How to Use Empathy for Better Recruitment

If you’re using a one-size-fits-all approach to your candidate engagement strategy, you could be limiting your ability to truly connect with candidates. Having a connection with your candidates is one of the markers of a successful recruiter. Here we’ll discuss some ways that you can better connect with candidates and boost your recruitment strategy.

What is empathy and what does it mean in recruitment?

Empathy can be defined as an understanding of people’s feelings and experiences. In a diverse and globalised world, empathy can be difficult. But the good news is that empathy can be developed and improved with practice. Coming to empathise with your candidates–and your clients–means understanding who they are as people and what matters to them in their employment.

People are looking for jobs for many reasons, ranging from redundancy in their last roles to hopes for career progression, even things like illness or conflict. By the same token, hiring managers and executives are also under the pump to employ lasting employees while meeting budgets and business objectives. Coming to understand how these people feel will give you an edge as a recruiter. 

Why is empathy important

According to a study by Business Solver, 90% of employees will stay with their company longer if that company empathises with their needs. In addition, 80% of employees would be willing to work longer hours, and over 60% would be willing to work for less money. No doubt empathy is a huge part of recruitment and HR. Using empathy in your recruitment strategy helps you bridge the gap between candidates and clients, fitting better candidates who will stay in their roles longer.

How to build empathy in your recruitment strategy

1. Observe the role

Start by observing the role that you’re hiring for. This could involve interviewing your client or even following them around the office to see that role in action. You’ll discover things you could never have anticipated, and be better able to hunt for, and choose, the right candidate.

2. Engage with job seekers

Next, learn more about the type of job seekers you want for your role. You’ll interview them to find out their thoughts, emotions, goals and motivations. In particular, you’ll find out what they want from the job they’re going for and what they need from an employer. During this interviewing process, you’ll also learn to communicate with these candidates better, how to speak their language and how to attract them.

3. Immerse yourself in candidate experiences

Develop a strategy to immerse yourself in candidate experiences–yes, even those candidates who you don’t end up matching with jobs. One approach could be to offer free career coaching sessions or consultations. The result would not only be better understanding of your candidates, but also ‘wow’ experience that makes those candidates tell their peers about you.


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Scott Rojko | 13 Jan 2019