Today’s recruiters are under constant pressure to improve and expand the ways they engage candidates. The services you offer have become commodities, and to stand out among the competition, you’re forced to differentiate with customer experience.
While it is necessary to reach out to your candidates with job opportunities, also create interpersonal relationships based on knowing them on a more personal level so you can add value to their lives. Much like you nurture a relationship with a friend, you’ll want to encourage and support your candidates’ passions and hobbies. You’ll want to show you care with frequent, simple, and genuine communications. You’ll want to recognize moments that matter to them with a simple recognition or meaningful gesture. And you’ll want to be there for them when they have a problem or issue (not necessarily around their placement).
Michel Falcon, customer experience expert, defined these interactions as micro experiences: “micro experiences are small, subtle, affordable, and memorable touches that resonate with your customers for years. They are the simple things that we neglect to do because they are so small we don’t believe that they can have too much impact; but they do!”
For example, in your conversations with one of your candidates you discover that her back is aching after shoveling out from a recent snow storm. Imagine how you would make her feel if you sent her an email asking how she was doing, along with a link to some back stretches to relieve the pain? Something as simple as the email and link would show that you listened to her and are genuinely concerned for her well-being. How much do you want to bet that you’d get a thank-you email from that candidate? I know I have when I reach out like this.
WOW Plans: Making Every Interaction Memorable
Throughout the lifetime of your relationship with your candidate, you’ll want to WOW them every time you connect. And that means making every interaction memorable. Let me show you what I mean.
Let’s say you work for a healthcare staffing firm in Atlanta. You have a nurse who you’ve placed once on a three-month contract in northern California and she seemed to like the assignment and working with you. Since that initial contract, she hasn’t worked with you since. She takes your phone calls and opens your emails, but so far that has been it. You have to assume she’s being “courted” by other agencies, but you can’t figure out why she hasn’t accepted another assignment from you. Through your conversations with Cathy, you know she’s single and has a dog, her birthday is this month, and she loves to travel to the West Coast on assignments and for pleasure. Cathy also loves wine, specifically the California Cabernets.
You set up a WOW plan to convert Cathy to a full-time staffer. You decide you want to reach out to her three times every month with personalized and relevant content hoping to persuade her to accept another assignment. Early in the month, you send Cathy a link to a wine review asking if she’s had that wine, and her thoughts on it. The next week, you send her an email letting her know about a local fundraiser for animals in her area where she can enter a 5k with her dog. Later in the month, you send Cathy a digital subscription to Wine Spectator for her birthday knowing she’ll enjoy it based on conversations the two of you have had.
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After consistently WOWing Cathy for two months, she accepts an assignment and lets you know the reason she chose you and your agency is that “you really seem to know me and my passions and goals beyond the superficial stuff.” She also gives you the name of three friends who are also travel nurses and suggests you reach out to them. Now imagine recreating this process in just a few minutes a day with all your candidates and getting similar results.
The key to any WOW plan is creating a process that can become a simple habit to incorporate into your daily routine. A plan where you take just a few minutes a day and, through meaningful gestures, make a positive impact on your candidates. Establishing WOW plans should incorporate the following items:
- Set Goals. We have goals for everything else in life, so why not set goals for developing personal relationships with candidates? Start with manageable goals such as planning to connect with them on a quarterly, monthly, or weekly basis. You decide what’s best and act on it.
- Identify Moments That Matter to Them. People have their own unique passions in life. Focus on moments that matter most to them. For example, is their son or daughter applying to colleges? Send links to several reviews of the colleges they’re looking at. Or maybe send a book about paying for college. You’re going beyond the default messages available on Facebook and LinkedIn and genuinely connecting with your candidates.
- Think Simple and Personal. Not every gesture has to be big and lavish. Share things that are simple and personal, that are useful, or make them smile. Try sending information about a local event, or a relevant article that will help them on their assignment or in their personal lives.
- Refine. Not everything you try will be an instant success. Try several things and then see what your candidates like. Then adapt your approach.
- Be Consistent. Do these things frequently (based on the goals you set in No. 1). And keep doing them.