Talent Acquisition

How to Build Trust With Clients and Candidates

Part of the job of a recruiter is to communicate sensitive information from one party to another, which often requires a great deal of trust amongst all those involved. Unfortunately, for legitimate recruiters trust with potential/ first time clients and candidates is often more difficult to establish than for other service providers, due to a general mistrust of the industry. This has been caused by individuals who carry out underhand recruitment practices and provide a poor level of service.

Many of the benefits that both clients and candidates receive from using a recruiter arise from the fact that there is no direct communication between employer and potential employee in the first instance.

For example, a candidate can have their profile submitted to businesses of interest anonymously, without potentially jeopardising their position within their current organisation and relevant candidates can be approached with job opportunities without a client directly having to contact their competition.

However, this lack of direct access can also be a source of suspicion and mistrust between client and recruiter and recruiter and candidate, especially if it is someone you haven’t worked with before. So how do you convince your customers to rest assured that you are working in their best interest? Here are 5 practises to give them the peace of mind that you are on their very much side.


The ability to negotiate is a great skill to have. Unfortunately it is something a lot of people struggle with and feel uncomfortable doing. It is therefore a great benefit to many candidates to have a third party at hand to do this on their behalf. The problem being the negotiator, is that it can often breed mistrust on the client side, especially if the chosen candidates is asking for more money. When working on a percentage of salary, accusations of trying to increase the salary in order to increase the fee isn’t unheard of. By capping the fee at the initial salary at this point is a good way to counteract this. By doing this you are not only demonstrating good faith, but also establishing that you are willing to compromise in order to keep the relationship going long term.

Honest is the best policy:

The most effective way to build trust is to be open and honest with both parties. This isn’t the same as being completely transparent, as there is always going to be details the client doesn’t want disclosing to the candidates and vice versa. But by being honest, regarding what you can and can’t disclose and the reasons why this is the case will build trust across the board. It is also important to be honest regarding why a role has been difficult to fill or why a candidate isn’t being successful at interview no matter what the reasons may be. A client may initially be offended if you inform them that they have a bad reputation as an employer within the industry or a candidate may take umbrage if you inform them that the interviewer thought they looked like they were dragged through a hedge backwards (you probably wouldn’t quite use those words), but on reflection they will respect you for your honesty and understand that you are ultimately trying to help them improve and achieve their ultimate goals.

Providing the evidence:

As well as being honest it is beneficial to provide evidence to back up your statements where ever possible. For example if a candidate is asking for more money, to establish the clients trust you can provide them with the salary band of all the candidates sourced for the role to demonstrate that the salary on offer is lower than average within the market place. If this isn’t the case then it is up to you to lower the candidate’s expectations using the same evidence as a basis.

It is extremely important to keep everyone updated. One of the biggest frustrations, especially from a candidate point-of-view, is having a meeting with a recruitment consultant and then hearing nothing. If it is a candidate you can potentially help, then schedule to call them regularly. If there isn’t any news, then call them anyway to see how they are and update them if you have being carrying out any work on their behalf. If you meet a candidate it is unlikely you can do anything for, then don’t string them along. They will respect you much more for being honest and saying you can’t help and will leave with a positive impression of you or your company. They may never use you again, but they may recommend you to someone that you can help.


As well as experience, trust can be built through recommendation. How we shop online very much demonstrates how much we trust the opinions of others. Very few people these days would make a purchase, see a film or go to a restaurant unless they have read a review regarding someone else’s thoughts on the product or experience. The number of ratings and reviews is also significant. It is much less of a risk buying a product or going to a place which has a high average rating amongst thousands of people. This is also the situation in recruitment. By collecting and publishing as many testimonials and case studies as you can from both clients and candidates you can demonstrate that you are a consultant worth trusting and who work on behalf of their customers’ best interests.

By Newman Stewart

Newman Stewart is an Executive Search and Management Selection company who helps excellent businesses employ excellent people. We are experts in our field and proud of the results we achieve for our clients. With a vast proven track record of success, nationally and internationally, we are the retained, recruitment partner of choice to many national, multi-national and small businesses.