• Rick Girard

Why Clear Communication is Essential in Hiring Processes

Updated: Jun 25, 2018

Hiring processes are currently in a weird place. Recruiters and hiring managers have so many tools at our disposable, and yet clear communication breaks down at several crucial steps in the process. In my post today, we’ll discuss where the most common communication failures occur and solutions available to enhance communication and candidate experience.

So many tools, so little time

Where do we begin? A large part of any recruiter’s day is sourcing: finding the right talent and making the first contact. But tell me honestly, how much does any hiring manager know about the actual conversation taking place between the recruiter and talent? How long is that conversation, does it have time to get to the truth? What is being said and is any part of the conversation misinterpreted or miscommunicated? And if you’ve found a great candidate, how quickly and clearly does the recruiter represent that person's potential to the hiring manager? As it stands, a real gap in information flow exists between each channel of communication.

The tools recruiters use today, while often wonderful, often contribute to the loss of human communication in the hiring process. Technology has evolved at miraculous rates in the last two years, let alone the last few decades. While new software streamlines and automates certain parts of the process, there are still important conversations that play a crucial role in the hiring puzzle. When unemployment rates are low, candidates are in control of the hiring process -- their experience matters, and you must be mindful of it.

The three communication channels

In hiring, there are three main points of contact: the recruiter, the candidate, and the hiring manager. Each pairing goes through particular conversations, where miscommunicated thoughts can wreak havoc on each subsequent stage in the process.

At the very start, the recruiter and hiring manager conversation must do a deep dive into the role itself. Why this role, what is the specific need of your company, why hire someone externally versus internally. These conversations are full of rich insight but full of room for potential error or mishearing. Also, the job description could trend towards a wishlist rather than what the job or role entails. Time needs to be devoted to this conversation, to determine need and all specifics that go into the role.

The biggest disconnect between the hiring manager and the recruiter is inside feedback loops. If I present three candidates to a person, many times I’ll hear “not who we’re looking for” or “not strong enough” and frankly, this tells me very little upon which to improve. If a recruiter spends 40 minutes in a conversation with a candidate and feels he or she is strong enough to present, there must be a reason. If the hiring manager rejects the candidate, there must be a reason. Good dialogue between the two parties must clarify motivations, aptitude and above all be rooted in trust. Find the breakdown in that communication and make reparations - it’ll save hours and thousands in the long run.

The best tools you can choose aid in fixing redundancy, reducing friction and maximizing the timing of every step in the process. Nick Livingston, CEO of Honeit Software, is a big believer in eliminating the “Skills” portion of a job description. This sneaky requirement makes people depend more on what skills an individual brings to the table as opposed to how that person’s accomplishments will translate into the role. If you’re not Google or Microsoft, you must do due diligence to seek out high performers, and particularly, the ones that resonate with the problem your company is trying to solve.

It starts with recruiting

Recruiters represent your front line of communication with every potential addition to your team. If they’re involved with the initial conversation with candidates and are representing you to these people, do you know exactly what’s being said? Is this recruiter good at pitching your company, are they prepared to answer questions the candidate has? Are they themselves asking the right questions and identifying the best talent for next steps? Why is one recruiter turning up more candidates than another? It’s important, as the hiring manager, to have a clear idea of the realities in this process to allow you to refine and hone tactics at each level.

Recruiters also serve as the main point of contact for every potential candidate. From an individual’s perspective, the recruiter is responsible for keeping communication clear and representing the candidate’s potential to the best of his or her ability. Recruiters send off a great 40-minute conversation to a hiring manager for feedback...and then days pass without feedback. Not only are recruiters continuing work without a clearer understanding of their search, this one candidate is now in limbo until that hiring manager can provide clarity. It’s easy for this gray area to get sucked into a black hole of stagnation. Recruiters need to create a great candidate.

Finally, a good recruiter knows the correct questions to ask. Anyone can read off a resume and ask about the three years of QA automation an engineer has out of college. But it's up to a good recruiter to read between the lines of the answers. Did that candidate address the technical questions with correct language, what is there to glean from a story that has nothing to do with engineering? A good recruiter reads between the lines to find the truth, and that involves intentional, multi-layered questions from the start. A great recruiter will work with the hiring manager from day one to figure out what questions will separate the good from the great. These knock out questions will save a recruiter 40 minutes of interview time per candidate.

Listen to the full Podcast version to learn more:


Nick Livingston is CEO of Honeit Software. He has been scaling recruiting teams and companies in San Francisco and New York City for 15 years. Nick started his career as a technology headhunter in NYC. After a successful IPO at TubeMogul (now Adobe) while attending business school at UC Berkeley, he co-founded Honeit Software to rethink interview communication and simplify the hiring process. At MTV, Nick was the Recruiting Director responsible for digital media and interactive technology talent. Nick worked at HR Technology companies Taleo and NextSource. He received his MBA from Berkeley, with BS in Applied Mathematics.


Rick Girard is the Founder & CEO of Stride Search, an Engaged search firm. He has launched a crusade to disrupt recruiting by elevating the value that your talent acquisition partner brings to your organization. Rick raises the bar with a clearly defined methodology and process that is implemented to gain a massive competitive advantage for his clients.

While not running a School for Gifted Mutants as Professor X, Rick hosts the Hire Power Radio Show, a weekly series on OC Talk Radio which serves as an entrepreneur’s resource to solve the most difficult hiring challenges. When not on the air, Rick regularly teaches talent teams a more effective approach to landing talent and writes valuable content for Hiring Managers and Job Seekers alike.

Rick competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has an affinity for any adrenaline-pumping activity. Favorite activities include surfing, rock climbing, and running with scissors. Most weekends are invested in some sort of adventure. Usually exploring new beaches and hiking trails with his Wife and Daughter.