We meet people from all walks of life in the line of work we do. Some are enjoying their current roles and looking for growth, and some have had really tough times in their jobs and are hopeful of finding that one opportunity that will give them peace of mind. Empathy is also as crucial in recruitment as in any other job.

As Recruiters, we are essentially the face of the organisation we are recruiting for, whether you are an external or internal recruiter. It is important to see beyond the qualifications, skills and experience and see the human being. Listening is one of the greatest skills a Recruiter needs, because in listening, you can see beyond the piece of paper called a CV in front of you and see the individual, then identify exactly what kind of environment they need to be in.

Reflecting on a recent interaction, we found ourselves reminded of the immense privilege and responsibility the role of a recruiter carries. A candidate, with a mix of vulnerability and courage, shared their experience of a toxic work environment with us.

“No worries Sesi Boni,
Thanks for always being there. I know you are just doing your job, but it means a lot to us, especially given the safe space you have created for us to be vulnerable. I appreciate you, and never undermine the impact of the work you are doing. You are touching and changing lives.”

It gives me so much pleasure when I receive feedback like this from a candidate because it means I took the opportunity to listen and hear where the candidate’s pain points are. I could have easily dismissed them and assumed they were complaining about the environment they were in. Still, in listening, I understood that it was not only about the people this individual was working with, but also about the fact that their job was not fulfilling.

Empathy takes loving what you do and believing in your impact on people’s lives.

These are the benefits of empathy in talent attraction:

  • It helps to build trust. When candidates feel like they are being understood and heard, they are more likely to trust the recruiter and the company. This trust is essential for building a positive relationship and encouraging candidates to move forward in the hiring process.
  • It helps to identify the best candidates. Empathy can help recruiters to identify the best candidates by understanding their skills, experience, and motivations. When recruiters understand what candidates are looking for in a job, they are better equipped to match them with the right opportunities.
  • It helps to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Empathy can help recruiters to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace by understanding the needs of different candidates. When recruiters are more understanding, they are less likely to make unconscious biases that can lead to discrimination.

Here are some tips for practising empathy in talent attraction:

  • Listen actively. Pay attention to what candidates are saying, both verbally and non-verbally.
  • Ask open-ended questions. This will help you to learn more about candidates’ skills, experience, and motivations.
  • Be patient. It takes time to build trust and rapport with candidates.
  • Be respectful. Treat candidates with dignity and respect, even if they are not the right fit for the job.
  • Be honest. Be transparent about the company’s culture, expectations, and compensation.

By all means, I am not saying you will always get it by following these tips, but you will most times.

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