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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is Email obstructing Your Recruiting Relationship?

Let’s start by saying email is a great and necessary tool in today’s business world. Yet it is disheartening when a potential match between a client and a candidate goes south because of lack of communication. Why is it people are using email for conversations that really should be done through talking? Cadence and body language are major components necessary for a clear message, so why are they being left out of the equation? Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much as an emailer and texter as the next modern day professional, but I know when to draw the line. Do you?

Here’s my general rule of thumb:
Email is great for keeping a process moving. I love the immediacy it affords for quick feedback, for a status check, for solidifying facts, and to schedule. I absolutely insist on email for a list of references, compensation requirements, and job descriptions.

BUT when it comes to negotiating, making a job offer, obtaining a reaction to a candidate’s resume or interview – that’s a phone call. You say, “Karen get with it! With today’s technology you don’t need to speak person-to-person.” And I say, “Stop kidding yourself. Professional courtesy never goes away.”

There are things I can intuit from inflections when people talk that can’t be discerned from reading an email, and it’s even worse with a text message. There is an immediacy, a way that people open up, and an ability to advise, negotiate, and coach that can’t be replicated via a screen. What happened to active listening?

When I see a client respond to a resume with a three-word email, four-letter words come to mind. When I hear of a client making a job offer through email (a job offer for God’s sake!), my BP goes through the roof. Listen to the headhuntress: onboarding begins during recruitment. You want the top talent that’s out there; well so does everyone else. You need to reinforce company branding in every contact.

Recruitment is just like courting someone; when a guy I’m dating only texts me and never picks up the phone to talk, I am probably going to hit the delete button in my address book soon. People get carried away with texting and emailing – are they using it as a way to hide? Would you want to date someone or work for a company that used a screen as their only means of communication? The pen can be mighty, but it will certainly never trump human interaction (That’s why political candidates spend so much time on the road!) Cadence, tone and verbal cues are a must in understanding a person and maintaining a relationship.

Our K. Russo Associates End of Year Client Survey showed that candidates respond to initial emails and voicemails from recruiters at equivalent rates. But there soon comes a point when you need to step beyond email and engage in the nitty gritty… that’s a phone call.

Be a part of our online survey and let me know how you are communicating.

1 comment:

Alan Booth said...

So, Karen, are you saying that as a recruiter your candidates become or are already poor communicators with you...because of email abuse?

Have you communicated to candidates how best to communicate wtih you?

Consider that you are the expert at head hunting but candidates may not be experts as cadidates (unless thay can't hold a job for long).

My career coaching clients are typically terrible in their awareness of how others want to be communicated I always end of spending time in the begining esblishing how we need to effectively work together.

PS: Those candidates you mention that relationships "go south"...refer them to me and we'll bring them back in top candidate shape for you!

Alan Booth
Executive Coach and Leadership Advisor

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