How to win new hires (over) and influence job seekers: 4 tips from Dale Carnegie

Apr 09, 2019 - Cat DiStasio

Aside from what happens on Twitter, people don’t generally go through their days looking for people they don’t like.

We prefer to be surrounded by pleasant, happy people. And when we encounter a likeable person, we tend to, well, like them. And because you can actually attract more flies with honey, likeable people can lure folks into longer, deeper conversations. This isn’t a revolutionary concept, and it continues to be true more than 80 years after Dale Carnegie published his bestselling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Revisiting the classic self-help text with the recruiting experience in mind reveals a number of opportunities for improvement.

In recruiting, being likeable is a major advantage. In their annual survey, our friends at Katon Direct found 80% of job seekers (active and passive) are interested in new opportunities but not yet ready to apply. And so how do you attract that 80%? By working to be more likeable throughout the recruiting process. Being more likeable can also have a huge impact on the candidate experience. Given that 52% of job seekers tell friends and family about poor recruiting experiences, it’s essential to win candidates over in such a tight talent market.  

Recruiting technologies like a recruiting chatbot can help make a good first impression, but human recruiters need to take over and take it up a notch to ensure a good candidate experience and strengthen the employer brand. Here are 4 tips to help recruiters win over candidates and influence job seekers for better recruiting results.

Put a smile in your voice

Before you pick up the phone to talk to a candidate, try smiling first. Even if you’re already in a decent mood, a quick smile can give you the extra boost that helps brighten your candidate’s day. Scientific research suggests that the simple act of smiling can make you feel happier, and another study supports what we already know: a genuine smile is contagious.

Job seekers are already facing a stressful process, especially if they’re going after their dream job. What’s more, 61% feel uneasy about providing their personal employment information online, and 55% say job boards and careers sites are too impersonal, according to a survey by the American Staffing Association. Approaching each conversation with the same friendly, jovial tone can help set candidates at ease and earn their trust. Other ways to sound friendlier during conversations involve taking deeper breaths, speaking slowly enough for other people to listen closely, and avoid harsh tones of voice.

Using video in your recruiting strategy can help, too. Putting a face to a name and a voice can help candidates feel more of the human connection they say has been missing from the recruiting experience.  

Listen more

Recruiters tend to do a lot of the talking during conversations with candidates. This is partly because there are questions to be answered, and information to collect from candidates in order to make decisions about how or if they will advance. But don’t fall into the trap of talking nonstop to sell your organization to the candidate. Sometimes, the best sales technique is to talk less and listen more.

Yes, ask the questions you need to ask. Yes, share the information the candidates need to know. But also, focus on getting the candidate to talk more about themselves. Ask open-ended questions, rather than yes/no prompts, so you don’t accidentally shut down the conversation in the middle. People love to talk, especially about themselves, but sometimes they need a little encouragement.

Listening more and leaving room in the conversation for responses are one part of improving the recruiting experience, and there are other ways to improve your active listening skills that can help recruiters build better relationships with candidates.

Focus on understanding people

When you’re talking to someone who appears to be enjoying the conversation and is listening intently to what you’re saying, it’s bound to make you feel pretty important. And this is exactly the goal of each conversation with a potential hire.

Keep small talk to a minimum. Happier people don’t engage in as much small talk. According to research, the happiest people spend about half of their conversations talking about substantive issues, and less than 10% of their time on small talk. By using good follow-up questions to dive deeper into candidates’ initial responses, you can show them that you care about them beyond their surface-level qualifications. Note how follow-up questions can also help you assess soft skills, fit, and potential.

Set clear expectations

Removing confusion and room for doubt will also help recruiters get candidates to like them more. Being a thorough communicator, especially when answering candidates’ questions, helps establish trust and makes candidates feel as though they are working in partnership with recruiters to determine whether the job opportunity is a two-way match.

Communicate clearly with candidates throughout the recruiting processabout the timeline of the recruiting process, things they need to do or send you, or prepping them for interviews with the hiring manager. This also includes handling rejections gracefully, which helps preserve the employer brand. After all, even if a candidate is rejected for a position, you may want them to apply for a different position in the future, and you want them to walk away with a positive experience. Throughout the recruiting process, recruiters can win points with candidates by sharing the information they want, at the time and in the way they want it. In order to become truly likeable, recruiters should also explore other methods of improving the quality of their conversations with candidates.

Your friendly neighborhood recruiter

Most of Carnegie’s advice revolves around getting people to like you and gaining more influence over their actions and decisions. For recruiters, these are two huge areas of opportunity, both in terms of attracting and building relationships with top talent, but also when it comes to convincing candidates to accept a job offer. If you’re approaching every conversation with a smile and a genuine desire to listen and learn, candidates will respond positively. If your organization offers the kinds of things they are looking for in an employer, hopefully there won’t be much convincing left to do. However, since today’s candidates are now often faced with tough decisions and have to choose between multiple job offers, a recruiter’s personality can have a big impact on how they decide to proceed.

For more about how chat is helping recruiters hire top talent faster, download our Recruiting Chatbot Revolution eBoo below:

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