6 Ways to Get to Know Your Job Candidates More Personally

By Christine Ascher on August 30, 2017

Often times when students are applying for a job, they fall into a pattern of focusing on their professionalism and are more difficult to get to know on a more personal level. This means you’ll have to put in a little bit of extra effort to get to know your candidates outside of their job qualifications.

In addition to helping you get a better feel for potential employees and for being able to better distinguish between different candidates, this will also show candidates that you’re interested in them personally, rather than only in reference to their resume — which, in turn, will leave them with a positive impression of your company.

To encourage a more open discussion between you and your job candidates, and to just get to know them better, try out these six tips.

Image via https://pixabay.com

1. Ask questions on your application or in surveys

If you want to know specific information about your candidates, such as some of their unique interests or hobbies, try including some questions related to these topics on your application. Make it clear that their answers won’t affect their status in terms of the job to ensure that they respond openly and honestly.

You can also send out surveys to your candidates to ask them questions separately from their applications. This is a good technique, in particular, to get to know your candidates as a group — for instance, if you want to find any patterns between them, and to learn more about some of their individual interests.

2. Communicate directly

Rather than sending out generic emails when you communicate with candidates for a job, write to them personally to show that you’re taking an interest in them. If you make candidates feel like you remember them and are interested, it’s likely that they’ll feel more open when communicating in return.

Your initial communications will set the tone for how future interactions go, so the more personable you are in the beginning, the more comfortable your candidates will feel.

3. Encourage responses

When you reach out to candidates, make your conversations two-sided by encouraging responses. If you send out newsletters, try ending them with a fun question that candidates can respond to, whether more goal-oriented, such as their biggest dream in life, or just about their tastes, such as their favorite movies or TV shows.

The more you encourage correspondence, the more comfortable candidates will feel opening up to you and sharing more about themselves in general. They’ll appreciate your efforts and recognize that you genuinely want to know more about them, and hopefully they’ll respond with equal effort on their part.

4. Call rather than emailing  

Rather than communicating only via email, phone calls are a good way to reach out to potential employees on a more personal level. Whereas emails tend to be more stagnant and one-sided, reaching out over the phone gives you an extra opportunity to actually speak to candidates one-on-one.

Adding this extra level of communication can also encourage them to open up, as it emphasizes your interest in really speaking with and getting to know them.

5. Use social media

Using social media to communicate with your candidates is a great way to reach out to them in a casual way.

Make a Facebook page and keep it updated, then use it as a forum for discussion between your company and job candidates. You can post relevant information for them and, from time to time, pose questions for them to answer. They’ll want to respond as it will show you their engagement with the company, and you’ll get to know them in a more casual setting before interviewing. It might even encourage them to be more open, as they’ll be using a more casual medium to communicate — and won’t have the nerves and resulting stiffness that is all too common in an interview setting.

If you want to take things a step further, you can expand to other social media platforms as well. Twitter and even Snapchat can be great resources for you to get to know your candidates. Use a company Snapchat to share relevant videos, and open it up from time to time for candidates to ask questions and send you pictures or videos themselves. Again, your potential employees are probably going to be far more relaxed and open to sharing in this setting than when they’re sitting in the office for an interview.

6. Ask more personal interview questions

While this is a seemingly simple tactic, it may go overlooked by some employers. If you want to get to know your candidates more personally, you can ask them some questions to this end during an interview — just make sure to stress the fact that these are not questions that are intended to trick them or trip them up, but are just part of an effort to get to know them a little better beyond the scope of the job.

To make your candidates more comfortable, share a bit of information about yourself as well. You can even answer your own questions before turning it over to them. This is an easy way to learn more about your candidate’s hobbies, talents not listed on their resume, and to just get a better feel for them in general.

By Christine Ascher

Uloop Writer
USC
Hi! I'm Christine and I'm currently a senior at the University of Southern California, where I study English Literature, Economics, and French.

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