It’s strange for me to say this in a capitalistic society that rewards psychopathy over empathy, in a political climate where insults are hurled back and forth, but I believe empathy and sensitivity are the greatest weapons you can wield.  

I know, I’m a woman and I’m tapping into gendered language here and I can understand how a developing a thick skin seems to be a fast and reliable defense against the jerks of the world. Being sensitive is being fragile, and fragility doesn’t fly well.

But here’s the rub. When it comes to communication, goodwill, and persuasion–empathy is far more powerful than apathy, and empathy cannot be reached without sensitivity. You know what’s apathetic? Robots. You know what doesn’t have a sense of humor? Also robots.

No one wants to receive a recruitment email that was written by some automated software:  Bloop bloop bleep Greetings {{first_name}}! I parsed your resume and came to the conclusion that you are a suitable fit for us. Bleep bloop.

This is where Empathy bursts into the scene, dropkicks the robot into smithereens and moonwalks over the mess. If I can place myself in someone’s shoes, predict their sense of humor or determine what call to action will move them, then I can tailor a message for them. A message with a beating heart, that can convey a sense of warmth and good humor.

Instead of making this first touch email a humdrum handshake, I try to make it a secret handshake complete with coordinated maneuvers and sound effects. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. I know you’re special, and without you we wouldn’t have this neat secret handshake.” I say, trying very hard not to sound condescending.

Make the candidate laugh with the subject line, or maybe lure them in by plucking heartstrings to their tune. We’re human, after all. We may believe we make rational decisions based on a cost-benefit analysis, but every thought is born from how you felt at that moment. Emotion is the core of human nature, and we are always feeling, even if we’re not thinking.

So be sensitive, be funny, maybe be a little vulnerable. You are trying to start a relationship, not recruit for war.  

Because in a world of boring, robotic recruitment, the best way to get attention is to remind people that they’re human. And most humans desire to be special. Therefore the best way to get attention is to remind people that what makes them special makes them human, and what makes them human, well… makes them not a robot.

 

-Lilabel McCall

Sourcing Program Manager

Lilabel McCall

Posted by Lilabel McCall

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