Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Communication is Key in Recruiting

When it comes to recruiting job candidates, a lot of it can easily become “he said, she said, he said.” By the time word gets from the client to the recruiter to the candidate or from the recruiter to the client to the candidate, it can seem like one big game of professional telephone. And that’s not a good thing.

Take it from Matt Lowney, the EVP of talent and operations at The Buntin Group in Nashville, Tennessee, who shared his bad recruiting experience with He interviewed a candidate who did not seem engaged at all in the interview or the potential job opportunity, and he shared his opinion with his client. The client, who was told by Lowney to cushion the feedback, did not. A few days later, a strongly worded email was found in Lowney’s inbox from the candidate.

Fortunately, recruiters can learn from Lowney’s experience.

Be honest. Whether you’re the recruiter or potential employer, it’s important to be honest with job candidates as to why they did not get the job. Constructive criticism not only provides answers but enables job seekers to grow and make something of their mistakes. With that, share whether it was their lack of experience, interviewing skills or cultural fit.

Be clear. It’s easy to tell a job candidate that they “weren’t a good fit” or “didn’t have the right experience.” But that’s not very constructive. Tell them why they weren’t a good fit and what they need in terms of experience to be seriously considered again for the job or for a similar position at another company. Part of providing feedback is giving them a game plan for reaching their goals.

Be kind. While honesty is the best policy in this case, it goes hand-in-hand with kindness. Job candidates are vulnerable as they’re going through this process, so they should be handled with care. This is your chance to provide encouraging feedback that is practical and applicable. During the recruiting process, consider yourself a mentor in addition to an interviewer, assessor and hirer. You never know — your helpful feedback could lead to some big changes in their professional growth and path, leading them to apply for a job at your company once more and make a big difference as a new hire.

Be firm. In some cases, your recruiting help or positive feedback can be misconstrued by the candidate as an open invitation to stay in constant contact with you about their job search. That’s why it’s best to provide your feedback and close the conversation with a polite, professional goodbye and best of luck. While it would be great to meet them again along the job search trail, you don’t necessarily want to become their career coach.

Creating a clear, open channel of communication during the recruiting process can lead to a great experience for you, your client and the job candidates. Being able to honestly and kindly engage in dialogue can produce better candidates and eventually, better new hires.

As a recruiter, how else do you think you can best communicate? Or as a job seeker, what else would you like to see from recruiters during the recruiting process? Share now in our comments!

Kathryn Randolph

Kathryn is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and has five years experience writing for major job search and higher education websites. When she's not writing for the web, Kathryn is hanging out with her new baby girl, traveling, cooking, reading and running. She believes that the perfect job is out there for everyone and hopes to help Spark Hire job seekers discover their career passion and pursue it.