Job seekers are looking for a more personal experience when communicating with recruiters. They want to be able to show their true colors and stand out above the competition. Hearing the call, many recruiters have tailored their tactics to improve the candidate experience.

For instance, job seekers are proud of their portfolios. They constantly look for opportunities to showcase their past accomplishments, and more and more recruiters are creating opportunities for candidates to do just that. In fact, 43 percent of the recruiters surveyed in the the 2017 “What Medical Recruiters Want” survey from MedReps said they now request a portfolio (or “brag book” as it’s called in the sales industry) from candidates.

By taking a genuine interest in job seekers and making it a point to connect on a more human level, recruiters can build strong relationships with candidates and, ultimately, make more placements.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you want to bring a personal touch to the recruiting process:

1. Sincere Interest Is the Golden Ticket

Job seekers want to know you care about them as individuals, rather than as bodies to fill chairs. This is why you must show real interest in them from the start.

Aside from face-to-face contact, phone communication remains the most personal way to connect with job seekers. It gives you a feel for their personality and helps you uncover useful tidbits of information about candidates’ hobbies, personal interests, and group involvement.

Fifty-four percent of the recruiters who responded to the MedReps survey said they prefer phone contact to email or social media. By comparison, 72 percent of the job seekers surveyed in CareerBuilder’s “2017 Candidate Experience” study said they want to speak with recruiters before they apply for a position. Clearly, there is a mutual desire for personal contact.

In general, people love to talk about themselves. By showing a sincere interest in the details of job seekers’ personal and professional lives, you can leave a positive and lasting impression. In addition, setting a more relaxed tone encourages job seekers to let their guards down and be more authentic in their dealings with you.

2. When Screening Candidates, the Basics Still Count

Despite being able to find unique details about job seekers through social media, you can still learn a wealth of valuable information from the tried-and-true resources. This is why 87 percent of recruiters in the MedReps survey said cover letters and resumes remain important to the recruiting process.

wheelThere is no need to reinvent the wheel. Employers are still interested in traditional applications that include cover letters and resumes. Job seekers spend a great deal of time and effort preparing these materials. It’s your job to give everyone what they want.

Take the time to thoroughly screen resumes and cover letters. Being able to say, “I noticed on your resume …” shows candidates you’re doing more than a quick Google search or skim of their application. It confirms that you appreciate the efforts job seekers put into customizing their application materials.

3. Job Seekers Want Info

Job seekers have access to online searches and social media as well. That means they’re coming to meetings armed with at least some knowledge about positions and companies. What they really want from you, the recruiter, is information not readily available to them online or through their own professional contacts.

Research job seekers’ values and interests in order to identify the details about the company or position they would most like to hear. For instance, civic-minded job seekers will be interested to know about a company’s behind-the-scenes charitable involvement. You can entice job seekers with an eye on emerging technology by touting a company’s focus on product development and innovation. Job seekers who are especially outgoing and socially active will be impressed by companies that have been recognized for outstanding workplace cultures and team dynamics.

4. The Door Swings Both Ways

One of the biggest job seeker frustrations is sending in applications and never getting a response – or, just as bad, receiving an impersonal canned email.

Rather than waiting for job seekers to ask for status updates, take the initiative and give them a call. This makes candidates feel valued. They’ll be impressed that you took a personal approach.

It’s also important to keep in touch with those job seekers who’ve been eliminated from the process. Offer advice on how they can be top of the list in another round and keep track of their progress.

When you make recruiting personal, you improve placement rates and make it easier to source top-quality professionals. Taking a more conversational, authentic approach to recruiting also puts job seekers at ease, allowing you to uncover personal and professional details that will help you make better placements.

Karyn Mullins is president of Connect with Karyn on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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