Talent Circles

Friday, March 6, 2015

Let’s Get Personable, Not Personal When Recruiting Candidates

By Jessica Miller-Merrell 

Candidate experience is one of my favorite things to talk about these days and I know I can’t be alone in this. I love that employers have a wide-open opportunity to create an experience that leaves a lasting impression whether or not the candidate is actually hired. It’s a story of modern courtship that recruiters have worked years to develop. To someone in the industry, it’s a beautiful thing.

We’ve seen this development occur over the years as a recruiting paradigm shift has taken place. Companies are more committed than ever before to making candidates feel welcome long before they ever receive an offer letter. However, some recruiters struggle with where and how to draw the distinction between a candidate feeling wanted and leading a candidate on.

We assume candidates know that it’s all part of the courtship. We probably even find ourselves saying “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” But I believe that a more accurate way to describe what we’re doing is to that it may not be personal, but it should be personable.

Personal vs. personable
When we treat recruiting as a personal thing, what we’re really doing is getting emotions involved, whether it be ours or a candidate’s. We’re intermingling our lives with theirs in some way, even if that just means getting too emotionally invested. We don’t have to give away the keys of our heart for a candidate to know we care, and we certainly don’t need to over-promise or provide false hope.

On the other hand, we can provide a great experience by being personable. Rather than getting our emotions or a candidate’s emotions involved in the recruiting process, we can be friendly, welcoming, inviting and honest, providing information, feedback and some good old fashioned honesty. Take a look at these four ways you can keep recruiting personable, not personal.

Even a little bit of engagement can go a long way in recruiting because it’s so rare. You can do this through your talent network, social media, email, phone call or even text.

We’ve all been in a situation where all we need is someone to answer our question. Save time by making information available to candidates and making yourself available if they don’t find what they need.

Candidates are used to applying for a position and never hearing back, so set yourself apart by letting them know where you are in the process and whether or not their application is advancing. Keep your word when you say you’ll follow up to make a great impression and build trust.


Recruiters don’t have time to field every phone call and email they get, but you can make resources available through a variety of channels to meet their needs. You may even be surprised to find out that you could have been receiving significantly fewer of those emails and calls if you had provided resources for candidates some time ago.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.


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