Recruiters – Six Ways to Gather More Useful Feedback

Published on www.shortlist.net.au
Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Relying solely on consultants to collect customer feedback gives recruitment companies a skewed picture of how clients and candidates perceive them, according to recruitment marketing specialist Paul Quinn.

“Some owners that I’ve talked to say ‘oh we don’t need to have a formal feedback system in place because our consultants are at the coalface and they’re continually getting feedback from their clients and their candidates,” says Quinn.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily an optimal approach. If a consultant doesn’t do a great job with a client, I’m not sure that that client is going to feel fantastic about telling the consultant directly. Some may, but some might think that’s too confrontational,” he says.

“The other part of it is: is the consultant then going to get back to the business if they got negative feedback? Probably not.”

Collecting useful feedback requires recruiters to cast the net wider than just the customers who are happy with them, Quinn says.

That might sound obvious, but he says agency owners often only talk to the candidates they’ve placed, and the clients where they’ve made placements.

“In my mind, that’s like your mum asking you for feedback just after you’ve had roast dinner on a Sunday… You’ve got to look more broadly at who you invite to be part of the feedback process.”

Many recruitment companies have a “head in the sand” mentality when it comes to collecting customer feedback, Quinn told a recent Rec Tech Solutions webinar.

His research indicates fewer than half of recruiters have a formal feedback system in place, and many still rely on annual surveys.

Feedback Systems Help Put Out Client Fires

Quinn, who has previously worked in senior marketing roles at IT recruitment companies including Candle (now Clarius), and AmBit Technology (now Peoplebank), says recruitment managers who monitor their feedback consistently are better equipped to manage customer dissatisfaction as it arises, and can avoid being blind-sided by client losses.

His tips for maintaining an effective feedback system include:

  • Employ good time management – Managers can spend a lot of time setting up their surveys but then get sidetracked and forget to monitor the results, Quinn says.He recommends sending invitations on a weekly basis to reach out to people the company has dealt with over the prior week, setting up email alerts for when people respond, and scheduling a review of customer feedback every six months to make decisions from it;
  • Appoint a feedback ‘champion’ – This helps ensure the system runs efficiently, and ideally, “you’d actually make it part of their KPIs”, says Quinn.
  • Ensure feedback invitations are “personalised, relevant and recent” – Avoid ‘Dear candidate’, and instead, refer to the last dealing you had with that person. Test the response rates of different subject lines, and remove references to ‘we’ and replace them with ‘you’ – make it about the respondent.”Also, don’t send out a generic link. I’ve seen some recruiters put out a generic link within their email signature, and after a while that just becomes like wallpaper – people don’t even notice it,” Quinn says;
  • Assure invitees about the confidentiality of their responses – Be clear about who will review the feedback, whether it’s going directly to the consultant, or a senior manager. The more senior the person, the better, as this “elevates the importance of the invite”;
  • Keep it short – Quinn has seen surveys with as few as one question and as many as 65, and says no more than 10–15 is ideal.”After you go beyond that, you start to see a drop-off rate in survey completion.”He generally recommends including a Net Promoter Score® question in each survey, and allowing text space for respondents to freely write comments.Agencies should also ensure basic information such as contact details are pre-filled for the invitee, to help them avoid “survey fatigue” – “If you have all that information about a respondent, you shouldn’t waste their time asking for that information again”; and
  • Reduce “noise” – While it’s important for recruiters to get feedback from clients even if they didn’t make a placement with them, it’s advisable not to canvass applicants who didn’t make it to interview stage, as this can bring in too much data.

 

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