4 Ways to Make People Skills a Prominent Part of Your Recruitment Strategy

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You’re in the people business. Your goal as a recruiter is to connect people who want to advance their careers with people who need their talents. And to succeed in a people business, you need to exercise your people skills.

Unfortunately, nearly a quarter of job seekers have declined a job offer solely based on a negative experience with people in the interview process, according to a survey by CareerPlug .

Candidates don’t want to be viewed as pawns filing in line to be judged by a recruiting robot who will funnel them into a company looking for new cogs in the wheel. You’re the first line of the hiring process, and if you give talent this impression, candidates will have a hard time seeing a future where they will be valued as people.

Fortunately, you can make candidates feel connected to the human side of the hiring process by showing off your people skills when recruiting:

1. Leave Out the Jargon 

Candidates appreciate it when you send out timely communication about their next steps through some messaging option like email or texting. In fact, Talent Board  found an improvement in the candidate experience (32%) when candidates were able to launch a job application directly from recruiters’ text messages. And their survey respondents reported a 35% boost in experience when they received follow-ups by text. 

That said, it can be off-putting if the messages are too corporate or convoluted with industry jargon. You don’t have to incorporate emojis to come across as personable, but you should try to be open and conversational with talent. Respect and enthusiasm are the keys to making candidates feel welcome. Remember, the goal is to be approachable and give candidates a realistic feel for the company culture. 

2. Learn to Laugh

You’ve likely experienced an interview or two when a silly slip of the tongue or well-timed joke broke the tension in the room. It’s encouraging to see a candidate who can laugh at themselves in the middle of an interview. It gives you a sense of their ability to let down their guard, acknowledge a mistake, and find humor in stressful situations. All of these personality traits  are significant assets for any team.

You need to be willing and able to do the same. Letting loose and laughing at a candidate’s joke or warming them up with a clever quip of your own can do wonders to break the ice. Naturally, you want to keep the humor clean and professional, but you don’t have to keep the interview dry. Welcome light-heartedness throughout the interview and show candidates your human side.

3. Stop Overusing Scripts

Candidates know when you’ve sent them an automated rejection letter, and they’ll catch on quickly to your cookie-cutter follow-up  if they can’t feel a personal connection. Talent knows you’re busy, but they want to feel like you’ve made some time to show them their time is valued.

Rather than copy-and-pasting your generic email copy over and over, draft up a few templates you can easily customize for candidates in a pinch. Use your templates as a guide to get information across quickly and accurately, but leave room for personalization. 

For example, you can add a few minor details from your interview notes about what you enjoyed about your meeting and offer some valuable feedback on their interview performance. The 2020 Talent Board survey revealed the candidate experience increases by as much as 15% when they are given specific feedback on their job fit and 20% when they get feedback on their assessments. 

Furthermore, if they are advancing in the process, you should include a link to your calendar so they can schedule a call to discuss the next steps in person. Giving them this option to connect more personally shows your investment in their success in the process.

4. Show Some Humility

As a recruiter, you play a significant role in determining the job search fate of applicants. Candidates recognize this position of power and their sole goal is to impress you. That’s why one of the best ways to make a positive impression on talent in the recruiting process is to show some humility. Demonstrating empathy and practicing patience in the process goes a long way for your recruiter brand. 

Naturally, you’re going to encounter a lot of anxious candidates eager to hear feedback and curious about literally everything, and many with more time on their hands than you have. Rather than ignoring their calls and emails, giving them clear timelines and access to valuable resources empowers them to help themselves and stay on track in the interview process.

Take time to respond to candidate questions and direct them to the information they need to succeed. Give them access to your calendar so they can fit into your availability rather than shutting them down. And be open to feedback if your system isn’t working well enough for candidates. Provide a quick survey option to take suggestions and continue to improve your recruiting process and the candidate experience. 


 Greg Clouse is the recruiting manager at BioSpace.


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By Greg Clouse