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RecruitDC: 3 Questions for Gerry Crispin

2 min read


Later this month, recruitDC will bring together members of the local recruiting community to swap tales and best practices for working in the Washington job market. Recruiting veteran Gerry Crispin is among the topnotch speakers for the event, which SmartBrief is co-sponsoring. I recently had the chance to ask Gerry a few questions about his presentation. An edited transcript of the conversation is below.

You’re on a mission to improve the candidate experience. What’s the most common mistake you see companies make, in terms of how they treat applicants?

Companies fail miserably in two areas. First, they fail to listen and respond to what really matters. Applicants just want to know they’ve been fairly considered. They want a real person to promise that they’ll let them know when the job is filled … upfront. The second area is accepting that the “candidate” includes every person who has applied whether qualified or considered. Yes, the type of experience you can deliver as an employer will necessarily be different for a candidate who is a finalist but  that is the point. Define the experience you give to EACH class of candidate and you will embark on a great adventure.

Many recruiters and HR pros would tell you that the weak economy makes this a buyer’s market for talent, and they don’t need to bother with the “niceties.” How do you respond to that?

Assuming you can determine that the “talent” you seek is available (and I’m not certain it is regardless of the economic climate) it is possible to line up warm willing bodies and abuse them for the privilege of working for you. Good luck. You’ll get their body but certainly not their A game as they wait for something better.

It’s all about engagement. A motivated workforce gives 100% of what they have to give willingly. I would rather go to battle with B players operating at their best than A players stuck in 2nd gear.

What is one low-cost habit recruiters could adopt that would immediately improve the candidate experience?

Put their name and an appropriate way to connect to them on EVERY mention of the jobs they are responsible to help fill. Could be a chat room 1 hour a week, and email or a link to their linkedin profile but “outing” themselves is the first step toward world-class. Without it: no class.