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Between newspapers, emails, text messages, books, magazines, blogs and TV, the average person comes into contact with around 100,000 written words every day. That’s a lot of words. And let’s face it, that’s just the average people. What must the exceptional people, AKA the very one’s we’re looking to hire, be consuming word-wise in their day-to-day activities? 150,000? 200,000? So, I think it’s fair to say that the mere 200 or so words we try and grab their attention with, need to be pretty special in order to make an impact and provoke a response. But unfortunately, many recruiters and sourcers are still sticking rigidly to the unimaginative world of “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” and nothing more in an effort to gain a potential candidate’s highly sought after attention, and are then surprised when this attraction method goes unnoticed.
In order to really get someone’s attention, you need to move them with what you do and/or what you say, and in most cases when you’re trying to attract a candidate at least, it’ll be by using words. So make the most of not only the words you do use, but the places you decide to use them. Use our 5 step guide to improving your written communication with potential candidates, and you’ll soon start to see the responses flying in:
1. Understand Who You’re Speaking To
Doctors and teachers are completely different people with different likes and needs. You wouldn’t approach a conversation with a fashion designer the same way you would with a corporate finance professional, would you? So why do it in a written address? Understand the kind of person you’re trying to attract by visiting the websites and social networks associated with those people. See how they converse with each other. Bear in mind the type of environment they work in. Is it fast paced and hectic, leaving little time for them to read lengthy messages, or is it more laid back and mellow? Once you understand who you’re talking to, you’ll have a far greater idea of how to approach communication with them.
2. Be Medium Appropriate
Just as you wouldn’t speak to two different people in the same way, you cannot approach contacting someone on Twitter the same way as you would on LinkedIn. The medium by which you contact your potential candidate is key to how you should approach the message you send and the tone you use. Again, it pays to do your research. Do what Ted Goas said and “Go fishing where the fish hang out”. IT professionals will more than likely be using their free time online to frequent sites like StackOverFlow and Github, rather than LinkedIn. Whereas a lot of chefs would be found on Pinterest sooner than Facebook. Find out where your candidates are hanging out online, create a profile on the site for yourself, get stuck in with the conversation and once you have established a good presence on these sites, start contacting your candidates through these sites.
3. Match Their Style
Regardless of where you are choosing to contact these candidates, be sure to note how they are conversing on the medium. If they are using Twitter and tend to type every single letter of the words they’re using, do the same. If they use text speak on the same medium, incorporate text speak into your message. If you find accountants prefer letters (as our own Johnny Campbell did during his recruitment days), buy a stamp and send a physical letter. Discover what works for your candidates and mimic their style.
4. You, Your and Yours
Now that you understand the individuals you’re talking to and the mediums they’re using, remember to include three little words in any and all communication: You, Your and Yours. This message is not about you and what you or your company does, it’s about the candidate and why they were chosen by you. What was it about them that caused you to send them a message? So when putting your message together, put the candidate in the drivers seat. “You impressed me with your photography skills”, “Your C++ skills are exactly what we’re looking for”, “We are seeking someone with great exam results, yours stand out”. Make the candidate feel important, by keeping the communication about them.
5. Use Uncommon Commonalities
Now it’s really time to seal the deal. You know who they are, where they hang out, how they communicate with each other, and how to keep the conversation about them and their skills, now it’s time to get really (appropriately) personal. Find out if there is anything you have in common with the person you are reaching out to. If you find the candidate has a mutual passion for horse-riding, be sure to bring that up in your communication with them. People like to talk about the things they love and are far more likely to respond to someone they feel has similar interests to themselves. Uncommon commonalities are fantastic ice breakers, so if you have one to use, use it!
So there you have it, 5 ways for you to improve your candidate communication efforts right now. If you have any other suggestions or techniques that work well for you, let us know about them in the comments below. As always, if you’d like to learn more about any of the methods discussed here today or any of the websites mentioned, download a copy of our prospectus or contact one of our Sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org.