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As a recruiter, you’re often a candidate’s first touchpoint with a company. You’re the first opportunity for an employer to make a good impression, yours is the first hand that a potential employee shakes, and you’re the first ambassador of an employer’s brand.

Because of all this, your ability to communicate well can be the difference between establishing a new relationship or losing sought-after talent. With that in mind, here’s a roundup of tips based on recent research into how the best recruiters communicate.

Ditch Phone Calls; Start Texting

The most effective recruiters use modern communication methods such as text messaging and social media, and this has a huge effect on their companies’ bottom lines.

At TextUs, we recently did an in-depth study of how staffing firms communicate with candidates to identify how their communication styles relate to their business growth. We polled 45 staffing firms – including some of the biggest in the country – and compared companies that anticipated fast growth in the coming year (>50 percent) to those that anticipated slow growth (<5 percent).

What we found was astounding. We expected to find that faster-growth firms communicate differently from slow-growth firms. What we didn’t expect was that the impact would be so huge.

Here’s a review of our findings:

1. More than 75 percent of respondents believe text messaging is an effective form of communication for their company.

All firms, on average, had similar perceptions about texting. Whether their companies were growing fast or slow, respondents said that SMS text messaging:

- improves speed of sales and sales productivity compared to email only;

- reduces candidate response time;

- and improves candidates’ experiences with their brand.

But despite these shared perceptions, fast-growth companies use texting much more often.

2. Fast-growth firms communicate through SMS texting and social media. Slow-growth firms use phone and email.

PhoneThe fastest-growing agencies use SMS text nearly three times more than slow-growth ones. They also use social media almost five times more. As for phone and email: fast-growth firms use these traditional forms of communication much less than slow-growth firms.

3. Fast-growth firms use text messaging in a much more personalized way, and candidates like it a lot better.

Fast- and slow-growth firms also use text messaging differently. Slow-growth firms tend to use text as they might use email: they blast texts or send mass, impersonal messages.

In contrast, fast-growth firms personalize their text messages. They use texts to sell jobs, confirm references, offer shifts and confirm shift changes, send reminders, and converse on other daily matters. As a result, candidates respond more positively to text messages from the fast-growth firms.

Be a Social Butterfly

In our study, social media was another key differentiator between fast-growth and slow-growth staffing firms.

We aren’t the only ones to observe this. In a recent Jobvite study of recruiters and hiring managers, 44 percent of respondents said social recruiting increased both the quality and quantity of candidates. Thirty-four percent said it improved the time-to-hire as well.

But beware. Not all social media platforms are equal. Top recruiters focus on using each platform for what it does best. In the Jobvite survey, 95 percent of respondents said they use LinkedIn to search for and contact candidates. However, they rely on Facebook and Twitter to showcase their employer brands.

Think Like a Marketer

Strong recruiters think like marketers. This approach is effective because candidates judge best-fit by researching a company’s employer brand.

CareerBuilder found that 91 percent of candidates say a potential employer’s brand plays a big part in whether or not they apply to a job. What’s more, 68 percent will accept a lower salary if they have a positive impression of an organization’s employer brand. This goes to show that, sometimes, the potential for a good relationship is even more important than the bottom line.

Be Quick and Responsive

TextingAs with any relationship, the connection between recruiter and job seeker requires consistent, reliable communication.

Bullhorn recently asked more than 1,300 recruiting industry professionals what makes a successful recruiter. The top five traits were all related to communication (in fact, one was communication!):

  1. Persistence
  2. Ability to listen
  3. Tenacity
  4. Ability to follow-up
  5. Communication

Speed of follow-up is also crucial: 49 percent of companies hire recruiting firms out of the need to fill positions quickly.

As a whole, these results show the importance of effective, relationship-focused communication in the recruiter-candidate relationship. The results provide valuable guidance about which strategies will help you attract today’s top talent. So get out there and start communicating like the best of them!

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