Communication is fluid. What was common verbiage twenty years ago now sounds odd when thrown into everyday conversation. For instance, imagine what you’d think if a person was saying how “groovy” their new job is. It would affect your perception of them and they type of communicator they are.
As a recruiter, your professional communication skills are especially valuable. You need to be able to talk with candidates in a way that makes them feel comfortable, but is still appropriate for the situation. And a misstep can hurt the candidate experience.
In fact, in a 2016 survey from CareerArc, 60 percent of candidates listed better communication as the factor that would most improve the hiring process. The trick is being able to keep up with the quick evolution of professional communication.
Here are four tips from hiring experts to help you communicate in an effective and up-to-date way with candidates:
Real life lingo is OK
Professional language is moving out of the realm of highly controlled and dictated and is sliding into incorporating current trends from everyday interactions. It’s like business has come to a realization: why are we faking a formalized, unnatural language when both our clients and our own employees don’t speak this way in real life?
But professional language hasn’t completely become informalized — the use of office language is still predicated by two fundamental rules: understandability, and the desire to not offend people. While slang is no longer penalized, the use of swear words and other impolite terms are either still taboo or used in closed whispers between colleagues. Most importantly, the audience must still be able to understand what you’re trying to communicate.
Welcoming is better than formal
One of the ways I have seen a shift in professional communication is the brevity of conversation. I have heard employers and employees alike use conversational shorthand such as “man” and “dude” to one another. These show how the casual vernacular is creating a safe workplace rather than using terms such as “sir.” In other words, we have seen a shift from the old professionalism in the workplace to the need to pepper in lingo to make others feel welcomed.
Avoid awkward calls
Recruiters and hiring managers should shy away from calling candidates, especially if it’s a cold call during the middle of the day. The younger generation, especially millennials, are less comfortable speaking on the phone. And, a cold call during the middle of the day often times puts the candidate in an awkward position where they must leave their workspace to take the call.
Use common sense when communicating
In our constantly connected world, it may seem as though no form of communication is considered off-limits. However, a major factor in candidate experience remains respectful, professional contact. To that end, employers and recruiters must avoid the hard sell — and certainly the “stalker” label — regardless of the communication delivery method.
Keep texts and emails brief. Send them during normal business hours. Want to connect on social media? Great idea, but maybe one platform at a time rather than connecting on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat all at once.
Most important, use each professional communication tool appropriately as you walk through the interview process. An email is most likely your best bet to introduce yourself and your company and set up an interview. A text is a great tool for confirming the interview and sending address and contact information (after all, a number can be dialed and an address found with one click on a smartphone). And, of course, a phone call is best to ask follow-up questions and especially when you’re ready to extend a job offer.
What are some other changes in professional communication that recruiters need to know about? Share in the comments below!