I belong to a few recruiter groups within Facebook. Inevitably, at least once a month, someone posts about a candidate NastyGram, crowdsourcing responses. The crowdsourcing probably happens because the recruiter wants a) validation that they’re not a bad person and b) creative ideas on response (even if they never act on them).
We know from different stats out there, like these from StackOverflow, that most candidates prefer email as a form of contact. Sending out emails won’t end; getting nasty responses won’t either.
That NastyGram? It’s not about you, the recruiter. It’s about the candidate. You can be juvenile and respond with the same vitriol and classless language, or you can rise above. Easy for me to say, right? Yes it is. I get at least a couple of these NastyGrams a month when we’re in peak recruiting mode and I’ve had to talk to our team about them, because let’s face it, many recruiters take it personally. My admins definitely take it personally and we’ve really had to come together on how we will respond.
First, take a deep breath. Say “ohm.” Do what you must do to process from a positive space. If the email is really infuriating, don’t respond immediately. Take a breath, step away, and within 24 hours, respond. Your messenger may be irate because you emailed them at work. Apologize; let them know it won’t happen again. (And gosh darn it, remove their email from your system or note why they’re “do not contact.”)
Second, realize the customer is always right. Yes, this candidate you reached out to is a customer. And for whatever reason, they’re upset. Your job is to make it right. Even if it is only to say you will not contact them again.
Third, respond. Whether nasty or nice, you need to acknowledge receipt. You can craft a template and tweak to lend authenticity and kindness to your response, realizing everyone brings different issues to the table.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.