3 Tips for Building Better Relationships with Candidates

Jul 31 / Steve Lowisz
Recruiting is all about relationships.

We can leverage all sorts of technology to find more candidates, message more candidates and so forth. But at the end of the day, it’s the relationships we build with candidates that determine how many hires we make and the quality of those hires.

With that in mind, here are a few ways we can build better relationships with our candidates:

Practice Active Listening

Being a good listener is one of the most basic skills a recruiter should have...and yet we’ve all talked to recruiters who just don’t get it.

So what does it mean to be a good listener?

It starts with active listening. A good listener doesn’t just quietly listen and nod their head – they ask follow-up questions. They seek clarification and prompt the candidate to elaborate and share more.

For example, when someone says they like to work alone or as part of a team – ask them why!

Furthermore, try to ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” These questions are great because they prompt the candidate to open up, give a more detailed answer, and share their perspective or thought process.

In a nutshell, you want to show candidates that you want to hear what they have to say and are interested in learning more about them. That doesn’t just mean being quiet – it means listening carefully and asking the right questions.

Take Little Steps to Show You Care

They say the devil’s in the details, and nowhere is this more true than in recruiting. There are a lot of simple steps to take to show candidates you care about them – the trick is being consistent.

When it comes to communication, respond as promptly and as thoroughly as you can! Don’t just answer the first question in a candidate’s email, be sure to answer all of them. Pick up the phone every chance you get.

Furthermore, be on time and prepared for meetings. If you can, review a candidate’s resume and your call notes a few minutes BEFORE the call. That way you’re not asking them for a refresher on their work experience or scanning documents while trying to listen.

Lastly, allow time for their questions and give them space to answer YOUR questions. Time is everyone’s most precious resource and giving a candidate your time shows you really do care.

Be Honest

Let’s face it. Almost all recruiters exaggerate how amazing their opportunities are.

The recruiters who are HONEST about the challenges a company is facing will turn heads – because candidates will actually trust the rest of the things they say about the company!

We all know that no company is perfect. Candidates know it too. Be upfront about the challenges facing a company rather than pretending they aren’t there and leaving a candidate to guess about it.

Giving the candidate a full look at a company – warts and all – shows that you aren’t just in it for a commission, but that you really care about the future of their career.

Honesty is always the best policy in the long run, and it's key to building great relationships.

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