How to Make Your Candidate Feel Cared for this Valentine’s Day

Advice from experts · 2/14/2024 · 1 min read

How to Make Your Candidate Feel Cared for this Valentine’s Day

You may be familiar with the concept of love languages — how we express and receive love — in personal relationships. But have you ever considered how they can be applied to professional relationships? Let's explore how words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and gift-giving can positively impact our interpersonal relationships at work, with a focus on the recruiter/candidate relationship.

Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation can be written or verbal and often express appreciation, praise, or encouragement. Start every recruiter screen with a passive candidate by thanking them for their time and for responding to your outreach message. It's a great way to open the conversation and ask what piqued their interest in the opportunity.

Throughout the interview process, share positive feedback with your candidate so they are aware of what is resonating with the hiring team. Share constructive feedback to let them know where they can improve.

And don't forget to send your candidate some encouragement! Wishing them well before their interviews goes a long way and can give them a confidence boost when they're feeling nervous.

If all goes well and the team wants to extend an offer to your candidate, tell them what made them stand out and why the team is excited to work with them. Shower them with praise, and celebrate with them! Have the hiring manager and interview panel send an email congratulating and welcoming them to the team.

One of my most memorable interview experiences was when I received a call from the CEO telling me the team wanted to extend an offer to me. It turns out the entire team was on the line with him. I was shocked and so touched to hear from everyone. It was unexpected and made me feel special.

Quality Time

Quality time can take many forms. When your candidate is at later interview stages or has an offer in hand, ensure the team is invested in selling and closing your candidate. After all, interviewing is a two-way street — the candidate is evaluating the company and opportunity just as the team has evaluated them through interviews. Arrange a team lunch or dinner so your candidate can get to know their future team on a personal level and in a more comfortable setting. Identify what hesitations your candidate might have and connect them with the right people at the company who can alleviate their concerns. Maybe it’s a concern about the product roadmap; set them up to speak with a leader in the Product org. Or, maybe they are hesitant to join a small startup — connect them with a team member who formerly worked at a larger company and made the leap to a startup. If your company is small enough or the role you're recruiting for is high-level enough, set them up for a sell call with the CEO, an investor, or someone on the board. It'll go a long way in making a candidate feel that they will be a valued addition to the team.

A candidate at offer with my client expressed that his wife was concerned about the work/life balance at a growing startup. To alleviate these concerns, the CEO took both the candidate and his wife out to dinner, spending a lot of time discussing the team culture and the balance he would be able to achieve. It went a long way and ultimately led to the candidate joining the team! Remember, there are often others who are influencing your candidate, and it's important to include them in the process where appropriate.

Acts of Service

Acts of service can take the form of providing help by offering your time or physical resources. Prepare your candidate for every stage of the interview process — brief them on who they will meet and the focus and structure of the interview. Take the time to address and follow up on any questions they might have.

I often share websites and book recommendations with software engineering candidates to help them prepare for coding interviews. I've also reached out to insurance companies to understand what medical conditions and treatments they cover. Go the extra mile to provide your candidate with all the information they need, setting them up for success and enabling them to make an informed decision.

Gift Giving

While not expected, gifts are a pleasant way to show your candidate you and the team care. Appropriate gifts for a candidate might range from company swag to an UberEats gift card, to something personal. They don’t have to cost a lot, and they’re most impactful when they are unique to the candidate.

I had a candidate in LA who used to live in New York. Our team wanted to extend an offer and knew we were up against several other companies. In a conversation, I learned that bagels were what she missed most about living in New York City. So, I ordered custom blue and white bagels from a famous spot in Brooklyn. We sent them to her along with a handwritten note, and it made her day. Learn about what your candidate loves outside of work, and find a way to show that you've been listening and that you care about them as a person. It will make a world of difference and will make for a very memorable experience.

It’s our job as recruiters to do everything we can to ensure our candidates have a positive experience interacting with the company we represent. Fostering strong relationships with your candidate increases their engagement and investment in the interview process, ultimately improving the likelihood of them accepting an offer and even referring their colleagues. Not only that, but it’s incredibly rewarding to build these relationships. Changing jobs is a big, sometimes life-altering decision. It’s a privilege for us as recruiters to be able to influence people’s lives and one we shouldn’t take lightly. Show your candidates you care this Valentine’s Day (and always!)