5 Surprising Results of Engagement in Recruiting

October 14, 2013 4:17 pm Published by Rayanne Thorn

I know about recruiting. I know about employment branding. I know about marketing.  I know about strategy. And I know about technology. All of these arenas require engagement to work well. There are very few jobs which allow you, as the employee, to disengage and remove yourself from human contact and/or declare yourself as completely independent–no need to communicate or engage with another human being. Communication is necessary to success in our work.  

We state that doctors with poor engagement skills have no “bedside manner.” We call slick sales people “used car salesmen” (not a term of endearment). Recruiters are called “headhunters”–a less than stellar reminder of poor communication skills and ruthless practices. Nurses are named “Ratched” when their harsh and less than appealing persona shines through.  Engagement skills for these folks have not been developed well.  Perhaps they failed to understand basic behavioral science or they were not Dale Carnegie fans–they don’t care about friendships or the potential of being named an influencer.  

I have worked in talent acquisition for many years. First, as a practitioner (read: headhunter, yep I was one), next as a consultant, and then as a promoter and developer of HR and recruiting technologies. Throughout my time in the recruiting space, I have seen engagement tactics that have worked and those that fail.  The greatest source of failure has come from lack of contact or non-existent communication: the ultimate engagement fail.  

This is also true when it comes to advertising and marketing. When a campaign doesn’t ignite a new passion or re-ignite one already in place with the intended audience, it will bomb. The same holds true with product development. Think New Coke: for nearly 100 years Coke had maintained the same recipe–or Heinz’s Purple Ketchup, another recipe for disaster.  New Coke barely lasted three months before Classic Coke returned to store shelves. Artificially-colored ketchup lasted a bit longer, but had its last squirt less than 6 years after it was initially released. (What were they thinking?) They didn’t know their consumers: Engagement is vital!

Recruiting is Sales

 I used to deny I was in sales to my first recruiting boss–nearly every day. I didn’t want to believe it was sales, but it was–it is. Recruiters need to happily engage with hiring managers/clients and candidates/applicants, people on both sides of the hiring table. The industry gets lambasted often because they don’t. Throughout, my career, I have often been surprised by the results of a sunny disposition and honest communication.  So, I decided to come up with a list of surprising results of engagement in recruiting. They shouldn’t be surprises, but they often are.

1. Calls are Returned 

When making calls to potential clients, hiring managers or applicants/candidates, be nice. Don’t be curt, and don’t be rude. Be honest in your communications, leave your name, number, why you are calling, and, if possible, give them an alternate way to communicate as in, “or you can email me here” or “text me at this number.”  Rusing is dead. Tell the truth. Whomever you are trying to reach will appreciate it. The first step to eliminate your rudeness?? Unblock your number. Everyone has Caller-ID now. I don’t even answer blocked numbers anymore. If you can’t be open enough to show me who you are, why should I even call back?  AND unblock your LinkedIn profile. You lurking and cruising through profiles is just creepy.  Sorry, it is. 

2. Calls are Answered

Once you unblock your number and after your number is recognized, your contacts will actually start answering when you call. It’s amazing how that works. Reciprocation goes a long way, and ultimately it is about respect.  Respect your contacts and it will come back to you.

3. They Will Call YOU

I have had multiple experiences where clients and candidates have called me to find out if I know anyone to hire or if jobs are available. It is because I have engaged with them from the beginning. I made the intent of my communication clear but have been nice and sincerely interested in them. I had one final candidate who didn’t get the job. I called her to let her know, she was disappointed, but more so surprised because I had actually called her to let her know that I was sorry that she wasn’t getting an offer. Three weeks later she called me back to tell me she had another opportunity and was driving her motorcycle up North for an interview. She called me. Another time, I was the candidate and the recruiter never called me to let me know that I wasn’t getting the job. You know how it is: if three weeks go by, your probably not getting the job.  Later when I received another offer, I called the other recruiter to let her know. I continued the reciprocation. Now, she emails me all the time with openings to see if I know anyone. 

4. They Will Open the Kimono

One of my first recruiting bosses used to call it “opening the kimono” when a potential client or potential candidate walked through the door of trust and shared a golden nugget. When you establish a baseline of communication contingent upon the trust you have built, people will be more likely to return that trust in spades. The information flows and, if you value that information, just like secrets from a best friend, more will be sure to come. You can learn and lead your candidate or hiring manager in the right direction, continually filtering the process to provide the best possible service.  People not only buy from people they know, they also buy from people they trust. Identify with them. Give them a reason to like you. Be likable

5. Your Network will Grow

When you like a product, you tell your friends about it. When a product produces great results, you are happy to recommend it to friends and family because you want them to benefit from what you know and what you have learned. The same holds true for engagement in your business communications.  Why would anyone refer anyone else to you if you’re a total jerk, and only in it to win it? Give back to your network, help when you can, be of benefit and it will come back to you tenfold. A remarkable marketer in our space, Chris Lavoie, Executive Producer of Top Recruiter, stated in a Facebook thread the other day, “People consume content based on their behavior.” Not yours. Know your consumer. Share with them what they want and need to hear/know. Be genuinely interested in them. Provide for them. That is YOU doing the engagement.  What goes around, comes around. 

Some engagement is prompted or planned.  Some just happens spontaneously when you encourage it to do so.  So YOU be honest in communications. YOU open the kimono first. YOU think about THEM. The win will come when you stop thinking about winning for yourself. 

You cannot force engagement, because it is about the recipient. The recipient chooses to like and respond back, two-way – ah-ha! Simple: engagement starts with you listening. 



Rayanne Thorn plunged head first into the world of recruitment as a healthcare and also technology recruiter in both agency and corporate settings. She fell in love with social media marketing and online content creation six years ago and began touting how HR and Recruiters could use it to benefit their work. This activity led to her position as Marketing Director for Broadbean Technology – a leading job posting software company.  From there, she served as the US VP of Communications and Branding for Evenbase, the 5th largest global digital recruitment group of which Broadbean is a part.  In August of 2013, she joined the global HR technology company, Technomedia, as their VP of Product Marketing and Strategy.  She describes social media as the New Front Porch where business and life are continuously altered by innovative and disruptive technology companies which refuse to stand still. She is an avid writer and public speaker, often sharing her brushes with humanity and technology/business and how their paths always seem to cross.

This post was written by Rayanne Thorn


  • Henry Motyka says:

    I’ve been successful as a networker because I’ve found what is most important: it’s about helping others first. It works very well.

    Excellent article with good guidelines for being successful.

  • Rayanne Thorn says:

    Thanks Henry! Appreciate your comment!

    Of course, these results apply to both sides of the recruiting table as well… A jobseeker who is forthright and returns calls will have recruiters WANTING to help them find the right job. The results of engagement shouldn’t surprise anyone, but they do!


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