What you do isn’t just recruiting or hiring. You’re a marketer, too.
Think about it—a big part of your job is promoting open roles, and influencing candidates to apply. Once they do, you have to show them why your company is a great place to work. And you manage the communication and the relationship through the whole process. Even if an applicant isn’t interviewed, or hired, you can have a big impact on their impression of your company.
So here are a few thoughts on messaging when you reach out to a candidate:
1. Make it count
We all get a ton of emails these days. And most of us have the attention span of a gnat. So you only have about 3 seconds (slightly more than a glance) to get a candidate's attention. That means not just the subject line, but the opening line of your message also has to grab them.
Make sure you have something to say. It needs to be relevant, thoughtful, useful. There’s enough “good” marketing going on that people in general are getting pretty content-savvy. They can tell if you didn’t put much thought and effort into it. If you’re sending just to send, they see through that. And are usually annoyed.
2. Protect the brand
You, along with every recruiter on your team, are keepers of your employer brand. Every message you send—whether explicit or implied—can impact your company’s image. Not just with an individual candidate, but the world. Every message you send is one tweet away from viral infamy. Or love.
So be kind, appropriate, professional. Be careful with humor that could be misconstrued in email form (you can’t impart tone, and a candidate might not interpret it the way you wrote it. It can all go wrong very fast!)
3. Don’t forget that candidates take things personally
Remember that lovely Maya Angelou quote? “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
That’s true of candidates, for sure. Think about it—they’re investing a lot of time and effort and hope into the possibility of being hired by your company. They’re probably picturing a future there. And they’re exposing themselves; they’re taking their best shot while knowing that it’s possible they won’t be chosen. That’s pretty emotional for most people.
And yet, often we make candidates feel forgotten. Unimportant. We don’t mean to, but we move on and forget to close the loop, or we send a form email that maybe doesn't let them down as gently as it could.
It’s important to follow up. Let them know constructively and kindly that they weren’t selected, so they can move on. It takes a little time, and may not always be possible, but sometimes it means the difference between that candidate being open to/enthusiastic about your company’s future opportunities, and never wanting to talk to you again. Kindness, and taking the time to make someone feel important goes a long way, with candidates and everyone else.
These are simple things that seem like common sense, but it’s easy to forget them in the thick of our busiest days. But remembering you’re a marketer, and thinking like one, can definitely give you an edge.