Recruiting is NOT a Transaction, it’s an Interaction

The Importance of Customer Service in Recruiting

Several years ago, I listened to a senior leader from a major corporation speak on the importance of providing exceptional customer service. He stated something to the effect of customer service is not a transaction, it’s an interaction, and each interaction has the ability to attract and retain customers. Or, conversely the ability to put people off, leave and go elsewhere.

Doesn’t the same ring true in recruiting?


Your company’s recruiter may be the only person from your organization that job seekers ever meet. The impression that recruiter makes will leave a lasting impression of your entire organization. For better or worse, job seekers will judge your company based upon the interaction they have with your corporate recruiters. That’s why it’s critical that recruiters also firmly wear a “customer service hat.” Recruiters must exemplify all of the good that your company offers and be friendly, approachable, candidate-experience-focused ambassadors of your brand.

In order to be good customer service representatives, recruiters must also be:

  • Knowledgeable about their product (company, benefits, job description, culture, etc.)
  • Professional, enthusiastic, motivated
  • Effective communicators and good listeners
  • Efficient multi-taskers and skilled problem-solvers


If you walked into a business — retail store, restaurant, etc. — and were treated poorly or downright appalled by the service you received, what would you do? You might update your Facebook status and tell your 346 friends, write a one-star review on Yelp, tweet a negative @ message, and never go there again. The interaction that you had will somehow impact that company.

If someone applied for a job with your company, met with an unprofessional, lackluster recruiter and was left with a bad taste in his mouth, what do you think he would do?  Update his status (there go any possible referrals). Tweet about the experience (hopefully no one sees them). Post a negative review on Glassdoor (ouch!).  Share their disgust via the Indeed forums (ugh). This one person’s negative experience now has the ability to influence the masses and affect your ability to hire great people.

Now, think about this: How likely do you think this same person is to turn around and be a consumer of your company’s products?


Let’s say a long-term customer of yours finds herself in the job market; she applies to your company and then never hears back. Or, she does hear back and a recruiter schedules an interview and forgets to call her. What is the likelihood of
the applicant to remain a customer? I couldn’t find any global statistics or mind-blowing white papers to cite here, but the point is this:

All job seekers and applicants are potential consumers of your company’s brand and products. Your recruiters have the ability to directly influence consumer decisions and impact your company’s bottom line.


Does your company strive to provide excellent service to job seekers? How does your hiring team impact your business? What advice do you have for recruiters?

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


  1. Scott Ragusa says

    We send a note to every candidate and client after the placement. It is a way to check in and better understand how the experience was from all angles. The feedback from these notes had a direct impact on our changing our online timecard system. We also offer to have our clients grade us from 1-10. All grades below 8 get a phone call.



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