These days, sourcing is done entirely digitally. A recruiting team will use technology tools and social media to locate, evaluate, and categorize candidates, yet these are just the first steps.
Technology Can't Fill the Role of a Human
It takes a deep sense of empathy to look into someone's eyes and understand them. It takes even more compassion, and a strong grasp of the human condition to look at a piece of paper and try to see who a person really is, without a conversation to base your assessment on. Isn't that what happens in recruiting? First you gather a profile on a person, then make a base-level evaluation of them before the first outreach.
This step is essential. No one wants to waste their time.
humanity to vet them and determine their fit, even before the interview.
Be an Empathetic Recruiter
The first thing to realize is that you can't hire empathetically without human interaction. Period. No advanced A.I., as it exists today, will be able to commiserate or draw a close understanding with a candidate the way a real person can do.
Empathy allows you to understand employment gaps and extenuating circumstances. It drives us to look at a salary or relocation request and weigh the alternatives. The recruiter's responsibility is to foster a relationship between the company and the candidate, which you accomplish through empathy. In recognizing both parties' needs and pain points, you'll be better equipped to help them meet each other where they can.
Activate Your Cerebral Cortex
It's important as a recruiter to remember that candidates have emotions. They're getting a lot of noise from different companies who want them, not just you. They get excited about opportunities. They also have bills, which get more and more expensive. Rent, childcare, healthcare, and just keeping up with the Jones's. Candidates have basic human needs, as well as professional, and every role they consider is time spent weighing those needs against the position.
Guess what, though? Candidates aren't the only ones with needs. Companies have targets to meet that require staff. They're heavily invested in their company or their team doing well. When they lack staff, everyone is too busy. Everyone being too busy means that someone doesn't have time to do a bunch of interviews, unless they're really good candidates.
What's more, even you the recruiter – yes, you - have needs. Be cognizant of what you need. Think about what your needs would be if you were in their shoes, and how you might have responded. Candidates can't always think from a company's perspective, and the reverse is also true. Max Planck researchers in 2013 identified that the right supramarginal gyrus was the part of the brain responsible for empathetic activity. They claimed that this segment of our brain is trained to see a lack of empathy and correct it.
A recruiter is the supramarginal gyrus. You have to play devil's advocate. To fill in the gaps on that piece of paper. To possess a heartfelt understanding of both points of view, and to carry it across to the opposite side.
We're Only Human
As humans, we all make mistakes. One negative experience will forever shape the way we choose to interact in the future. The one thing both candidates and companies agree on, which we can empathize with, is that they have had bad interactions with recruiting firms.
We work in recruiting too, so that experience resonates with us. We are not robots. We are driven by placements, and yet we understand that there are certain things that are out of a person's control. Maybe a client is really difficult, or a candidate goes crazy on you during an interview. Once recruiters understand that each candidate is a human being and that the company is made up of humans too, the real relationship building can begin.
What's your empathy story? Tell us about a time you saw the role of empathy in someone (or yourself) getting hired!