If you talk to any recruiter, any staffing exec, any candidate-facing employee at a staffing firm; chances are they’ll tell you that staffing and recruiting runs on relationships. And like so many ideas that are part of the very air you breathe in a business, “staffing is a people industry” is said more often than it’s really put into practice.

Take a look at the way most staffing firms tackle candidate engagement. The vast majority of recruiters operate as though “candidate engagement” and “sourcing” are the same thing. As though, once you get a candidate safely in your ATS, it’s time to move on to the next big fish (ahem). They may power through lists of cold calls, scrape Facebook profiles, send out mass emails, relying on the fact that, simply through the sheer volume of people they contact, somebody, somewhere, will bite.

The problem with this method (well, one of them) is that today’s candidates are way too savvy to fall for the generic ploys that used to work even just five years ago. The purple squirrels are giving you their trash email addresses, screening your calls, and deleting your voicemails. They’ve heard it all before.

Build a communication strategy that prioritizes targeted outreach, values personalized messages, and creates the time for recruiters to make more meaningful candidate connections.

Now, I’m going to suggest something kind of radical. If staffing and recruiting is going to walk the walk, and really be a business driven by people, recruiters need to do a really human thing. They need to step away from their cold call list, take a break from that worn out send button, and remember what it’s like to just have a simple, honest conversation with someone who’s looking for a job.

I can hear your protest. “But we do! We talk to candidates all the time!”

I hate to break it to you, but running through a call script, checking the boxes, trying to fit a candidate into a specific category — none of that makes for a very good conversation.

Think about an interaction you’ve had with a salesperson who was focused more on the sale than they were on you. Chances are you could tell that many parts of the interaction weren’t genuine. And, chances are you got the sense that they were only listening to what you said to pick out things that would help make a sale. A functional interaction, but not very engaging, right?

Now, think about a time when you were rushing through your day, and a salesperson looked at you and asked you how you were with genuine interest. Even if you had a million things on your mind, even if you were distracted by all you have to get done, chances are, you paused. Even if it was just briefly, that real, human outreach was enough to stop you in your tracks.

We live in an increasingly distracted world, a world that’s jam-packed with lots of impersonal messages. But the thing that can still cut through the noise is real conversation.

What does it take to start real conversations with candidates in a message/millisecond world? A few things:

  • The right strategy. Build a communication strategy that prioritizes targeted outreach, values personalized messages, and creates the time for recruiters to make more meaningful candidate connections.
  • The right technology. Choose the tools that automate the mundane, administrative aspects of candidate-facing activities, freeing recruiters up to engage, interact, and build relationships. Implement the technology that helps you better understand your candidates as individuals, empowers your recruiters to anticipate candidate needs, and grows your network through better outreach.
  • The right messaging. Tailor your messages to your candidates specifically, meeting them right where they are in their job search process — and in their lives.

Here at TextUs, we’ve seen how far staffing and recruiting firms can go when they are thoughtful about strategy, tech, and messaging. That’s why we’re excited to be a part of Herefish’s partner ecosystem.

To learn more about TextUs, please visit textus.com