I remember the first time a recruiter called me. I was working at Monster.com and I wasn’t 100% happy. I guess that’s why I took the call in the first place. I snuck into a conference room and I remember feeling so nervous. What if someone caught me? What would I say?
The recruiter, I think his name was Keith, asked me a few questions about my role. Then he told me a bit about the company he wanted to recruit me to. “They want people from Monster,” he said. “It’s the same business model, just for childcare.”
He also shared many more details than I ever would have gotten from a posting online – the salary, the timeline, who my manager would be. All things I now understand have to happen during these conversations if you want to convince anyone to flip their life upside down and say yes to your job.
Look Recruiters, We Don’t Change Jobs Lightly
I talk a lot about describing work when we write job postings. That description isn’t just for the job posting, though. It has to be part of recruiter communication, too.
No one likes change. You don’t wake up in the morning and decide to quit your job. It’s a slow process. First, you have a lot of bad days in a row. Then bad days turn into bad conversations & frustrating work.
When you open up the Internet to start searching for a job, it’s like going to confession. You’re admitting to yourself that nothing feels right, and you’re willing to change everything to fix it.
The same goes for picking up that recruiter call when you’re overdue for a move. That’s not a tiny thing. Not at all.
What Does Great Recruiter Communication Look Like?
This is the moment of truth. You, recruiter, are delivering a sneak peek into a whole new life. So what the hell do you say? No pressure. You are just changing lives over here.
Considering the importance of this moment, there are three things a great recruiter should tell candidates.
The first is that they genuinely believe this job will make your life better – either because it’s more money, more aligned to your life, or a way out of a bad culture/manager situation. Excellent recruiter communications mean that they ask the questions to know what “better” means, too.
The second is giving you the following three steps to prepare you for a process. People can apply through the job post if you’re not going to do this. We should always get people ready to understand what needs to happen instead of hoping they stick around for the next step. Setting timelines and telling people the next steps keeps people engaged when other opportunities come along. It means they choose you.
Finally, we have to talk about money early and often. I learned this from my friend Amy Miller. You do not try to recruit someone without making sure the salary works for them early and often. You’re asking about it all the time. No one takes a job without knowing how much money they will make.
The Bottom Line On Recruiter Communication? Keep Talking
Great recruiters are over communicators. Don’t worry about talking too much – worry about not talking enough. If you’re over-communicating, the people will still come back to you even if it doesn’t work out. Lack of communication creates a lot more bad connections than over-communicating, trust me.
Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.