Don’t Forget the ‘Human’ in Human Resources!

As Human Resource pros, we receive and respond to a lot of emails: we open, scan, type and hit send. One email that I received last week continues to linger on my mind. It was from a job seeker who wrote, “I really appreciate your wishes. After almost one year ‘hunting for job,’ this was the first optimistic message I have received.”

This made me smile, yet also saddened me.


On the other end of that email, job application, resume is a real, live person with real life issues, concerns, worries and needs.  Often times a recruiter will focus their positive energies on candidates that are a good fit for the company, while brushing off people who aren’t a fit.

I would challenge you to view each candidate interaction as an opportunity to build a relationship and leave a positive impression. A small note at the end of an email could mean the world of difference to the recipient. And, what’s in it for you? Your action leaves an overall good impression of you and the organization that you represent.

Being positive is a win-win for everyone.


Several months ago, a high level candidate reached out to me via LinkedIn. At the time, it did not seem like there were any possible matches for his skill set at my company. We stayed in touch. I even reviewed his resume and provided some feedback. Months passed before something promising became available and I reached back out to him. Had my conversations with him early on been hasty or negative, I firmly believe that he wouldn’t have been interested when I came-a-calling.

Recruiting isn’t about tearing down bridges, it’s about building them.


As recruiters or a human resources professional otherwise involved in the hiring process, we touch lives. What are you doing to ensure positive candidate experiences?

Do you even realize how important your role is?  

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


  1. Julie says

    What a great reminder about just being human with the people we deal with. I have had similar positive feedback from candidates when I have offered what I considered to be courtesy.

    Glad to across your blog via ChristopherinHR’s recommendation.


  1. […] Shannon Smedstad wants us to build bridges, not burn them. In a recruiting world where speed and numbers sometimes seem to be all that we care about Shannon reminds us of a central truth: there are real human beings behind each phone call, each email, each on-line application. Are you building? See more of her ideas @ShannonSmedstad […]


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