The current hiring landscape is vastly different than it was just ten years ago. Gone is the 9-5 workday. Gone is the standardized application process. Gone is the time when employees worked for years in the same position at the same company.

Today’s employees find new jobs through social media and word of mouth – not by handing out resumes printed on expensive paper. One survey found that 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. In this modern era of job recruiting, which rules no longer apply? If you hear these statements, your recruiting team is on the wrong track.

“The Recruiting Team Will Be In Touch.”

If what you really mean to say is, “If you haven’t heard from us, you haven’t gotten the job,” then your recruitment mindset is stuck in the ’80s. Social media recruiting expert Andy Headworth bemoans the lack of respect given to today’s applicants. Consider this: one bad experience can cost you hundreds of potential candidates. If your company fails to communicate promptly and courteously with a candidate (despite the many tools out there that make automatic, personalized responses easy and convenient), you’ve left someone angry and frustrated.

Now, let’s say that person takes to social media to vent about his poor experience. According to Harvard Business Review, those negative reviews seriously injure your reputation and even increase your cost per hire by 10% or more. There’s no excuse for a lack of communication with – and consideration for – your applicants.

“If You Don’t Meet the Criteria, Don’t Apply.”

Sharlyn Lauby of the HR Bartender blog notes that during the Great Recession, companies added criteria to the knowledge, skills, and ability (KSAs) needed to apply to jobs. Now that jobs are widely available again, do recruiting teams need to lower expectations a bit? Lauby argues that the better option is to “make investments in employee training and development.”

Others, including Headworth, believe that recruiters should push back on unnecessary requirements. He works “on the premise of always recruiting for 70/75% of the skills needed.” For Headworth, cultural fit is more important. New hires can learn on the fly, but you can’t teach culture.

Whichever viewpoint you subscribe to, a recruiting team should be able to look beyond certain skills to find the potential in a new hire. Of course, there are some ‘must haves.’  Candidates shouldn’t apply to be a nurse if they don’t have a nursing degree. But many of those ‘nice to haves’ are currently used as exclusionary criteria – to the detriment of the employer.

“Follow the Interview Script.”

We get the appeal of this. After all, you can’t compare and contrast candidates’ answers if they aren’t asked the same questions. But there’s a trick to a masterful interview. HR Blog Fistful of Talent calls it the “secret weapon of candidate interviewing.” You need to listen more than you speak.

The most revealing interviews don’t come from drilling a candidate on employment history, education, and past projects. You’ll learn the most about a candidate if you have a conversation. This could take several forms, from chatbots to social media to video interviews.

Learn to use silence effectively. If you’re not saying much, your applicant will jump in. And what he or she has to say could show you much more about how that person’s brain works than a traditional interview.

So What Should You Hear?

The power dynamic in hiring is becoming more balanced. Recruiting teams can no longer simply demand that applicants “show their stuff.” In return, applicants know what they’re going to get if they choose to join up. Companies need to sell themselves.

In the past, hiring managers and candidates have had a teacher/student type of relationship. One person clearly had the upper hand (and the power to pass or fail the other person!). Today’s relationship is more like a blind date. You’re just two parties hoping there might be a spark between you. Any good relationship starts with mutual respect. The language your recruitment team uses should reflect that.