Recruiting and the Love Language

blogRecruiting and the Love Language

Recruiting and the Love Language

by Megan Berlinger, Partner

Successful recruitment is driven by alignment and courting. Alignment between an organization and the candidate’s culture is paramount and required while courting talent helps to set an opportunity apart. As part of the candidate experience, there are some universal concepts that make individuals feel important and valued. The 5 Love Languages® by Gary Chapman, can serve as a guide for a recruiter or manager to understand candidates and what they are looking for in the hiring process and in a new role. 

What are the five love languages?

For those of you who have not been exposed to the concept of five love languages, essentially, we all have our primary “language” that leads us to feel cared for the most. Oftentimes, we try to show care for others in this fashion. To truly demonstrate this, it begins with understanding their language and then showing them care in that way. The five languages include quality time, acts of service, words of encouragement, physical touch, and gifts. 

According to research, the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Meaning, it is safe to say that someone’s job makes a significant impact on their quality of life. Embracing the psychology of love languages throughout the recruiting process and into the workplace can be essential in finding the right talent for an organization. 

How does this pertain to successful recruiting?

In our business of finding the most qualified leaders, we seek to determine the candidate’s primary love language of feeling seen, heard, valued, and secure before ever meeting them in person. 

As an organization prepares to meet future employees, it is important to understand how you can provide such expressions of love language in the hiring process and in the workplace. Establishing an atmosphere of comfort where a candidate can feel cared for during the “courting” process is vital, but also consider these points as part of this process.

  •  Ask Them: Similar to asking someone if they have any dietary restrictions, one option is to ask them how they like to feel appreciated. Then, act upon it. Tailoring a conversation to the candidate demonstrates you heard them and are acting upon what they shared. 
  • Talk to Them: Another suggestion is to ask less directly. Some people thrive on interaction and sharing their experiences. As a recruiter, we often have these off-topic chats with the candidate before presenting to the client. We take these opportunities of informal conversation to ask about their weekend or how they like to spend their free time is a tangible expression of your regard. These casual conversations help to understand them more and allow them to become more at ease as they feel you care about them as a person. 
  • Pay Attention During the Visit:  During the onsite interview, watch how the candidate responds to situations and people, giving you an inside glimpse into how they show value to others. You can apply this knowledge as individuals who value others will favor supportive teams, management, and even workload.  
  • Apply the Love Language: Hardwire the process of love language into your recruitment.  
    • Quality Time: Build time into the interview agenda for the candidate to have conversations with key leaders. By doing so, you are showing individuals your organization values quality time as part of the culture.   
    • Words of Affirmation: Explain to the individual why they are a top candidate in the search process and specifically why they are seen as a fit with the organization. Reaching out post-visit and sharing feedback shows the candidate that communication and feedback are prioritized. 
    • Gifts: Organizations can show their gratitude to the candidate with a simple gift basket or item with the organization’s name waiting in their room or shipped to their home. Consider the whole family if the candidate is married or has children. 
    • Physical Touch: A handshake or fist bump can help candidates feel connected. Candidates may have an affinity for organizations that have a team-based approach where handshakes and fist-bumps are common. Additionally, they may also see this positive interaction as employers who are empathetic to one another’s circumstances and needs.
    • Acts of Service: Consider the small details when a candidate comes for an interview. Picking them up at the airport or carrying/storing an individual’s luggage will make their day a bit easier. Showing your support during the interview phase can speak volumes to those who value support. 
    • Food: While food can fall under multiple love languages, this area is key to recruitment. Managing the itinerary to provide time for breaks and lunch could be viewed as an act of service. Providing a nice meal to the candidate can be a gift and time spent in a relaxed environment can be quality time. Make sure to ask the candidate about their dietary restrictions and provide water/snacks throughout the day.

Small gestures can go a long way in a candidate feeling cared for during the recruitment. As you are courting your candidates, the more they feel cared for will drive their level of comfort, which correlates to your team being able to best assess their alignment with your organization. Expressions of love language will go a long way with candidates when they are authentic, making it vital to build a meaningful relationship with them from the start.