From a sourcing or talent acquisition perspective, we are “constantly communicating with candidates.” But are we?  Majority of recruiters I know that interface with a candidate looks something like an interview, a phone screen. They are asking ‘deep probing’ questions like how soon are they (the candidate) looking to change jobs, what is their biggest motivator, what are they looking for in compensation (except my California peers, of course, cough cough).  What the Sourcer and or recruiters is missing is everything. When a candidate is ‘on’ they are not going to tell you anything that isn’t packaged. The answers they give you are the same answers they always say in every interview. So when it comes time to make an offer or negotiate a title change, or perhaps just getting an onsite scheduled there may be unforeseen issues because the recruiter or Sourcer has not built real rapport.

Most will say “ I have (insert whatever number seems large to you, no judgment) searches, I do not have time to get to know every candidate.”  My counter to this is, what if you could close your hiring managers top 3 picks just about every time? How much time would that save you in the long run?  It turns out, authentic candidate communication and relationship building do not only lead to a better candidate experience overall but also faster fills and more candidate referrals.  That said, of course, I have some hacks to make this more manageable and make the impact to your schedule not so bad.

Communicate where your candidates already are.  This is true for sourcing in general. Why on earth other recruiters and Sourcers try to pull candidates out of one platform (GitHub, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) to another one makes no sense to me.  Convert them right where they already are! (Yes I am yelling at you). The same goes for candidate communication. I love direct messengers and have constant streams coming in across WhatsApp, text/iMessage, Skype, and the list goes on and on.  

Communicate where they don’t have to get a quiet room.  So what is so special about direct messengers or text? Your candidate can be communicating with you in the meeting they hate, while their boss is talking in front of them (happens all the time).  In fact, there is no better time to convert a candidate.

Assuming you have personality, show it.  Short form communication allows the sourcer / recruiter to inject some personality.  You can get away with some brevity and candor that you probably could not get away with on a live call.  This will go a LONG way with your candidate, both when it comes to nudging them to accept an offer or giving them not so great feedback.

GEM Recruiting AI

…but not too much.  Brevity and Candor are one thing but do not overdo it.  Make sure nothing you say can be misconstrued as hitting on the candidate.  Also, a smiley face is probably ok but do not go emoji crazy.

Process updates.  A candidate that can communicate with you in two seconds will make all the difference if something goes wrong, even if you have handed off the candidate (in the case of sourcers).  I cannot tell you how many times a candidate is sitting in an onsite that somehow went wrong ( on the clients’ end, not the candidate). It is a great way to get alerted and be able to put the fire out quickly and in many cases save the interview.  Building that report goes a long way.

Final thoughts, if you sound like a telemarketer you are one, regardless of medium. So as you are communicating, keep the corporate speak at a minimum.  No seriously, if you are going to copy/paste job descriptions and apply here links, please stop ruining it for the rest of us.


Jonah Manning, is a veteran sourcer with over a decade of experience sourcing for both large global brands (Apple, Google, etc) as well as numerous venture-backed startups.  Jonah is currently the Founder of a new startup called Arcus Label (, a strategic sourcing firm focused on helping companies grow.