TAtech Tip: Learn the Art of Talent Whispering

With all of the talk these days about social recruiting, you'd think there would be a good understanding of how to best communicate with high-caliber prospects online. The low yields now being reported from such interactions, however, indicate that much of our messaging isn't having its intended impact. That's why we need to adopt the art of talent whispering.

High-caliber prospects are almost always employed and too busy to consider new jobs. In fact, a 2014 survey of employed workers by CareerBuilder��found that just 21 percent of the respondents expected to make a move in the next 1-2 years. That's far below the historical norm for a reasonably healthy economy.

No less important is the fact that top prospects receive so many communications from recruiters that they have started to��see such messages as spam. They do glance briefly at these emails and InMails, but then, more often than not, they hit the delete button and forget about them.

How can you ensure that your communications are better received? Change the nature of the experience they provide.

Instead of communicating as a recruiter reaching out to a prospective new hire, transform the experience of reading your message into that of one colleague talking to another. Make your prospects feel as if you and they are coworkers.

Why? Because top talent listened to their mothers. What was the first lesson your mother taught you? Don't speak to strangers, right? Top prospects aren't going to trust something as important as a change in their career to someone whose message ��� no matter how politely expressed ��� has the feel of a business transaction with a faceless buyer of talent.

On the other hand, a top prospect will read and respond to a message from a recruiter, if the recruiter is seen as a "virtual colleague" ��� a person the prospect may not know but at least can trust. The recruiter isn't considered a stranger because the message experience convinces the prospect that the recruiter has the prospect's best interests at heart. And the best way to provide such an experience is by whispering.

How to Send Message Like a Virtual Colleague

"Talent whispering" uses online messages to create a conversations between virtual colleagues. It avoids organizational and transactional terms ��� the most notorious being "requirements" and "responsibilities" ��� and instead cultivates an informal feel by describing openings in the language that might be used by two professionals just talking to one another.

Such conversations typically answer the following five questions about the advantages the job offers to whoever takes it:

What will they get to do?

What will they get to learn?

What will they get to accomplish?

With whom will they get to work?

How will they be recognized and rewarded?

Since colleagues don't (usually) talk at one another, you should also use a second technique to encourage the prospect to feel as if they and you are actually engaged in a collegial conversation. As each question is answered in your message, subliminally hand the conversation back to them by asking a question.

For example, after explaining that an opening offers the candidate��the opportunity to work with acknowledged leaders in their field, you might insert the following in your message: "Would your career benefit from teaming up with some of the top performers in your profession?" Such a question preserves the conversational tone of the message and keeps the prospect engaged.

Talent whispering changes the paradigm of online messaging. It transforms the experience from a transactional interaction between strangers to a supportive conversation between��colleagues. That creates more interest and engagement among your prospects ��� and, ultimately, more applications to your openings.


TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions is the global trade association for the talent acquisition technology industry. Collectively, its members power or operate more than��60,000 sites worldwide and provide state-of-the-art products and innovative services for virtually every facet of talent acquisition. Join the dialogue by attending the TAtech Conference Expo this fall ��� connect with the real experts in talent acquisition technology and get your hotel room for free if you register by July 15th!