You Should Still Include Face-To-Face Interactions In Your Recruitment Strategy. Here’s why.

There’s been a paradigm shift in the way people work and plan their careers over the last ten years, and it’s had a dramatic impact on how the recruitment industry operates. Top talent now has more power to be very selective about the opportunities they choose to pursue, and they’ve become more and more selective.

This shift has turned the tables around for employers – the recruitment process is now focused on the candidates rather than the employer.

What does this mean for recruiters? It means that you must treat candidates like customers that need to be ‘sold’ on the opportunities you are presenting them. Reaching them on a more personal level – and demonstrating to them that you really care about finding the best opportunity – is key to earning their trust and confidence in working with you.

“79 percent of consumers want brands to demonstrate they care before considering a purchase (Wunderman).”

Reach doesn’t equal connection

Businesses are built on relationships — especially so in recruiting — and technology has presented multiple ways of reaching people that didn’t exist just years ago. We have email, social media, employee engagement platforms, chatbots, texting, and more. It’s never been easier to reach someone than it is today.

But does that mean we should throw out traditional methods of developing relationships altogether?


In fact, I would argue that more traditional methods of communication become even more impactful the more we move ‘online’ as a society (Example: how special do you feel now when someone takes the time to mail you a handwritten note card thanking you for something?).

More traditional means of communication can provide a connection with a person that is different than technology can provide, and that connection still holds a great deal of value (perhaps even increasing value?) in the recruitment process.

Face-to-face still has its place

The development of relationships in the recruitment process has always been critical to the success of recruitment agencies. The chances of a candidate accepting a job offer are higher when the recruiting process is a positive experience.

In a Harvard Business Review survey, 95 percent of participants stated that face-to-face meetings are a key factor in successfully building and maintaining long-term relationships.

You can learn so much about candidates during the recruitment process in a face-to-face meeting. You have more to go on than you do with email, phone, or social media channels. According to Albert Mehrabian, there are basically three elements in any face-to-face communication:

  • 7 percent words (what is actually said)
  • 38 percent tone of voice (how we say the words)
  • 55 percent body language

Finding ways to interact with candidates via face-to-face settings will give you a better idea of who they are and give you the opportunity to develop a more substantial relationship.

The distance dilemma

Today, thanks to technology, many employees don’t live near their places of work. Remote working has created a new way of hiring and has expanded the candidates recruiters can interview for open positions. Therefore, doing a true face-to-face meeting may not seem possible.

For those recruiting very senior executive positions, the investment in travel to visit a candidate in person may still be well worth it. For those with more modest economics, I would suggest two possibilities to consider:

Video conferencing

According to Harvard Business Review, 87 percent of remote workers feel more connected through the use of video conferencing. Video conferencing is the next closest thing to actual in-person meetings. So, incorporate this technology into your recruitment process to build better relationships.

Group events

Creating events in a marketplace that you serve is an excellent way to get a larger number of candidates together in one place at one time, giving you the opportunity to get face time with many candidates in a shorter period of time. Consider creating your own events, or holding ‘meet ups’ at larger conferences or trade shows that you know your candidates attend.

Face-to-face (including video) meeting tips

While face-to-face meetings are beneficial to long-term relationships, they can also have the opposite effect. Virgin Media found this out the hard way. Based on poor face-to-face interactions in the recruitment process, they ended up losing $5M annually.

The reality is that you need to have a strategy for doing these in-person interactions properly and thoughtfully, or they can backfire just like any other form of communication.

Keep these best practices in mind to prevent bad relationship vibes:

  • Create a script. Make sure your recruiters can represent your firm’s brand effectively by having them learn strong, scripted answers to questions candidates will have about your firm, why they should work with you, etc. Don’t leave your most important selling points to chance!
  • Put your phone away. Notifications popping up on your phone can be a distraction to everyone when you’re trying to have a conversation. And if you keep looking at your phone each time it goes off, you’re saying to the other person that he or she isn’t important.
  • Leave personal problems at the door. Sometimes personal issues can be distracting and give off the impression of a poor attitude. Try to enter the conversation with a fresh mind.
  • Make eye contact. When you make eye contact, you let the other person know you’re listening and paying attention. Don’t go overboard and stare them down…that’s a bit creepy.
  • Listen to what’s being said. Don’t think about what you’re planning to say next. Listen to what the other person is saying so that you don’t miss important information critical to the job position you’re trying to fill.
  • Acknowledge others when they speak Make sure to give the other person cues to to indicate that you are listening. Nod your head and lean in to give the interviewer comfort in knowing you’re engaged in the conversation.
  • Consider the environment Your choice of location can have a big impact on how a candidate experiences your meeting and the impression of your ‘brand’. Be thoughtful about where and when you hold your meetings to create the right impact.

Leverage, don’t replace.

We are huge fans of technology at TrackerRMS, but we never forget that it’s meant to give you leverage in building better relationships, not replace the relationship building process itself.

Relationships matter.

Recruitment is built on relationships. In a high-tech world, we can easily forget the importance of human connections in business. However, relationship-building is a critical component to the success of your recruitment process.

Find ways to incorporate strategic, face-to-face interactions with candidates is still the best way to develop meaningful relationships, which is what it’s all about.

TrackerRMS: Helping your team be more productive

Learn more about TrackerRMS, the world’s leading cloud-based recruitment, applicant tracking and CRM software provider. With a full suite of customizable capabilities and an unprecedented level of customer support, we help recruiters be more productive — which leaves more time to focus on the candidate experience. Contact us today to learn more about this powerful end-to-end recruitment agency software solution.

CEO of Tracker for over 12 years with an overall 25+ years in business process, IT strategy, and management

More from Andy Jones

Related Posts