5 Recruiting One-Liners That Don’t Work Anymore

Since October, the national unemployment rate has held at a strong 4.1 percent – a 17-year low.

In lieu of tips on how to find a job and what to do with candidates when you’re not hiring, today’s headlines are chock-full of messages like candidates have a choice when it comes to recruiters and how to invest in your recruiters to train and retain them. Options in the market are abound – on both sides of the transaction – which means everyone needs to be bringing their ‘A’ games to every conversation.

A big part of a strong ‘A’ game comes in the form of basic communication skills. For active and passive candidates, this means articulating past experiences and qualifications well. But for recruiters, it means attracting, building rapport and cultivating interest from a population less in need of a new job and more in quiet application and consideration mode. They’re window shopping – because they can.

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Recruiters, therefore, need to be mindful of how they’re reaching out, and also to recognize they’re hardly the only ones these candidates are being recruited by – especially if they have a fantastic background, but even if they don’t. Overly salesy tactics and one-liners won’t cut it.

Say This, Not That

It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to sell today’s candidates on career opportunities they may not want, let alone need. The market is brimming with passive job seekers who are casually considering their next move – if they decide to make one at all – and to attract and captivate their attention is taking more than the fallback one-liners recruiters have gotten comfortable using over the years.

Here are the top five overly used one-liners recruiters need to stop using to get the attention of today’s job seeker, and what to say instead:

1. “I came across your resume, and you have a really great background.” Candidates today, no matter their experience or skill level, are hearing this from recruiters left and right. Plus, this one’s been in the rotation for quite a while now; say something different.

Why not show you took the time to actually read through their resume by saying something a little more tailored, like “I saw you went back and completed your master’s degree a couple of years ago – congratulations! Are there positions you had in mind when you went back to get that degree?” We all know open-ended questions in recruiting are key. And naturally, the less scripted you are the more open-ended your questions will be.

2. “This is a hot job that won’t be available for long.” Even if this is true, today’s job seekers are not in the business of being bullied into a new gig, especially when a daunting time stamp gets put on it.

Depending on the real reason behind the opening and the need to fill it fast, recruiters instead will have to provide a little more detail. Like, “The manager this position reports to is really hoping to make a hire before the end of the month, because the project I mentioned to you starts in May. It’s a coveted position leading the enterprise integration. Are you available to hop on a call with her as early as this afternoon?” A little detail and a little context go a long way, and they build interest.

3. “This is with a fast-growing company.” Again, the devil is in the details. What does fast-growing mean in the context of this company? What kind of company is it? Don’t go with a glossed over description, give memorable details that will stick with candidates as they consider the opportunity.

If the position is being recruited for by an outside agency, the recruiter can keep it general while also giving a little more information, such as, “This is with a company that went from $10 million in revenue in its first year to doing over $100 million last year. They specialize in consumer goods and have been recognized as a top manufacturer in the region.” As an agency recruiter, sometimes you only know what you’re given but there are a lot of supporting details that can be found by doing a little research. Candidates today are expecting it.

4. “The team there is really great, you’re going to fit right in.” How? What makes you think that?

To grab the attention of today’s passive job seekers, you need to be able to demonstrate you know not only the job but also that you know and care enough about the candidate as a person that this opportunity truly makes a lot of sense for them to consider. Instead, say something like, “The five other members of this team are also certified public accountants, and two of them graduated from your alma mater.”

5. “They’ve already met with a couple of people they really like, but I can probably get you in front of the hiring manager.” These types of passive-aggressive one-liners are not what passive job seekers want to hear. Whether it’s true or not, job seekers today are less receptive to this form of recruitment. So much of someone’s interest in a job opportunity is grounded in how it was initially positioned to them; don’t miss the opportunity by being too salesy.

Alternative option: “They’ve started the interview process but the hiring manager is ideally looking for someone with the project management experience you have. Beyond this immediate opening, I really think your name would go to the top with this manager considering your background.”

Closing Thoughts

Ditch your canned approach and one-liners and describe the jobs and the companies you’re recruiting for the way you would want them described to you. The experience you’re providing to each of your candidates will improve, and you will also be building more genuine connections with the people you’re speaking with – which leads to longer-term relationships, better matches and more referrals. Not to mention, you’ll be increasing the value you’re providing to the people you recruit, and in no doubt to your clients, too.

Successful recruiters are successful marketers. Know what you’re selling and communicate it authentically. Plus, who wants to sit there and say the same thing all day?

MORE: How to improve the candidate experience

Brittney Murray

Brittney Murray
Brittney Murray is the founder and lead consultant at BMUR Branding Group.

Brittney Murray

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