3 Ways to Truly Connect with Candidates and Become a Better Recruiter

July 15, 2015

In recruiting and HR, we’re all guilty of getting pulled in too many directions. After all, we’re usually the “go-to” people to get things done when business problems arise and it’s easy to get wrapped up in our daily tasks. But, that makes it harder for us to actually connect with our current employees as well as our future hires. About 5 years ago, I was dealing with this exact challenge.

At the time, I was in a high-volume recruiting function for a large bank. I recruited for all of the Branch staff within a region of Florida. On average, I had over 35 openings. These openings were all very similar and the bank had a structured recruiting process, making my job very transactional.

I hit my monthly numbers, I was punctual for daily meetings, my Hiring Managers were happy with my communication and submittals, and I was finding the best talent for the bank. At the end of the day I felt accomplished.

However, I couldn’t tell you one personal thing about a candidate I spoke to each day.

I wasn’t ever connecting with my candidates, remembering their work history or even their names. Eventually, everyone was the same in my eyes, and I realized I wasn’t appreciating the person on the other line as a human being - they were just another butt to put in a seat and a number to make me look good amongst my peers. Realizing this, I decided to make some changes.

Today, I’m in a less volume-centric role that requires intense relationship building with our external candidates as well as engaging our current employees. Through the years, and in my current role, I’ve learned that there are little things I can do to drastically increase my productivity, and more importantly, connectivity.

Whether you’re in a high-volume environment or one like my current role, you can try these 3 changes and see a positive uptick in both your productivity and connectivity:

1. Create a “Sunshine Packet”

When I’m in the interview stages with a candidate, I always send them what I like to call a “Sunshine Packet.” This packet includes documents that highlight cool things to do in Orlando (where office is located), the various school districts, community listings, and apartments within a 5 mile radius of the office.

The packet also includes a list of all the amazing perks the company provides as well as a success stories from some of our current employees.

Overall, the packet provides the potential employee with information that is beyond what they can find on the internet and will make your job easier when you get to the offer stage.

Tip: Have the document put together by a graphic designer to make the content enjoyable to read and consistent with your branding.

2. Implement “Turn Down Tuesdays” and “Follow-up Fridays”

Each week, I block off 1 hour on Tuesday and Friday and take that time to personally call each of the candidates we’ve interviewed or are interviewing.

On Tuesdays, I call each of the candidates we interviewed during the past week who we ultimately aren’t interested in pursuing and let them down. The feedback from these calls has been extremely positive, since the candidates are always appreciative of the fact that I let them know something. While they might be disappointed they didn’t get the job, they appreciate that I called and can now move on to other opportunities.

During the blocked time on Friday, I call all the candidates who are in the interview process to give them updates or let them know I don’t have any new information. This simple 2 minute phone call has received amazing feedback from candidates - they are so happy I called because they aren’t left wondering all weekend. I also learn how they’re feeling during these calls and it gives them a chance to ask any lingering questions.

By simply picking up the phone and reaching out on Tuesdays and Fridays, you can move the recruiting process along faster, connect with your candidates, receive more referrals, and provide a better candidate experience overall.

3. Onboard and remain in touch

As a recruiter, it’s easy to fill an opening with a new hire and then move on to the other openings. For many of us whose company separates Recruiting and HR, you don’t feel the need to keep in touch with that employee since it’s HR’s “swim lane.”

But, think how you would feel if someone was extremely nice to you, acted like they really like you, and then ignored you after you gave them what they wanted? You probably wouldn’t feel great. And, if you don’t remain in touch with your new hires, that might be just how you’re making them feel.

To make sure my new hires know that our conversations and my engagement was genuine, I set 30-60-90 day follow-ups. I’ll meet them for lunch or just a brief 15 minute catch up. I also make sure to document their birthdays, anniversaries, or any life events in the future. These conversations open the doors for any issues; I can then be proactive with any potential employee conflicts and prevent them from occurring.

This little act of consistent touch shows the employee that the company and I value them and are happy they are part of the team. And, when an employee feels appreciated, they will provide referrals, be more productive, and make our jobs easier as Recruiters and HR professionals.

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Alysse Metzler is a Recruitment Executive/HRBP at FanDuel, Inc. and the author of “The Recruiting Snitch, Recruiting Secrets to Help Land Your Dream Job."

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