Human beings are highly social animals. In order to develop and maintain a balanced emotional, mental and psychological wellbeing we need to have close connections with other humans. There have been numerous studies demonstrating the damage caused by social deprivation and isolation in even the most introverted personalities, yet the amount of time we spend speaking face-to-face with other people on a daily basis is diminishing quickly – particularly when it comes to the workplace.
There’s no doubt that the advancement of communication technology has revolutionised business, particularly for the recruitment industry; the ability to connect with a large number of perspective candidates instantaneously provides more opportunities for both job seekers and clients while simultaneously accelerating the efficiency of the overall procurement process. Utilising email, instant messaging and social media for short-term communication is not only convenient but vital in the modern world. However, can we ever create truly valuable connections without speaking in person? We wouldn’t expect to maintain a strong relationship with a partner, child, parent or friend through a screen, so why should the relationships we forge for our jobs be any different?
Hiring managers often view candidates as entities rather than people, which is understandable considering the way success is measured in the industry. Statistics are more quantifiable whereas suitability is not when it comes to job placements, yet taking the time to speak with applicants in person will reflect positively on job performance in the long run.
93% of communication effectiveness is determined by non-verbal cues, which is why so many typed messages fail to convey their intended objectives. Misunderstandings occur frequently due to spelling, grammatical and phrasing errors, creating a barrier that can sometimes tarnish working relationships and reputations. We all assume the recipient of our email or instant message will understand our intentions but how many times has the opposite proved true in your life, either professionally or personally?
Good communication is not just about what is said – how is just as important. Tone, voice inflection, emotion, facial expressions, posture, body language and even unconscious micro-expressions cannot be effectively displayed in any other format than in person. It is through these dozens of non-verbal cues that we are able to feel someone’s ‘vibe’, which can be as significant an indicator as an individual’s qualifications. As you will no doubt be aware, a CV can only reveal so much.
One might believe that telephoning or video calling is just as effective as speaking in person, but this is not the case. Do you ever find yourself using a ‘phone voice’ when speaking on a call? Also, many of us fail to give our undivided attention through this medium and can become easily distracted. If there isn’t the physical presence of someone in front of us our minds tend to wander and the quality of the interaction is compromised further.
The evidence is there in abundance: one global survey showed that 67% of senior executives and managers thought their organisation would be more productive if their superiors communicated in person. Another study showed 87% of professionals think face-to-face meetings are essential for sealing a business deal and 95% think it is the key to successful, long-lasting business relationships. It seems the only way to be fully engaged and to get to know a candidate is to meet them. Of course there are multiple channels that help to maintain a continuous dialogue, but ultimately face-to-face communication is always the most effective.
Let’s try to make the effort to truly engage people better through face to face meetings when possible, in order to develop more authentic business relationships. Only then will we stand out from the crowd lost in digital soundbites.
If you would like any further recruitment advice, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Austin Benn consultants today.