Loxo Blog

Do you know what happens when you spend some time on recruiting blogs and social groups? You find a lot! There were dozens of posts preaching best practices. Lots of people looking for a solution to their specific problem. And, of course, the occasional recruiter sharing their frustration with a candidate or a hiring manager.

Then a thought struck me. In a world where you can connect with others more easily than ever before, are we actually getting worse at communicating?

So, you may be asking yourself, “Where are you going with this and what does this have to do with recruiting?” The answer is simple. It has everything to do with recruiting.

Communication is at the heart of recruiting.

A hiring company communicates a need to fill a role. A recruiter opens lines of communication with the hiring company to determine job requirements and then communicates the opportunity with potential candidates. Recruiters and candidates communicate to determine job fit and interest, and the list goes on and on.

If all parties are always in communication, then why do we act surprised when a candidate bails, our calls go unreturned, or a hiring manager doesn’t like our candidate?

I think the answer is pretty simple. We’re not doing a good enough job of listening. While there’s not much we can do to improve the listening skills of hiring managers and candidates, we can work on improving our own.

Here’s the hard truth.

We look to experts to help us increase our open rates, improve our cold calling, write better job descriptions, etc. But what if instead of listening to the experts, we actually listened to the people that mattered? What if instead of talking at each other, we spent more time listening and asked more thoughtful questions?

I’m not discounting blogs touting best practices. They are valuable. But, what you have to remember is your industry favorites became experts by listening. They made observations, translated them into actionable insights, and leveraged them for their own gain.

When you finally get a chance to read their blogs, you get an overly simplified version of their insights and are then expected to apply it to your own practice.

Instead of following their recommendations to the letter, use their best practices to guide your own efforts, but first listen to what your candidates and hiring managers are saying. Then, combine your own observations with industry best practices to achieve better results.

Listening + Observing = Better Recruiting

Becoming a better listener is not rocket science, but it does require commitment and conscious effort. Before you start down this path, remember nobody is perfect and you will encounter roadblocks along the way. Be persistent in your effort and dedicated to improvement.

If you’re not sure where to start, start off small by tackling one of the areas below and then slowly incorporate the rest over time.

  • Don’t Look for the Next Thing to Say: Have you ever interviewed a candidate who is perfect on paper? You are convinced they will be a great fit, and you quickly screen them by running through your checklist of questions. You schedule their interview with the hiring manager, but later find out there were major red flags. It’s okay. It’s happened to the best of us. The problem is when you’re looking for the next thing to say you’re missing a lot. You’re not seeing anything below the surface that may be a cause for concern later in the hiring process. While we’re all running a little short on time, being more engaged in the conversation will actually save you time in the long run.
  • Listen More Than You Talk: This is pretty obvious but still needs to be said. In your interviews and meetings with hiring managers, who does all the talking? Is it you or is it them? If it’s you, there’s a problem. These meetings and interviews are your opportunity to learn, and you can’t learn if you’re doing the talking. Instead, guide the conversation in a meaningful way. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Ask Followup Questions: A person will rarely share every important detail with you on the first ask. Sometimes they are being selective with what they share, and sometimes they are simply unaware of what is actually needed or important to the conversation. This is why followup questions are so important. They give you the opportunity to seek clarification that will help you with your efforts. They can also help you uncover information that would be of interest (whether good or bad) in a more natural way.
  • Review Your Analytics: While you may not think of this as listening, it is and it is critical. You have access to a lot of data, and that data tells you a story. It can tell you where you have the most success finding candidates, which emails are under and over performing, trends of successful placements, etc. The list goes on and on. If you’re not looking at your data, you’re operating blind under the assumption that what you’re doing is working perfectly. I hate to break it to you, but it’s not. Listen to your data. It has a lot to tell you.

Let’s face it. We could all work on our listening skills, but I have good news. Practicing better listening will not only make you a better recruiter but will help you build stronger relationships. And as I mentioned in my previous blog post, meaningful connections are a shared trait of the most successful, recognizable leaders.

Loxo Blog