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“Even a simple interaction in hiring goes a long way in making an impact on someone’s overall experience,” Jessica Alcock shares. “Communication is both your first and last tool in crafting connections. It’s the cornerstone to creating truly great, personal recruitment experiences.”
Jessica knows the importance of maintaining strong communication practices firsthand –– it’s a key tool in her work with the Summit Search Group. She connects with standout clients and talented candidates across Canada each day, and every touch point matters. “Building strong relationships with clients and candidates is what sets top recruiters apart. It’s paramount to success in the hiring industry,” she adds.
In the past year, we’ve seen communication practices turned upside down. How has hiring changed, and what strategies can help us cut through the noise in such a busy world? We sat down with Jessica to find out.
Communication Best Practices in Hiring and Recruitment
“In recruitment, it’s all about building trust. For example, by putting clients first and keeping them informed, you’re able to provide truly personal service. At the same time, being attentive to candidates lets them know you’re thinking about them. Even for talent who may not end the hiring process with an offer, I’m always sure to close the loop: every relationship is valuable, and can lead to another great experience in the future,” she points out.
Jessica’s best practices for communication in the recruitment industry start and end with clarity, trust building, and a deep respect for relationships. Here are her four golden rules.
- Be timely.
Responding to candidates in a timely manner really matters. “I make a point to respond to every email sent to me personally, even if the candidate is not right for the role,” Jessica notes. “Chances are good that another opportunity in the future could work!”
- Be transparent.
Share the details of your collaboration so everyone knows what to expect. “I’m sure to be transparent about the process at Summit, and what candidates can expect while working with us,” she says. “The same is true for clients; being transparent and providing clear updates as we work is always important for a successful search.”
- Be flexible.
“Many of our candidates are passive –– they’re currently working, which means they may not feel comfortable taking a phone call during regular office hours,” Jessica mentions. “It’s critical to be mindful of the bigger picture, and to meet both clients and candidates on the terms that suit them best.”
- Be responsive.
“I always try to keep candidates updated on the progress of a search, weekly or biweekly,” she adds. “Status updates and feedback are so important; providing the information they need keeps candidates engaged. We have regular touch points with clients, as well, to discuss search progress, strategy and feedback.”
Leveraging Digital Communication Tools for Hiring Success
It’s no secret that the game has changed, even for expert communicators, since the pandemic struck. Jessica sees even more opportunities to connect.
“Technology makes implementing solid communication best practices easy, as there are so many avenues to communicate! In some cases, technology can make the process seem less personal. It’s important to be mindful of that –– sometimes picking up the phone to speak to someone in real time is simply best,” she offers.
Another key tip? Be open. “Providing options for connecting is important. Everyone has their own comfort level with technology, and their own best communication strategy. Connecting via email, over the phone, by text and via video are all options that can make the candidate experience great. Making the candidate’s experience positive is so important – they are going to share what happened, good or bad, with friends and colleagues, which makes it essential to have best practices and a strong communication strategy in place. Communication reflects your brand in the end.”
Jessica also points out that technology provides a key tool to crafting strategic, personalized communication plans for clients. “It has helped us to build stronger collaboration and partnership across the board. At Summit, we’ve always taken pride in our close client relationships, and how we work together throughout the recruitment process. The opportunity to regularly meet face-to-face over video, for example, has strengthened that collaboration further.”
Powerhouse Recruitment Communication Strategy
Clarity is king in hiring communications, and in Jessica’s personal strategy. Check out these key do’s and don’ts, straight from her playbook, to set your communications apart –– and avoid common mistakes, too.
- Do provide interview prep emails and calls for candidates. It helps them prepare, and refreshes their memory on the fine points of a role.
- Do provide clear feedback whenever possible. Candidates are always looking for ways to improve and stand out.
- Do maintain regular touch points with both candidates and clients. It’s an opportunity to provide valuable market data, updates, and information they may not be able to access otherwise.
- Do close the loop with every candidate. It makes them feel valued, shows them respect, and lays the foundation for great experiences to come.
- Don’t assume that clients (or candidates!) have a clear understanding of the process unless you explain the details.
- Don’t dismiss the value of any application. Just because they aren’t right for this role doesn’t mean they won’t be a fantastic fit in the future!
- Don’t ghost. Feedback is valuable, no matter the outcome of a search. This can be the most important part of a candidate’s experience –– and an opportunity to continue the relationship.
“At the end of the day, communication is a top tool not only to build connections in recruiting, but to reflect your brand and how much you value your relationships,” Jessica adds. “Great experiences yield more great experiences. We care about that, and we pride ourselves on it. How can we be successful without wonderful people? We can’t!”
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The Recruiter’s Toolkit: Jessica Alcock on Leading with Expert Communication
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