Managing Conflict In Recruitment

2022-04-25 |  Clare Allan

How do you manage conflict in recruitment, whilst maintaining a good customer experience?

There are often varying degrees of conflict in recruitment – and generally speaking, if things go wrong, it’s easy to become the scapegoat. Because it’s rare that a candidate accepts a role without any questions or negotiations, and you’ll often find curveballs thrown in at the last minute.

One recent situation comes to mind, in which a candidate was interested in an outside-IR35 day-rate contract role, but after three interviews the role was offered on a fixed term PAYE contract basis. This was frustrating as the goalposts had been moved, with no explanation as to why the role was suddenly deemed inside IR35. It meant we had to balance some unexpected negotiation while squashing any negativity between client and candidate. Luckily in this case an agreement was reached and both parties were happy.

Often, if the recruitment process drags on for weeks, people’s circumstances change and that too can cause conflict. For example, a candidate’s salary expectations may go up over the course of a couple of months if the market changes, or if they experience increased interest in their CV. 

 The key is to stay as connected as you can to both parties and to ask the right questions to the candidate: 

  • What other opportunities do you have in the pipeline? 
  • Which is your preferred option? 
  • Has your availability changed? 
  • Are you still able to potentially start on X date? 

Or in terms of the client:

  • How many other candidates are you interviewing? 
  • How many stages are there in the recruitment process? 
  • Who makes the final decision?

Keeping informed ensures you can give both parties the best possible customer experience and avoid potential problems.

Telling candidates they were unsuccessful can also be a potential area for conflict. Nine times out of ten, the message is received graciously, but occasionally candidates can become defensive and argumentative. It’s important to deliver accurate feedback in order for them to improve their performance next time. But sometimes it’s a tricky message to deliver!

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