In Recruiting You Must Turn Complainers Into Champions

Wrapping up this Love/Hate relationship with work series; she’s a Recruiting Specialist and Staffing Leader with over 15 years experience, working in the Minnesota area – She’s the President of the Twin Cities Human Resources Association, she’s kinduva big deal. Without further ado, Tiffany Kuehl.


Having a gig in recruiting is awesome! In this facet of human resources, I have the pleasure of supporting the organization by identifying great people to join the company. The work my team and I do has a positive impact on others, we get to tell people, “Congratulations, you’ve got the job!” Despite folks believing recruiting is an easy task, there is a lot of hard work that goes into staying on top of business needs and sifting through resumes and candidates until we have the perfect match for those needs. I enjoy my work, but as with any job, there is a downside.

I hate complaints about recruitment, but love turning the complainers into champions for my team!


Rants, feedback, noise, rhetoric – call it what you want, when hiring managers voice dissatisfaction with the recruitment process, it gets under my skin. I don’t like it when managers have a less than positive recruiting experience. I hate when the experience is so bad that the manager complains and retells their story to others.

What are hiring managers saying?

In any process there are opportunities for failure. Recruiting is no different. When hiring managers vent, they are identifying failure modes in the process and often say things like; “the recruiter didn’t understand my needs”,” I didn’t get enough candidates”, “I didn’t get qualified candidates”, “the recruitment process wasn’t clear”, “the process took too long”, or “the recruiter didn’t do anything, I found the candidate”. These perceptions become the reality and can influence other managers’ view of recruiting and the support we provide to the organization. Not good for the business of recruiting.

Address The Complaint

When a hiring manager is angry …uh, I mean “kind” enough to take time to share thoughts on the recruitment experience, the best thing for me to do is to show my appreciation for the feedback! Yes. You read right – show my appreciation! I thank them for providing insight into their time spent in the recruiting process, ask them for details and examples. But I don’t stop there. Once the root cause of the pain is determined, we agree on a solution, often involving expectation clarification and clearly defining roles and responsibilities. The most important piece of the remedy is following up, taking steps to correct the failures that occurred during the recruitment experience.


While I do hate the complaints from hiring managers, I love what they allow me and my team to do – improve! These grievances are my chance to turn the proverbial lemons into lemonade. Showing my customers, hiring managers, that their input is valuable helps me turn rants into raves – naysayers into cheerleaders! I love that!

Through a conversation with said complainant, I can get details behind the concerns raised. I am able to truly hear what they have to say about my process and their experience, I can take the necessary steps to improve the service my team and I provide and build a partnership with customers.

Think about it, how often do you get a call from a service provider after you’ve completed a survey or filed a grievance? Probably not too frequently, if ever. Taking this step is not only a differentiator for me and my recruiting team, but it allows us to earn fans. Those vocal hiring managers that were complaining are now advocating for us.

Use customer feedback to your advantage. Take the time to use your customers’ experience to continuously improve your partnership with them. Getting complaints from customers sucks. It usually means something is broken. 

How you respond to the criticism is essential!


Connect with Tiffany on LinkedIN (here) or on the Twitters @TiffanyKuehl.