By Jessica Miller-Merrell

In the world of job searching, it’s a buyer’s market. Job seekers are enjoying this period of time in which unemployment is the lowest it has been in years and while it’s still a competitive environment, the landscape has shifted for this crowd in the last few years. This is great news for job seekers and our economy, but it also means that recruiters and hiring managers are being challenged in ways they hadn’t been for several years.
To meet this challenge, recruiters are going to have to focus first and foremost on candidate engagement. You may find that some positions don’t require constant communication and relationship building, but when it comes to recruiting the best candidates and filling technical or highly-skilled positions in competitive industries, these things are a must. It’s time for recruiters to step out of the box and out from behind the job posting to uncover and attract exceptional passive job seekers. Catching the attention of these candidates all starts with communication.

Tell a story
When passive job seekers are searching for their next position they gather as much information as they can and evaluate their findings. Passive job seekers aren’t going to reach out early on to ask questions or find out more about your organization, so it’s essential that what you present tells a story. One of the most valuable things you can do within your recruitment strategy is to use digital storytelling to present your employment brand and company culture. There are many ways to do this but an HR technology, such as Talent Circles, can elevate your storytelling tremendously. Whatever the method, your story should be unique and personal, as well as convey that your company is more than just a brand.
Target your search
In this setting, engagement is defined by the small touch points that are specific and unique. In order to achieve these multiple touch points, you’ll have to target search efforts and prioritize quality over quantity. By identifying a handful of potential candidates to engage, you can personalize your message for maximum engagement.
Get personal
While it’s essential to have resources that speak to all job seekers, there are positions you’ll want to focus more time and effort on, which is where you have an opportunity to get personal. A great place to start is with something relatively small, such as throwing away the Tweet template you’ve been using for the last year and reaching out to candidates with a personal Tweet. You can also create personal videos, make phone calls rather than emailing, and even follow up with prospective candidates you’re vying for with a gift tailored to them. 
Be respectful
As recruiters, we sometimes start to see candidates as products that we’d like to acquire, losing sight of their value as a person. Make it a top priority to be respectful of their time, experience, knowledge and expertise throughout the process. Remember that there are many considerations for taking a new job, and most of them have nothing to do with you. A great recruiter knows that each candidate is different, but all deserve respect for what they do and who they are as a person. 
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s is the Chief Blogger & Founder of Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @jmillermerrell 

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