Are You Communicating Effectively with Candidates?

Steve Lowisz
After reaching out to potential candidates about a position, do you feel uncomfortable or discouraged when they respond negatively? Do you get frustrated when they don’t see an opportunity in the same light as you do?

If your answer is “yes” to either of these questions, it’s time to think about effective communication.

There’s a long history of ineffective communication in the recruiting industry. Many recruiters attempt to use older methods that simply do not connect with today’s candidates.

The used-car salesman approach is dead. It doesn’t forge a meaningful relationship between candidate and recruiter.

The Good News Is, It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Approach.

When reaching out to discuss opportunities, it shouldn’t be about you, it should be about the candidate.

If you don’t truly connect with anyone, you’ll end up with fewer and fewer responses. This undoubtedly ignites a sense of discouragement, and even a dip in self-esteem. It’s why the typical retention rate of a recruiter is only 2 years.

The best thing to do when you’re getting a low response rate is to evaluate your communication process.

3 Modes of Communication: Declare, Debate, and Dialogue.

Behavioral scientists have long since established that there are certain conversation tactics that tend to be more powerful than others.

We are the least persuasive when we tell, dominate, or declare portions of a conversation. It comes across like you’re teaching. It’s an obvious attempt to persuade, which often turns people off.

We are more persuasive when we interact in a way that feels like we’ve discovered the topic of conversation together. Making it more of a natural 2-way discussion or debate.

We are most persuasive when we guide people through a conversation in a way that gives them space to convince themselves. Creating a dialogue that points them in the right direction but allows them to draw their own conclusions.

Traditional recruiting models taught us to dominate the conversation; to attempt to persuade candidates by telling the story of a company and boasting its perks. But as the least effective way to recruit, it’s time we approach recruiting from a different perspective: the candidate’s.

The Power of Dialogue.

We’re the most persuasive when we approach candidates like regular people. You know, like having a normal dialogue about a mutual topic of interest until we reach an agreement. Through those conversations, our intent should be to give candidates enough viable information that they do all the persuading themselves.

Dialogue Is A Win/Win.

Dialogue is an open form of communication that allows recruiters to ask the right questions and get the answers they need. Without it, we can’t properly address candidates’ core concerns, identify their issues, or learn how to solve their pain points.

When we engage in sincere dialogue with candidates, it naturally compels them to listen to what you have to offer. Isn’t that the dream? Open and honest conversation situates the recruiter as a trusted authority figure, not just another average recruiter.

The win/win expectation of dialogue isn’t natural for us. The win/win being the solution to your problem AND the candidates’ problem alike. In this industry, most businesses lead with a win/lose perspective. This mentality is what gets us into this mess. The pressure of winning causes us to act aggressively but being too aggressive won’t yield success.

Don’t settle for disappointment. Go start a meaningful dialogue with candidates instead.