Responsiveness and Being Human in Sourcing and Recruiting

For my first blog on SourceCon, I am going to talk about something you may not like to hear.

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This is typical for what I get as feedback from candidates that I source:

“Thanks so much for letting me know!”

“Wow! Thanks for your prompt response!”

“I never hear anything back from recruiters, thanks for your response!”

For as often as I hear these things, I am still shocked and baffled every time I get a response thanking me for doing this small thing.

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You get these responses by only being responsive to candidates in the first place. I am not saying that you or our whole industry is non-responsive, but what I am saying is that I have personally seen enough of it to have a strong passion about being human in this industry, which includes responding to candidates.

What are some of the reasons why the candidate does not receive a response?

“I’m too busy!”

“I can’t keep up with what is on my plate!”

“They don’t need a response.”

“That’s not part of my job.”

*Annoyed Glare*

Here are a couple of things I have picked up over time. I realized these are the things that assist me in the ability to find time to be responsive to all.

Be Organized and Able to Multitask

Organized with an ability to multitask was not a descriptor of myself when I started sourcing and researching. When I started, the staffing firm that I was working for was so old school that I would create Word docs listing candidates with any contact info I could search for on the web and then sending those Word docs to my recruitment partners.

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Yes, you read that right. Fast-forward the clock to me later on in life: What? There are CRMs to house candidates? Yup, and thank goodness I learned that at some point. I digress. But implementing a CRM to house my candidates is what I needed to do. Basic knowledge to most, I know! Since then and in addition to, I have implemented a new workflow within the CRM to keep track of my candidates in the sourcing process. I have implemented tools and chrome extensions to help me smoothly get around at a faster pace. And also, when I work with two screens instead of one it also really contributes to speeding up my stride.

Creating a process for my daily routine is was my next step. I am not one that is all about routine, and I fight myself regarding routine because I am naturally a go-with-the-flow sort of gal and get bored quickly. I had to buckle down and accept it is what I must do. I now start my day going through all my emails and messaging outlets and respond to what requires a response. Next, I start immediately sourcing for whatever opening is getting the lowest applicant/candidate traction. What happens in the midst? I receive messages and responses from candidates. It takes me only about 5-10 seconds to quickly respond to them. Then I jump back into my sourcing mode as easy as that.

Be Empathic and Genuine

Simply put, no one likes to be strung along. Raise your hand if you have ever interviewed with a company and you never heard anything back. Okay, put your hand down now, because I cannot see it anyways.

That is the worst! Isn’t it? And it happens a lot! It’s likely happened to you, and it’s recently even happened to me. I had three interviews. Final interview the Hiring Manager interviewing me says “Expect an offer sometime next week.” I heard nothing, so I waited until Friday to correspond with one of the three contacts who had interviewed me. I received no response. I then on Monday corresponded with another of the three contacts and still received no response. I never did hear a response back. But I did blacklist that company if they ever wanted me as a potential candidate in the future. Blacklisted for terrible candidate experience and breaking what I consider one of my golden rules in sourcing and recruiting.

I have seen arrogance and dismissive attitudes in this industry, and it boggles my mind. Those are people I do not wish to associate with and work with (I will because that is a part of life, of course). To me, these don’t get what this is all about. They don’t get that what they are doing is truly affecting and impacting the lives of others. These candidates are not just a number, just a metric to meet…they are people! Definition of a person: a human being regarded as an individual. Do we consider our candidates as a person, an individual that exists? Here is the definition of human: a human being, especially a person as distinguished from an animal or (in science fiction) an alien. Does this mean if you are a person not being a human, then you are acting like an animal? (Sidenote: I find it seriously weird to see the alien reference in this definition, but appreciate the need to refer to SciFi.) Yes, I think the answer is yes, and it is time to be reflective regarding yourself as a human, and your position and career. If you are focused on the numbers and not into being responsive to people, maybe it’s time to transfer to the sales department. Metrics are useful, but we can hit them while being human to each other.

Be Authentic and Transparent

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Why don’t we respond?

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Maybe it is because there is a lack of organization or time, but perhaps it is because you like your candidate hanging on the string as a backup candidate, or because of you honestly don’t know how to convey to them where they are at in the process without saying too much.

If you don’t want to reveal all your cards to your candidate, then at least do this: respond to them.

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You can still be entirely authentic and transparent without revealing that which would breach anything. All it takes is saying:

“Thanks for reaching out, Joe! The Hiring Manager is presently still interviewing others at this time. I will keep you posted with any updates.”

“Thanks for checking in, Thomas. Unfortunately, the Hiring Manager has identified a candidate they would like to move forward with at this time. You can view additional openings here: <insert career site> Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you see anything of interest and I will keep you in mind for anything that is aligned in the future.” (Then pipeline this candidate.)

“Thanks for your email, Shari. The Hiring Manager has decided to move in a different direction, requiring <insert list of skills the HM decided to throw in which is usually much different from where we started>.  I will keep you in mind for anything that you are a match for in the future. Additionally, you can view out openings here: <insert career site> Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you see anything of interest.” (Then pipeline this candidate.)

The result? You build an added connection into your network that you can now stay in touch with and they send you referrals because of the tremendous new relationship you just created be choosing to respond and be human. These are more vague responses, but you get the idea.

But here is the real result…You get to help people. The reward is knowing that, but sometimes you also get rewarded with additional candidate responses:

“Thank you so much for messaging me! I have my dream job, and I owe it all to you!”

“I have NEVER been so excited for a position. I feel like it is a perfect fit and I hope not to let anyone down!”

“Thank you so much for all you are doing and all you have done!”

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Dani is a Strategic Sourcing Manager at Altria. She is presently working remotely in Toledo, Ohio and has been sourcing for eight years with experience sourcing in industries such as engineering, IT, sales, marketing, manufacturing, and internal recruitment. Her approach is combining sourcing with tools/technology and a genuine disposition. Find her on social: @sourcingdani

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