Thanks in large part to technology, the idea of meeting workers where they are has evolved over time or so goes the theory behind the Industrial Revolutions. Years ago, these meetings took place mainly on job sites or in office settings, while more recently, it’s started to include email, texting, and chatbots. 

In 2020, with in-person interactions all but off the table for weeks and months on end, technology became increasingly important and not just for transactional communications but relational ones, too – to the extent that the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey ranked “increasing communications” as the second of three areas of HR focus during the pandemic. 

Perhaps nowhere has this been more apparent than in recruiting, in which large-scale employers needed to continue hiring to fix broken supply chains, meet consumer demands, and encourage global economic recovery. The value of service industry, production facilities, distribution and transportation, and other operational workers became indispensable almost overnight. Further opening up the conversation around how companies attract and engage this segment of the overall workforce.

That’s because, as a function, recruiting is all about communication and how effectively we connect with candidates. Job seekers, including those in the industries listed above, want to know where they stand and feel respected throughout the process, and doing so consistently requires the following: 

A focus on relationship building 

One of the foundational aspects of recruiting is relationship building. So much so that it has been a central tenet of the hiring narrative for upwards of 20 years, back when Dr. John Sullivan wrote, “The goal of relationship recruiting is to build up mutual respect to the point where the candidate is convinced that they will ‘someday work for our firm.'”

That said, recruiting for some roles necessitates a high-volume approach, which often overrides the possibility of building relationships. Or at least that was the case before automation made it possible to eliminate repetitive administrivia. 

Though seemingly disparate on the surface, automation works to support relationship building by making recruiters more available to candidates. It streamlines workflows in an omnichannel process, introducing transparency, speeding up timelines, and allowing recruiters to stay in frequent contact.

In turn, interactions move from perfunctory to personal faster, giving both sides more time to get to know one another. 

An understanding of individual needs

Part of getting to know one another is understanding the individual candidate and what they want from a potential employer. That can be challenging in industries where time is of the essence, and filling requisite needs is a top priority for both the job seekers and the hiring organization. 

Still, confusion, frustration, and distrust happen when messages don’t match or meet candidates’ expectations. As such, there is the opportunity for recruiters to tailor each and every candidate engagement by making simple asks from the outset.

These might include “How do you prefer to be contacted?” or “When is the best time to reach you?” In some instances, candidates might not have unlimited data or text messaging available and instead want to talk over the phone. In others, a current commitment might leave them unavailable during regular business hours.

Knowing how and when to connect with a candidate helps personalize and humanize their experience, even when they aren’t always talking to an actual recruiter. 

Tools to facilitate connection

Successful candidate communication relies on the frequency and consistency of messaging, which has been proven repeatedly. From screening to scheduling, job seekers are looking for updates from recruiters, preferring two-way communication whenever and wherever possible. Recognizing that recruiters don’t typically have the bandwidth to stay in constant contact, technology is once again the great facilitator to meet candidates where they are – in life and the process.

Early on, that might look like an on-demand resource such as a friendly chatbot or text support, ready, willing, and able to step job seekers through the application. While later, that might be access to automatic status updates, available to all candidates, helping nurture relationships and even, re-engage past applicants.

To get to frequency and consistency, recruiters need to provide candidates with guideposts that light the path and reinforce that feeling of connection.   

Pre-pandemic, meeting candidates – and workers – where they are might have meant in-person interviews and career fairs. Today, we’re in a whole new world, one that’s more connected and farther apart at the same time, with technology tying us all together.

For recruiters looking to get on the operational candidates’ level, do it. Make space to dig deeper. Get to the heart of what they’re looking for and use tools to enable practical and purposeful communication. 

Learn how Emi Labs can help you leverage AI to meet workers where they are.

Mateo Cavasotto

Mateo Cavasotto holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering. He worked at Quasar Ventures, helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas, business models, and capital raising processes. He was also Country Manager at Trocafone, where he was in charge of launching operations in the Argentinian market. In 2017 he started Emi Labs with his partner Andrés Arslanian. He now serves as CEO of Emi Labs and is seeking to revolutionize the way we engage with and hire, blue-collar workers across the globe.