How to build a strong relationship with your candidates

Written by Alfie Webber

Understanding your candidate's journey

To help maintain positive candidate relationships it's important to understand the candidate's journey through their eyes. A candidate’s journey is all-encompassing and should include everything from their first interaction, through to application, shortlisting interview, and any resulting decision. The aim is to map each stage and understand how your candidate may be feeling, what they might need, and what they might be missing. This will help you to nurture them through each stage and build a positive relationship.

Communicate consistently throughout the whole cycle

Consistent communication is often where recruiters fall short. The fast-paced environment of recruitment, juggling multiple candidates, and recruiting for numerous roles, often makes it difficult for recruiters to maintain communication at each stage of the candidate journey. Fortunately, technology can help. If you have the right software in place, communication is easy.

Show your face

Using video to simulate a face-to-face encounter, even if it’s for a 15-minute call will have a much better impact. If you are still only doing telephone recruiting, then you are missing out on a very beneficial tool that will boost your recruiting outcomes.


Candidate relationships is built around trust. Think about it: the recruiter has a direct hand in the candidate’s future. Both parties need to be transparent about what they want as an end result, this allows for the foundations to be built as you both will be along the same path and can allow you as the recruiter to understand what they exactly want. Candidates don’t always trust recruiters and vice versa. Candidates exaggerate their experience and recruiters exaggerate how amazing an opportunity is, creating an intrinsic and ever-present trust issue.


Building rapport requires a level of empathy that often only comes with an evolved relationship. Once you've had a few interactions with a candidate, it's easier to understand their excitement or defeat and offer a professional level of support.

Make them feel valued

One of the main reasons candidates withdraw from the hiring process is because they feel the company doesn’t value their time.

Applying, interviewing, and following up — these are time-consuming and potentially discouraging endeavors. Show your candidates that you understand this, and they’ll remember that you didn’t treat them like second-class citizens. Help them feel valued by:

  • Being on time for your meetings
  • Following up after they’ve interviewed
  • Allowing time for their questions
  • Doing due diligence about their professional experience
  • Acknowledging their time and effort, especially when it comes to skills testing.

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