Experience

  1. Remain truthful in all communications (do not lead a candidate on)
  2. Make applying to jobs an easy and painless process.
  3. Avoid rescheduling or canceling interviews or meetings
  4. Remove a candidate from all irrelevant email lists or promotional communications and limit communications so they do not miss important messages or meetings
  5. Make sure each and every phase of the process has clear next steps and prompt follow-up.
  6. Keep a candidate engaged and informed of their status frequently
  7. Remain professional, ask meaningful questions and actively listen. 
  8. Be respectful and mindful of a candidate’s time – never ghost a candidate.
  9. Prepare a well-written and thoughtful rejection letter.
  10. Flag a candidate as off-limits (internally) if they are currently in the interviewing process, so other team members do not contact the same candidate for different positions.

As a search consultant and recruiter, it is my responsibility to assure that each candidate I build a relationship with trusts me, my team and the process. Sometimes this means engaging and nurturing a candidate for years before I have the right opportunity for them or before they are ready to make a career move. For example, I once worked on a search for a Project Manager role for a client in the Pacific Northwest. The candidate that the client ended up hiring – I had spent over 2 years cultivating a relationship with. When I reached out one day, the candidate took my call and was finally ready to make a move – all of this due to a positive candidate experience that began years prior. 

What To Expect From A Great Recruiter As a Candidate. 

In construction, there are a lot of mediocre recruiters out there who give recruiting and search a bad reputation. Many recruiters at staffing agencies and in-house corporate recruiters are overworked and treat relationships with candidates as transactional rather than personal. With their main responsibility focused on filling a position as quickly as possible, the candidate experience will likely suffer. 

A great recruiter should take time out of their day to get to know you, your aspirations, your motivations, what you want in your future and how they can help you get there. Investing this time and attention lets the recruiter know who you are and what you value in the workplace and in life. They will then use this information to strategically focus and match you with the best fit company and position. This may not be the immediate position that the recruiter is actively recruiting for, but a great recruiter will be honest, transparent and have your best interest in mind.

What I’ve learned after many years in search and recruiting is that every relationship with every candidate matters. We are in the business of building relationships and this will always take priority over the number of clients we have, the quantity of searches we work on, or the total contacts within our network. 

About The Author. 

Jeff Raymond (jeff@raymondsearchgroup.com) President and Founder of Raymond Search Group (RaymondSearchGroup.com) is an industry-leading recruiter specializing in Construction and Real Estate, Engineering, Architecture, HVACR/R, Building Automation Systems, MEPF, and Manufacturing. Jeff is known for delivering the top 5% of industry talent to his clients with an unrivaled efficiency and network. Clients and candidates alike rely on Jeff as a trusted advisor through his recruiting expertise, and industry insight.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Management and Operations from University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is experienced in the construction industry and is Procore certified in multiple areas. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, ASHRAE, the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR), and The OSHA Education Center Association.