Why Engaging and Building Relationships is Key to Recruiting

Sarah Sipek

When it comes to recruiting, the best candidates aren’t always the ones who actively apply to your job posting. Sometimes you need to extend your search beyond your resume pool to consider passive candidates.

Yet, according to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study, more than a third (35 percent) of employers don’t currently have a strategy in place to build relationships with passive candidates. In order to engage with passive talent, you need to adjust your approach.

Start by considering the candidate. Unlike active candidates who are taking steps to promote their skills and make themselves easier to find, passive candidates are not looking for new opportunities. So they need to be swayed into considering your organization—and eventually an open position.

The best way to achieve this goal is to build a relationship with the candidate first. Don’t give them the hard-sell right off the bat. You want them, not the other way around. Therefore, it’s important to focus your messaging on what your company can do for them and their career.

Passive hires also take more time to explore their options and consider the value that the position offers – so don’t rush them. Take the time to provide information about your company, the industry and the specific job you’re trying to fill. It’s better to build their interest than to scare them away.

Try these five approaches to building better relationships with passive candidates (or any candidate) and expanding your talent pool:

1. Improve your branding. If you’re going to build a relationship with candidates—either active or passive—it helps if they at least know that your company exists. Focusing your efforts on branding will help. Make sure that any materials your organization puts out—whether it’s a job posting or tweets—fit your company’s brand. This will help candidates build a body of knowledge about your company that they can refer to when you reach out to them.

2. Use social media. Social media can help with branding, but it’s also a great place to start initial conversations. Use the various platforms to share industry news, post jobs and even answer questions. Quick responses and helpful answers on your part are a good foundation for future relationships.

3. Start an employee referral program. Just like with dating, it’s often easier to meet people when someone facilitates the introduction. Incentivizing your current employees to reach out to their contacts to help fill open positions helps eliminate some of the awkwardness of cold calls and offers potential candidates insight into what daily life is like at your company. Everyone wins!

4. Upgrade your technology. The latest HR technology solutions can help streamline your recruiting efforts. Look for solutions that focus specifically on improving candidate experience by offering features that make it easier to engage with candidates—such as automated email responses or the ability to create personalized email campaigns.

5. Be prepared to hire quickly. Talent won’t hang around. If you find a potential top performer, be ready to hire them before your competition snaps them up. The risk will be rewarded and show you are serious about hiring the best people to meet your business objectives.

Building relationships with candidates is important, but you also need to make sure that the candidates you’re recruiting have the skills your hiring manager wants.

Learn how to get on the same page by scheduling an intake meeting.


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