Trust Handshake

Communication and building trust with candidates has never been more important. Everyday I work hard to maintain Atrium’s Applicant-Centric philosophy – something that I truly believe sets us apart from our competition. As Recruiters, we tend to move at warp speeds. As a result, communicating with our candidates seems to fall by the wayside. This is unacceptable.

Communication is Key

Put yourself in the candidates’ shoes. Imagine someone calls you about a job. You get excited, research the company and maybe even choose your interview outfit. And then….nothing. You never hear back. You never get feedback on why company XYZ decided not to interview you. That would be terrible! As Recruiters, we need to think about our candidates. How would we want to be treated if we were in their shoes?

I recently came across an article on Recruiting Daily, and though it is a little dated, the content really resonated with me:

Maintaining Trust & Building Recruiting Relationships

As a profession that’s got such a poor public perception, establishing trust in candidates and clients as a recruiter can be a bit tricky at times, to say the least. Most people have a preconceived notion of recruiters born from bad candidate experiences, frustrating job searches and exposure to the bad apples responsible for giving this profession its black eye.

Their vitriol is often, like Vesuvius, bubbling just below the surface of every recruiting-related interaction, waiting to erupt at the most unexpected (and inopportune) or moments. Changing their sentiment – and building their trust – isn’t easy.

But in my experience as a recruiter, I’ve discovered one small thing that makes a big difference in establishing trust, and a meaningful relationship, with every candidate on every single search, one short, simple question that goes a long way.

My secret is that every conversation I have starts out with me asking candidates “How are you today?”

This is a more powerful statement than it might seem on the surface. It sends a subtle, somewhat subliminal message that the conversation isn’t about selling your opportunity, but learning more about them, and that when it comes to candidates, it’s all about what they want and need. This opens up the conversation while establishing a solid foundation of trust upon which to build a recruiting relationship.

Of course, it takes more than just asking how candidates are; you also have to listen to their answers, too. I mean really listen, for 10, 15 minutes or however long it takes to learn about what the candidate is all about, where they’re coming from and what they’re looking for.

You’ll find simply asking how they are once you introduce yourself as a recruiter will inevitably uncover most of this information without having to prompt or pry too much. They’ll happily open up, if given the opportunity to do so – and love you for it. All it takes is shutting up – which can be hard for recruiters, but listening is one of the most critical skills in any talent pro’s professional tool box.

Once you get to know the candidate – and they know you care about them about people instead of just another job seeker – you’ll established the fundamentals required for trust, but maintaining that trust throughout the hiring, offer and onboarding process (and beyond) requires something most recruiters suck at: communication.


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