With all of the talk these days about social recruiting [recruiting through Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.], you’d think there would be a good understanding of how best to communicate with high caliber prospects online. The low yields now being reported from such interactions, however, indicate that much of our messaging isn’t having its intended impact. That’s why we need to adopt the art of “talent whispering.”
High caliber prospects are almost always employed and too busy to consider a new job. In fact, a recent survey of employed workers by CareerBuilder.com found that just 21 percent of the respondents expected to make a move in the next one to two years. That’s far below the historical norm for this stage in a recovery.
No less important, top prospects receive so many communications from recruiters, they often see such messages as spam. They may glance briefly at these emails and InMails, but then, more often than not, they hit the Delete button and forget about them.
How can you ensure that your online recruiting communications are better received? Change the nature of the experience they provide.
Instead of communicating as a recruiter who’s reaching out to a prospective new hire, make your prospects feel as if you and they are coworkers.
Why? Because top talent listened to their mother’s advice: Don’t speak to strangers. Top prospects aren’t going to trust something as important as a change in their career to someone whose message—no matter how politely expressed—has the feel of a business transaction with a faceless buyer of talent.
On the other hand, a top prospect will read and respond to a message from a recruiter if the recruiter is seen as a “virtual colleague”—a person the prospect may not know but at least can trust. The recruiter isn’t considered a stranger because the message experience convinces the prospect that the recruiter has the prospect’s best interests at heart. And, the best way to develop such an experience is by whispering.
Message like a virtual colleague
Talent whispering uses online messages to create a conversation between virtual colleagues. It avoids organizational and transactional terms—the most notorious being “Requirements” and “Responsibilities”—and instead has an informal feel that describes an opening as it might be discussed by two professionals talking to one another.
Such conversations typically answer the following five questions about the advantages the job offers to whoever takes it:
- What will they get to do?
- What will they get to learn?
- What will they get to accomplish?
- With whom will they get to work?
- How will they be recognized and rewarded?
Since colleagues don’t (usually) talk at one another, however, you should also use a second technique to encourage the prospect to feel as if they and you are actually engaged in a collegial conversation. As each question is answered in your message, subliminally hand the conversation back to the prospect by asking a question.
For example, after explaining that an opening offers them the opportunity to work with acknowledged leaders in their field, you might insert the following in your message: Would your career benefit from teaming up with some of the top performers in your profession? Such a question preserves the conversational tone of the message and helps to keep the prospect engaged.
Talent whispering changes the paradigm of online messaging to top talent. It transforms the experience from a transactional interaction between strangers to a supportive conversation among colleagues. That creates more interest and engagement among your prospects and ultimately more applications to your openings.
Thanks for reading,
Views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Naylor, LLC, and AssociationAdviser.com.
Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hang Onto the Job of Your Dreams, The Career Activist Republic, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, and WEDDLE’s Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet.