By Jessica Miller-Merrell 


Recruiters have a challenging job in our day and age as they work to find a way to stand out in a sea of LinkedIn InMail messages and emails. As I mentioned in part one of this series, we as an industry have put ourselves in a position where candidates are no longer impressed by our half-baked efforts. These types of messages tend to be a dime a dozen and fall short of creating any real connection with those who could be future employees. Many recruiters rely on casting a wide net with minimal personalization and maximum coverage, which often yields bad results and perpetuates that image in candidates’ minds that every InMail message and email is basically career-focused telemarketing.
If recruiters want to see true sourcing success, there’s only one way and that is through relationships. Relationships are essential to creating a connection with candidates, keeping that LinkedIn response rate above 13 and making a real impact. All of that leads to candidates that don’t delete your message but instead develop a desire to know more and be on your team.
Making it happen 
We can talk about relationships all day long but the truth is that they’re harder to build than one might think, especially when dealing with an industry that’s saturated with recruiters, such as tech, or when recruiters are juggling a couple dozen or so openings at once. Without a doubt, it starts with being genuine and making time for relationship building. Those are just a starting point though. It takes more than time and good intentions to make it happen.
Take a look at these four ways you can best position yourself to create real, lasting connections with candidates:
Know where to automate and where not to
In a perfect world, we’d have time to highly personalize every message we send and would be able to focus on each individual candidate like there’s no one else in the world. However, being on call to answer their questions at any time and spending an hour getting to know them online before ever messaging just isn’t feasible. That’s where opportunities for automation come in. Have message templates ready to go (but be sure to always spend at least a few minutes getting to know them and personalize beyond just the name), provide a Q&A section on your careers page to answer questions without having to be there and set up automatic emails so that candidates know where they are in the hiring process without you having to track down 15 applications a day.
Be consistent
Just like in relationships with friends or a significant other, consistency is the only way to establish a real connection. Spending 20 minutes talking to a candidate means nothing if they don’t hear from you again for a month. The saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” has no place in recruiting. Be there, be consistent and you’ll see a difference.
Keep your word
Keeping your word goes hand in hand with being consistent. Unfortunately, it’s an accepted practice for recruiters to promise a call or throw out a date when an email can be expected, and then not follow through on that promise. Candidates understand that things come up and sometimes the hiring process gets stalled, but taking five minutes to send an email letting them know this can be the difference between an engaged candidate and one that moves on to pursue another opportunity.
Make technology work for you
Recruiters are just regular people who have typical busy workdays and a limited number of hours they can spend on any one candidate or task. One thing they do have on their side, however, is technology that can help them make the most of their efforts. A perfect example of this is a system like TalentCirclesthat can help create a highly customized and personalized environment that is unique to the candidate and focuses on not only building a relationship but also providing resources, value and a platform. The key is allowing access when the candidate needs it, not just when the recruiter has time.

TalentCircles is the most comprehensive candidate engagement platform on the market. Take a product tour or request a live demo today. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She’s the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.


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