Youโ€™re reading an excerpt of The Holloway Guide to Technical Recruiting and Hiring, a book by Osman (Ozzie) Osman and over 45 other contributors. It is the most authoritative resource on growing software engineering teams effectively, written by and for hiring managers, recruiters, interviewers, and candidates. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, over 800 links and references, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

Itโ€™s easy even for people with the right intentions to revert to a more transactional, โ€œletโ€™s get down to businessโ€ attitude when they jump into a call with a candidate. To avoid that, weโ€™ve found it helpful to take a few minutes before any call to get into the right mindset.

Timing can make this task easier. Try to buffer some time before every call to mentally prepare. You should also schedule calls for the time of day where you will have the most focus and energy to devote to candidates. Try to avoid times when you might be stressed, drained, or crunched for time. In particular, doing several back-to-back recruiting calls might make it more difficult to maintain focus.

โ€‹cautionโ€‹ Make sure that during your call, you are solely focused on the conversation. If the hiring manager or recruiter is reading and responding to emails or checking messages during the conversation, itโ€™s disrespectful of the candidate and will reduce the value of the call.

Building Rapport and Trust

Take the time at the start of a conversation to humanize yourself to the candidate and make the processโ€”and your companyโ€”seem less alien. Ask how the candidate is doing. Be friendly and considerate, and note whether the candidate seems nervous.

Next, introduce yourself and talk a little about your background. Briefly sharing a few personal details or stories can help put the candidate at ease. This can also be a great point to mention why you are at your company. The candidate will remember that you, too, were once just starting out in a new position.

As you begin to develop some trust and rapport with the candidate, try to form a connection. For instance, you might find some common ground, like an aquaintance you share or a favorite band. Maybe you used to travel through their hometown. Just a small connection can put the candidate at ease. Alternatively, you can try to note something unique or interesting about their background and bring it up. โ€œSo I heard you used to roadie for Black Sabbath. Did you learn to code on the tour bus?โ€ A little prior research can help here.

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