I love words. I am one of those people who hears a new word, looks it up and uses it three times so it becomes part of my spoken and written vocabulary. There is a name for that but i need to look up that word. :)
Words can and do sell. One does not have to be a world class journalist to write a cover letter for a resume that inspires your client to want to know more or bring that candidate in or do a phone interview. Every candidate has "a story". When i present a candidate resume via email, i tell their story. I bring them to life in writing because i learned a long time ago that most people respond to written things and learn better by reading and rereading than they do by listening. I can sell a candidate on the phone and say all the same things, and do, but i have found that when my client can read a presentation and has a "word picture" of my candidate they often respond more quickly than a fast pitch on the phone.
My feeling about this was confirmed this week when i received a note back from the SVP of a client i am working with now who is in a hiring blitz. No time for phone conversations. The note said, "Good job on the written presentations that you are sending us, my guys and i find ourselves paying more attention to what you are telling us about the candidates than we do to the resumes, keep them coming."
Recruiters seem to struggle with writing, not sure why. Many times i receive a resume from another recruiter who simply takes the job description and does a laundry list of some of the requirements puts them on the left and a few words from the candidate's resume on the right. Then will put a one liner that says, "Communication skills 7/10.
Tells me nothing about the candidate. Does the 7 out of 10 on communication mean he speaks and writes well , uses plain english to present an idea or does it mean 7 times out of ten he won't stutter? What is his personality like is he a high energy, hit the ground every three feet running or is he a laid back, soft spoken fellow with a delightful british accent. Tell your candidate's story with words that draw a picture, it works.
The other place recruiters fail to use the right words to get the right results is in ads. I just had a funny one myself. I am working with a client building a sophisticated, high energy , customer service group. The job title is Customer Service coordinator. I have never worked a specific customer service position so i flopped it on a job board ,ad title just the way the company wrote it. Sweet Jesus, save me from the thundering herd of babysitters, fast food folks, call center job hoppers and anyone who ever took a phone call anywhere. I was ready to hang garlic on my monitor and find a silver bullet. I changed the title. It now says, "Commercial Accounts Coordinator" on one ad and "Corporate Accounts Coordinator" on another. The flood of wrong level candidates stopped the minute i changed the title. The job description is exactly the same only the name was changed to protect a recruiter from being trampled to death by people who only read two words "customer service".
The same thing happened last week on another spot. A client called. they had been trying to fill a position for a trainer since November and were not getting the candidates they needed. I got the job description, the title was "Employee Instructor". Hmmm. Changed that one to "Corporate Trainer - HR". It took one hour for a candidate with a masters degree in psych and four years of training experience to respond. She was interviewed 10 days ago offer made 4 days later, started last Tuesday. I also have five or six top flight HR executives who are very placeable in the future.
The power of words both good and bad is an awesome thing.