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The Recruiter's Digest
 Recruiting News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin

December, 2004

Do You Paint Word Pictures?

What's the best way to "relate" to your candidates? This topic touched off a scorching debate at a recent recruiting seminar.

We all know that your choice of words, syntax and telephone demeanor need to fit your candidates
' temperament. Otherwise, you could fail to convey your ideas accurately, or even worse, create a negative impression.

For example, when speaking with foreign-born candidates, it
's best to limit your use of slang. A person with limited English skills may view your pre-interview instructions to "knock 'em dead" as overly aggressive, or at the very least, counterproductive. Likewise, too much outbound chatter may overload a candidate lacking in attention span or conceptual capacity.

And from what I
'm told, the use of visual imagery or descriptive devices such as metaphors, analogies or comparisons can actually be the kiss of death to recruiters. According to some of my seminar attendees, their candidates are interested in three things only: technology, money and the opportunity to improve their skills. Any discussion of a client company's business goals or corporate culture is superfluous, and a complete waste of time.

When I asked the recruiters if their candidates were capable of any form of communication other than the exchange of concrete data or monetary demands, their answer was no. The recruiter
's function was simply to convey information. No rapport building, no probing for hidden needs, no assessment of compatibility. In other words, no selling. Just the facts.

All this flies in the face of my own experience. I
've found the more vivid my descriptions of job situations, hiring managers and company objectives, the more I can connect with my candidates, stimulate their interest and differentiate myself from other recruiters, many of whom simply parrot the technical requirements found on their client companies' job boards. In other words, word pictures are my strongest allies in the battle against statistics, superficialities and dullness.

But then, I haven
't walked in the moccasins of other recruiters. Which leads me to believe that each recruiter (and each desk specialty) spawns a unique candidate population. And that a nifty turn of phrase that works wonders with a candidate of mine may not wear very well with yours.


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