Bond with Your Candidates

While surfing the Internet for information on a presentation, I came across a Toastmasters video of a guy giving suggestions on “how to overcome the fear of public speaking.” The example that he used to get his point across will certainly help you if you have to give a speech, but more important, it will help recruiters fill more jobs by emotionally connecting with both the hiring manager and applicant on every deal.

He indicated that in order to eliminate stage fright and deliver an effective presentation, the speaker must know both the subject matter of his speech and his audience. When that is established, the objective of the speaker is to simply share information that he likes about the subject that he wants his audience to know. And, because the speaker is convinced that his audience will like the subject, he will not only use words, he will also subconsciously employ eye contact, facial expressions, dramatizations, body language, and enthusiasm to emotionally connect with the audience.

Here is the example: Let’s say that you have a male friend who is single and is open to a meaningful relationship should the right female cross his path. And, it so happens that you meet a new friend, and after getting to know her, you realize that they would be interested in each other if they knew what you know. You decide to become a matchmaker and introduce your friends to each other.

To make the introduction, most of us would immediately pick up the phone and enthusiastically describe each person to the other as if he or she actually walked on water. We would describe everything that we like about each individual, emphasize the level of interest, and encourage a first date.

What is the likelihood of a first date materializing after such a compelling introduction? And what kind of influence would you have on the courtship if the first date was a success? This is also the job of a professional recruiter; he must emotionally connect with the hiring manager and the applicant to be successful in filling job requisitions.

A recruiter’s job is to sell two of the greatest products ever conceived: talent and opportunity. And, because of electronic technology (e.g., job descriptions, resumes, and emails), he is challenged in emotionally connecting with the hiring manager and applicant (i.e., buyers and sellers).

Let me demonstrate this challenge. Let’s say that someone from HR emailed to you a job description along with resume submittal procedures.

Article Continues Below

Job Descriptions

We know that the search process is typically initiated by the hiring manager. But, if the hiring manager is not accessible to the recruiter, the recruiter is forced to make an emotional connection with the person hidden behind the job description. And, most job descriptions are unexciting; they are no different than an insurance policy that consists simply of terms and generic verbiage. After you read the fine print, it’s all about work. Unless someone’s desperate for a job, who gets that excited about work?

The recruiter needs to emotionally connect with the hiring manager to bring the job description to life! If not, his presentation will be uninspiring. In making any presentation without fully understanding the scope of the job, the company brand, the accomplishments of the hiring manager, the strength of his team, and the specific role on the team, he will lose credibility with the applicant. More important, his job is at risk because he will be perceived as someone lacking competence by the hiring manager based on the lack or quality of resumes submitted.

A job description by itself is simply a request for resumes. To the recruiter, resumes are simply billboard advertising that individuals use to present an image to the world as how they would like to be perceived. To HR, resumes are screened profiles of only A-players who have the right skills, understand the role, live in geographic proximity, are underpaid, and are sold on the company brand. Because of disconnect in expectations, HR will always complain that recruiters need to do a better job of screening candidates, and recruiters will complain that HR is continuously changing the job description. In order to deliver quality talent, the recruiter must connect with the person hidden behind the resume. To do so, he must start by connecting with the person hidden behind the job description.

Email

Email has changed the way we communicate with each other; it is also a very efficient method in terms of productivity and time and cost savings. However, when used primarily to avoid direct conversations, it is the most damaging element in emotionally connecting the hiring manager with the applicant. Emails create disconnect for the following reasons:

  • They are unreliable and may not reach the recipient’s mailbox.
  • The message content is sender-focused, so its intent is often misinterpreted by the recipient.
  • Words alone are faceless and voiceless; they take away from one’s sense of hearing.
  • Words alone are generic; they place everyone on the same playing field and do not distinguish the individuality or true personality of the sender.
  • Written words cannot detect or elicit a person’s true emotional reaction in real time.
  • The thoughts behind the actual words are projected.

Recruiting is a relationship-building business in which one must continually practice his verbal and interpersonal communication skills to be successful. Any reason to interact is an opportunity to build on your relationship with that individual. Email, though convenient, is counterproductive when your job is to emotionally connect with individuals who you do not know on a personal level.

Before the Internet, recruiters successfully filled jobs without a resume or a job description. They did this by bonding with both the hiring manager and the applicant, and, as a result, the recruitment process was simply a friend referring a friend. Technology has created electronic recruiting tools that have changed the recruiting world; however, the misuse of these tools has created barriers in the emotional connection between the hiring manager, the recruiter, and the applicant.

Ken Forrester is managing director of A.W. Forrester Co., a national search firm (954-722-7554) that specializes in employee benefits consulting, health insurance brokerage, and sales. He started his recruitment career in 1990 and is responsible for completing search assignments for senior management positions while developing and mentoring junior associates.

Topics

5 Comments on “Bond with Your Candidates

  1. A fluffy title, but great article – thanks Ken. A reminder to us all to avoid over-reliance on email; a habit that can monopolize most of a recruiter’s productive hours in a day.

    Cheers,
    Sean

  2. Hi Ken !
    You seem to hit the Bulls eye.Excellent Article.With the introduction of Electronic media, we have gained advantages, but we lost the human emotional bond.This gap is very difficult to fill, unless we realise it timely & take corrective action.

  3. Thanks for the friendly reminder about what this is really about. As 3rd party recruiters I feel we should be meeting with hiring managers every quarter. Communication effectiveness tails off the longer we go between meeting face to face, and likely between phone calls as well.

    Thanks,

    Kael

  4. I’ve long argued that you can’t remove the human element from a process that is all about humans, but all too often I encounter situations where people are trying to use technology to accomplish this. The art of relationship building in recruiting seems to be getting lost amongst the ‘new generation’ of recruiters who in some cases seem almost incapable of carrying on an intelligent conversation, let alone bonding with anyone. Between the current state of the economy and the shortage of qualified workers it is crucial that recruiters be able to truly understand the needs of their candidates and hiring managers, and that is something that cannot be done with a written job description and a couple of emails. I hope this article serves as an eye-opener for anyone who thinks you can remove the human element from recruiting. You know who you are.

  5. You’re spot-on with your suggestion that recruiters become emotionally involved in the recruiting process, with both the candidate and the hiring manager. Not only does this help us present the job in a more compelling way, but I believe it is also good ethics. We are in a profession that exists to help people change their work lives for the better, and for this reason, we should create a bond with the people we represent. Thank you for the excellent reminders.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *