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6 Simple Tips for Getting the Most out of Every Candidate Interaction

Categories: Tips & tricks.

When recruiting, the ability to optimize your actions is a skill that will determine how expensive a recruiting campaign will be, how long it will take to secure a new hire, and the level of talent quality that you will be able to attract. Sometimes this skill is used to gain the most value from every dollar in your advertising budget. Other times, it’s put toward ensuring that data and analytics are derived from every application that graces your inbox. An ATS like is a useful tool for both of these.

Optimising your recruitment efforts will turn good responses into great results.

After all of the time, effort, and focus that you spend in order to find and attract candidates to your business, it surprises me to see how little that many recruiters are actually getting from the interactions they have with candidates.

Here are some tips, ranging from social recruiting to corresponding throughout the hiring process, which will help you gain the most value from every interaction that your business has with potential candidates and their communities.


1. Speak their language

Candidates don’t care about how long you’ve been trying to fill the position. They don’t care that you have a lot of applications to sift through and that some of those may not be relevant. Those are your problems, and the worst way to approach a candidate is to make them feel responsible for solving your problems. With that said, take care to speak their language and position all of your messaging around their interests and their needs.

Take the time to learn about their day-to-day work and longer term motivations as they progress throughout their careers. Try to put yourself in their shoes. What challenges are they currently facing? Are there personality traits that individuals in that field share, such as construction professionals often having an affinity for the outdoors, or financial motivation for sales professionals? Are there upcoming changes to the industry or government that could be affecting their jobs? What technology or programs are commonly used in that role? Is there an industry event that’s promoting a hashtag which you can follow and incorporate into your social media postings? Knowing these things will enable you to relate to candidates and speak with them in a native tone which will strengthen your credibility in their professional communities.

2. Ask about their past and present before jumping to the future

Many recruiters have the tendency to jump ahead to the end result when speaking with candidates, such as referring to the job as an opportunity for their career or asking for applications before learning about the candidate’s current situation. Instead of jumping to these conclusions, first ask candidates about their current situation and what brought them to the role they are in today. Not only do these types of questions show your interest in getting to know candidates, but they may also open their eyes to aspects of their current job that they didn’t realise were bothering them.

When asking about their passion for the profession and what they like about their current position, you may bring their attention to pain points in their current position that they’ve been too busy to think about. Or, it could be the opening that you need for discussing how the position you have to offer is a better match with their true interests and passions. If you skip this part and jump right into the position, then the aspects that you choose to highlight could be more impressive to you than to them.

3. Show your appreciation

Acknowledge every interaction that a candidate has with your company and thank them in one way or the other. Sometimes this can be an “Appreciate your RT! Glad that you found the information helpful” or thanking them with an email at each stage they complete in the hiring process. When trying to build a personal connection, one of the biggest, yet, most common, oversights is ignoring their interactions with your brand outside of the hiring process. This happens online and offline as well. Every person that you’ve met at a networking event, job fair, or other setting should receive a prompt, brief message that acknowledges where you met, thanks them for their time and offers them a way to contact you in the future without committing to an application or entering into a new process right away.

4. Follow up… in the same way which they interacted with you

Every person communicates differently, and so, we use different methods to communicate with one another. One of the biggest challenges that recruiters face is finding out how to reach their target markets. If a candidate retweets you, then add them to a Twitter list and follow up by inviting them to a careers-based Q&A or other event they may find value in. If they emailed you, then note it in their file so you’ll know the best way to follow up and re-market to them.

5. Use inclusive language that leaves the door open for future opportunities

When corresponding with candidates throughout the recruitment process, avoid wording that excludes, such as “we will review your application and a recruiter will contact you if interested in discussing further” or referring to the hiring process as a set of evaluations. Instead, use wording that creates a sense of community, such as “help” or “invite.”

In rejection letters, speak in terms of the position rather than the company. Invite candidates to stay in touch and give them a way to do so before jumping back into the application pool. For many employers, this could be inviting them to join the company’s social network. Your company may have a blog that offers value to candidates with advice for navigating and growing their careers. If you are a local business, you may be involved in hosting a monthly in-person event during which candidates can interact with your recruiters directly.

An additional bonus to creating a sense of inclusion is that candidates will feel more welcome to refer your company to friends and re-apply for a future position if a better fitting role comes along.


6. Keep your eyes open to competitors’ social communities

Competitors are on your radar for a reason: they’re going after your candidates! If there is one truism in recruitment, it’s that competition never rests. If your company has a Twitter profile, then you can keep an eye on the people who are engaging with competitors’ content and follow them to help build your targeted community with relevant users that you know two important things about.

First, you know that the type of content they are engaging with is relevant to the content that you are publishing from your profile (if it isn’t, then I’d suggest giving this post a read). Second, you’ll know that they are actively retweeting content on Twitter, which amplifies the reach of that post. You’ll also know that they are either directly following a business that is similar to yours or are connected with businesses that reach the same community.

This can be done for targeting users on other social networks as well, however, monitoring Twitter can be more easily done by adding competitors to a list and then tracking the content from that list in Tweetdeck, which is Twitter’s free account monitoring tool. This works best for monitoring pages with engaged followings, as selecting the “retweets included” option will show you the retweeters at first glance.

Alternatively, you can monitor hashtags from across Twitter (the more specific, the more relevant your results will be. Local industry events work well) and choose to only see the ones that were retweeted and/or favorited a certain number of times. In that case, you will then know those individuals are active sharers on Twitter and they are either candidates themselves or are retweeting to reach people who are.

Tony Restell

Tony is the Founder of and helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media. Having spent the last 15 years serving the recruitment industry, Tony is a frequent guest speaker on the ever-changing jobs market and how both candidates and recruiters must adapt in order to thrive. A published author and Cambridge graduate, you’re welcome to reach out to Tony on @tonyrestell

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