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  • Caroline Maher

The Art of Conversation: Qualifying the Candidate

In our previous posts, The Art of Conversation: Engaging Your Candidate and The Art of Conversation: Selling the Opportunity, we explored the importance of conversational recruiting during the hiring process. In this final installment, we're going to focus on the last (and often most critical) piece of the conversational recruiting funnel: qualifying the candidate.

Over the last several years, technology has undoubtedly proven to be a “saving grace” for many businesses, but when it comes to communication, a one-on-one conversation is timeless, especially in the recruiting world. Engaging candidates with thoughtful questions not only builds rapport but also opens the door to obtaining information that cannot be garnered through digital means.

Below are 3 best practices the experts at GRS consider when it comes to qualifying prospective candidates through conversational recruiting efforts.

Look Beyond the Resume

In today’s world, a well-written resume or CV is a necessary component to landing almost any job on the market. In fact, most candidates will likely not even be considered without one. While resumes and cover letters are an important factor in considering prospective candidates, they shouldn’t be the only determining factor in qualifying them.

In order to really get a sense of a candidate’s background, it’s important to look beyond the person’s resume and written qualifications. Instead, allow the candidate the opportunity to showcase his/her most impressive achievements by engaging and conversing with the candidate. Consider asking open-ended questions that give them “the floor” to speak freely about their background and accomplishments.

Robert Fulgham said it best: “A job title doesn’t even come close to answering the question, What do you do?” Only thoughtful questions can uncover what a candidate truly has to offer.

A conversation allows the hiring manager the ability to pick up on subtleties that resumes don’t provide, like personality traits, and shifts in tone or direction. These intangibles assist the recruiter or hiring manager in making a more justified determination regarding whether the prospective candidate fits the relevant qualifications.

Ditch the Forms

At the heart of conversational recruiting is the ability to engage with prospective candidates in an authentic and genuine manner. Many businesses fail in their approach to interactions by utilizing less personal means, opting for more sterile engagements, ie. online forms, questionnaires, and other mechanical procedures. Informal talent screening strategies like these are useful but can cause a myriad of other risks, such as gaps in critical information and redundant processes. Alternatively, one-on-one conversations encourage the candidate to relax and open up more about his/her background.

Opt for One-On-One Conversations as Often as Possible

As we mentioned, the whole point of conversational recruiting boils down to the hiring manager or recruiter being able to determine additional information aside from online resumes and forms. Since we often rely on technology, perhaps consideration should be given to transitioning from exclusively using digital platforms to conversing more often with prospective candidates, the good old-fashioned way. Not only will the candidate appreciate that you’re taking the time to understand him/her, but it also opens the door to information or opportunities you may not have known existed.

As technology and digital platforms continue to evolve, let us not forget the power and importance of engaging one another through personal, individualized conversation. In order to take your team to the next level, it is essential to first understand the role that effective communication plays in recruiting top talent. Be sure to check out our other posts: The Art of Conversation: Engaging the Candidate, and The Art of Conversation: Selling the Opportunity, for more helpful tips and highlights.

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