How to Be a Better Recruiter

We should tell you up front that this article isn’t a step-by-step guide on what media mix will make you more effective. It also isn’t a path towards being promoted within the Human Resources world. What it is though is an actionable plan that you can use to be better. Better at what matters. Better at providing a positive candidate experience. And really, when you get down to it, being a better recruiter is as simple as that.

Personalize Your Communication

This is an across the board rule! It doesn’t matter if you are sending a LinkedIn invitation, an email regarding a resume through ZipRecruiter or Indeed or trying to connect via phone. Chances are if you are chasing talented candidates, other people are too! Sending blanket emails that reek of templates generated by bots is a sure fire way to be marked as spam.

Instead of being “spammy” try making a genuine observation about the person’s skill sets. Or better yet, if you’ve met the candidate in person, tell them! Establishing that you are human is the first step towards a positive recruiter, employee relationship.

Lay the Process Out

We talk a good game about careers microsites ending the black hole of the applicant tracking system (ATS). And yes, our sites do make it easy for recruiters to get a quick idea of whether or not the candidate is a fit while taking a minimal amount of candidate effort. However, here’s the hard truth; the application and onboarding process is only as good as the recruiter waiting on the other side.

If a candidate reaches out to you, you need to respond (even if it’s an automatic response stating that not all candidates will be contacted). There is nothing more discouraging to a candidate than spending an hour inputting all their pertinent information into an ATS only to receive…nothing.

Furthermore, if a candidate participates in an interview they are entitled to a timeline of the decision-making process, a respectful rejection letter or call and/or updates if the process is taking longer than usual.

First of all, candidates deserve those gestures so that they can make educated career decisions. Second of all, it is in your best interest to keep candidates on the hook if you think you may want them. Why? Well, if you have a great candidate, chances are they aren’t just interviewing with you. The worst possible scenario (for you) is when a company decides too late that they found “the one” and “the one” went with a less perfect job.

Leave the Door Open

This won’t apply to all candidates, but have you ever interview someone who was awesome, but not an awesome fit for a particular role? Or maybe they’re terrific, but they came up short in one area? Don’t outright reject those sorts of people! Tell them to stay in touch regarding future roles. Encourage them to enroll in your Talent Community so that you can send them job alerts.

Once someone has been outright rejected, they probably won’t reapply. If you nurture them though, you could be looking at future hire.

*Pro-tip: Oftentimes your first choice ends up rejecting YOU. By not shutting the door to the runner up, you will ensure that you have options. Starting over isn’t fun --- and is actually entirely unnecessary in most cases.


Another crucial aspect to being a successful recruiter is understanding where candidates are in the process. Check out our free e-book to learn more.

The Job Seeker's Journey