Winning Tactics to Develop Personal Connections with Job Candidates

By Jeanette Maister

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Digital technologies are quick, easy, efficient, and sometimes really save HR, but they're taking away a huge piece of the hiring process: the personal touch. Seasoned hiring managers understand the importance of developing a personal connection in order to find the best candidate for any given position.

Here are 3 winning tactics to make it happen in your recruitment process:

Make the Switch to Video

While the written word will probably never go out of style, video is taking center stage in the digital world. Cisco predicts that by 2021, video will comprise 82% of all consumer internet traffic, and there’s a good reason for that. A video is personal. A skilled writer may be able to convey tone and personality in a blog post or job description, but through video, anyone can start to develop a personal connection with candidates.

The first way is through video job descriptions. According to research from, video job ads "yield a 500% increase in click-throughs, 50% more applications, and a significant improvement in appropriately qualified candidates applying.” Plus, there’s an easy way to discover how well video job ads are working for your company.

Overall, 62% of job candidates prefer an in-person interview with a hiring manager. However, as a talent acquisition expert, you know how much time those interviews can take out of your busy day. Usually, to screen out candidates and to save some time in the hiring process, a hiring manager will conduct phone interviews. However, a phone interview doesn’t give nearly enough insight into a candidate’s personality and suitability.

Using video interviewing instead of phone interviewing bridges that gap; it saves more time than in-person interviewing, but still gives you the face-to-face interaction that’s so key in finding the right candidate and developing a connection.

Invest in your Employer Brand

Can you answer these questions?

  • What are your company’s values?
  • How are you different than your competitors?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are you doing to create a unique candidate experience?

If you can’t answer one or any of them, it’s possible you haven’t given enough thought to your employer brand. That’s not a luxury you can afford to take any more. Employees now look at the employer first, instead of the other way around. In fact, 58% of global candidates stated that company brand is more important to them than it was five years ago.

Creating or adjusting your employer brand starts with your current employees and moves outward. To appeal to and create personal connections with top job candidates, you must have an incredible company culture. In fact, 19% of executives said new hires leave because they don’t like their organization’s culture. Company culture creates positive impressions from the first time a job seeker interacts with your brand.

You can also use a well-developed company culture as a jumping-off point to start a connection with a candidate. Discuss the company’s values with them, explain what personalities usually thrive in your workplace, and ask them what they’re looking for in terms of culture. This will give you crucial insight into their personality[MK1] .

Be Available

As of 2016, the current average time-to-hire was 42 days. That’s a long time to keep candidates engaged and interested in a position. Connecting with candidates on a personal level is an excellent way to keep that engagement up, and you make it happen by being available at every stage of the process. That begins with the section above on employer brand: by creating an enticing and well-advertised company culture, you’re starting a conversation before a job seeker even decides to apply for a position.

Social media is one of the best places to make yourself available. In fact, 92% of companies are using social media for hiring. Through the use of hashtags or dedicated accounts, you can set up channels for candidates to reach out and ask questions. Your candidates should be updated through every stage of the hiring process.

About Jeanette Maister:

Global talent acquisition technology leader with extensive experience in global talent acquisition, applicant tracking systems & recruiting technology, recruiting metrics and process. Deep insight into all aspects of campus recruiting strategy. Recognized for driving growth and helping clients transform their recruiting efforts.


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