Why candidate trust is crucial to your hiring process

Posted June 15th, 2023

Developing a long-term relationship with your candidates might actually be the easiest way to optimise your recruitment strategy. Recruiters often face the challenge of balancing heavy workloads and demanding KPIs, making it difficult to prioritise the human aspect of the recruitment process. As a result, candidates may view recruiters with scepticism and even indicate their unwillingness to work with them by including "no recruiters" in their social media profiles. This negative perception of recruitment stems from factors such as the immense pressure on recruiters to place a large number of applicants and them not having adequate tools or resources, which can result in a lack of attentiveness towards candidates. 

There is a growing understanding that successful recruitment relies on building long-term professional relationships with the candidate, so losing your candidate’s trust might be costing you more than you think. In this article, we’ll take a look at why gaining a candidate’s trust helps your recruiting strategy and suggest some simple steps to start building a great relationship with your candidates.

Why you need to build relationships with your candidates

Building relationships with candidates creates a positive experience for both you and your candidates, but it also comes with many benefits for your recruitment strategy. 

1. It provides a better candidate experience 

Over the last few years we have seen how important it is to provide a great candidate experience, and the importance is only growing as employer branding is becoming increasingly important. Many recruiters are seeing that recruitment is becoming more like marketing so they focus on attracting candidates through a positive company image. 

Unsurprisingly, candidates want to work with agency or employer brands that they can trust. They are more likely to apply to a business that they consider to be reputable - 52% of candidates look at the company website and social media to learn more about an employer.  Considering that 72% of job seekers are likely to share their bad experiences online or with someone directly, making sure that your candidate has a great experience is very important. 

Building a strong relationship with your candidates builds loyalty to your company and enhances their overall candidate experience. This positive experience, in turn, presents a remarkable opportunity as a marketing strategy, as an impressive 77% of candidates are inclined to share it within their professional network.

2. It creates more potential recruitment opportunities

Creating a great relationship with candidates also means you may have future opportunities with them. 

People prefer working with recruiters they already know and have a relationship with. A survey created by Signature Career Management has found that 80% of their respondents said they were far more likely to consider an approach from a recruiter if they’ve dealt with them before. However, if a recruiter ceases communication, it can be challenging to rebuild a relationship with a candidate, even if they become a suitable fit for a future job opportunity.

If a candidate is unsuccessful for one role or chooses to pursue an alternative opportunity, it does not mean they will not be a great candidate for a future opportunity. Maintaining a positive relationship, regardless of the outcome, is an excellent way to keep an open door, as it demonstrates your commitment to candidates as individuals rather than solely viewing them as CVs to fill the roles.

This idea is part of Bullhorn’s Connected Recruiting model, which encourages recruiters to keep candidates who were not placed into a role as part of the talent flywheel in their recruitment process. Allen Recruitment has reported that 60% of their placements come directly from their database when implementing the Connected Recruiting model. 

3. It creates a competitive advantage

Although technology today has made it easier to find candidates, having such large numbers has made it more difficult to engage with them. With the rise of social media hiring, candidates are being targeted by the same recruitment agencies and hiring teams - receiving countless messages about a ‘brilliant job opportunity’. This causes them to become less and less responsive, to the point where some candidates mark their profiles with a ‘no recruiters’ warning. 

Recruiters who have come across as pushy or flaky have slowly undermined the trust people have in the recruitment industry, which means that many candidates are sceptical of the industry. This has contributed to the rise of ‘candidate ghosting’ - where almost 95% of recruiters have had candidates ghost them. 

Ultimately, recruitment is about helping candidates find jobs and employers find the best talent. Therefore, it is essential to focus on candidate engagement and build meaningful relationships to boost your brand awareness and set yourself apart from the competition.

How to build trust with candidates

The most important aspect of a great relationship is trust. In the words of Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Trust is the glue of life… It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” The relationship between a recruiter and a candidate is no different.

Here are some ways you can start building trust with your candidate.  

Be Transparent 

While being transparent alone may not be enough to build trust, it is certainly a great start. Telling your candidate only what you think they need to know might end up causing more harm than good. 

Sometimes it can be difficult to be fully transparent. Candidates often ask questions that may require information from the employer, and if the employer is taking a long time to get back to you or is vague about their job description then it is hard to give a concrete answer. 

At the same time, you want to give the candidate the information that will keep them engaged in the recruitment process. However, this comes at the risk of making vague promises that might look like an attempt to hide the truth in order to push the candidate into a role. Furthermore, it can be frustrating for the candidate if recruiters are not fully upfront about the success or status of their application, as it makes it difficult to plan the next steps of their job-search. 

Ultimately, candidates want to be fully informed when they are making important decisions. If they feel like you aren’t telling them the full story, it naturally makes it more difficult for them to trust you during this process.


Communication is a pillar of trust in every relationship, and one of the best ways of earning a candidate's trust is by following up when you said you would. A set of questionnaires on LinkedIn found that more than 90% of respondents have experienced being ghosted by a recruiter at least once, with 35% saying it happens all the time. 

Candidate surveys have found 81% of candidates emphasise that ongoing communication throughout the recruitment process is the crucial element that would significantly enhance their candidate experience. Furthermore, 70% of candidates would be happy for recruiters to keep their data on file for up to two years if it led to a more personalised recruitment experience.

So, one of the simplest ‘quick-fix’ methods of building trust within your candidate relationships - and setting yourself apart as a brand - is by being a more reliable communicator. If you said you will call a candidate back in a few days, then call them back in a couple of days - even if they did not get the job.

Leverage Automation Tools

Building long-term relationships with candidates involves investing time. However, with recruiters working on an average of 20-30 job requisitions at a time, building relationships with each individual candidate can seem almost impossible. 

Moreover, recruiters attempting to process these applications find themselves spending approximately 40% of the average 8-hour workday on unproductive tasks and manual data entry. In order to reduce the amount of time that recruiters spend on tedious manual tasks, you need to integrate automation tools into your recruitment workflows. This will free up time for recruiters to create more meaningful relationships with the candidates. 

Automation technology can help recruiters throughout the recruitment process. As well as automatically capturing essential data, engagement tools can enable automated ongoing communication with candidates in your database, ensuring timely outreach when suitable roles align with their profiles. By leveraging automation, recruiters can streamline workflows, increase efficiency, and foster ongoing engagement with candidates, ultimately enhancing the overall recruitment experience for both candidates and recruiters.

Why building candidate trust should be a key part of your recruitment strategy

Building lasting relationships and engaging with candidates is crucial for a successful recruitment strategy. With more candidates entering the job market, recruiters often struggle to balance heavy workloads. This can lead to a lack of attentiveness to candidates who then have a negative perception of the recruitment process.

Building trust with candidates offers several benefits. Firstly, it provides a better candidate experience and enhances your employer brand, as candidates are more likely to apply to reputable companies. Secondly, it creates more potential recruitment opportunities, as candidates are more likely to consider an approach from a recruiter they have dealt with before. 

Thirdly, it creates a competitive advantage by boosting brand awareness and setting yourself apart from the competition. To build trust with candidates, recruiters should be transparent, communicate effectively, and leverage automation tools to streamline workflows and foster ongoing engagement. 

To find out more on how recruitment automation creates more time to spend on relationship-building, read our article.

Tags: DaXtra Blog, Candidate Experience, Candidate Sourcing