People leader Lisa Dean reveals how she became an empathetic recruiter [+ Exclusive tried and tested tips]

“I help candidates who are going through this confusing and stressful whirlwind called job searching. I have been there and absolutely empathize with candidates, which is why I offer coaching as well as provide free advice on LinkedIn (almost) daily.”

Lisa Dean
Director of Internal Business Operations & Recruiting
Lisa Dean experts corner


Becoming a jobseeker without obvious options is a truly bizarre place to be. In no time, one’s confidence crumbles and the stress of unpaid bills kicks in. 

Going through it myself is what really opened my eyes. I made the decision at that time that every resume I put my eyes on in the future wouldn’t be just a sheet of paper, but a life – a real person dealing with their own fears and aspirations.

That’s the moment that “Empathetic Recruiter” became my LinkedIn tagline and it is more than just a tagline for me. 

On that note, let me discuss more about it.

7 principles I swear by!

  • I will not ghost candidates. If they reach out, I will always reply.
  • I will be upfront with candidates when I do not have a well-suited position for them or a position located near them.
  • I will happily comply if a candidate needs to reschedule an appointment with me.
  • I will disclose the compensation on my first call, if not sooner.
  • I will make the interviews comfortable and conversational.
  • I will proactively keep the candidates updated on the next steps and timelines.
  • I will help candidates who are going through this whirlwind in the best ways I’m able. 

With that in mind, I now coach candidates and give out free advice on LinkedIn regularly.

3 best practices for empathetic recruiting 

Tip 1: Prioritize active listening

During interviews, let candidates speak freely and give them your full attention. 

This will provide insight into things that go beyond what’s on their resume. 

It shows candidates that you genuinely care about them as individuals and what their professional aspirations and goals are.

Learning what you can about them leads to finding the right fit for them and for the organization- which ultimately leads to the right job offer that benefits everyone involved.

Tip 2: Communicate with transparency

Clearly outline the job duties and expectations. Be sure to include any challenges that may exist. 

Full disclosure ensures that the candidate knows exactly what to expect, thus minimizing the chance of uncertainty and separation down the line. 

Ultimately, transparency creates trust between the recruiter and the candidate, making the entire recruitment process smoother.

Tip 3: Personalize your follow-ups

Candidates deserve meaningful follow-ups. 

Take some time to personalize your correspondence with each candidate. Refer back to specifics from your conversations during the interview. 

Put as much care into your messages as if you were on the other side of the table. We are not always able to get specific with our feedback, but any extra effort shows your candidates that you respect and value the time they’ve spent with you during the interview process.

9 phrases used by empathetic recruiters 

  • “I understand that interviews can be nerve-wracking. Take your time; we’re here for a conversation, not an interrogation.”
  • “It’s important that you fully understand the role. Would you like me to elaborate on any specifics about the job responsibilities or expectations?”
  • “No need to apologize for pausing. Interviews can be overwhelming. Take as much time as you need..”
  • “It’s great to hear your career aspirations. Can you share with me what your long-term goals are? “
  • “I appreciate your candidness about salary expectations. Let me discuss with the team to see what flexibility we may have.”
  • “Feedback is a valuable part of the interview process. I’ll provide as much as I can throughout this process. “
  • “Work-life balance is a priority for us, too. How do you envision your ideal work schedule fitting into the organization’s dynamics?”
  • “We’ll be making our decision by the end of next week. I will reach out to let you know, regardless of the decision. How would you prefer to hear from me, by phone, text, or email?” 
  • “Thanks for being patient during this process. While I do all I can to keep things moving forward, there are sometimes unpredictable delays. I will let you know as soon as there’s been a decision.”


Lisa Dean

Lisa Dean is a passionate executive, experienced in leading startups and transforming established organizations. With a background in C-level management, corporate training, recruiting, and executive coaching, she offers a comprehensive business perspective. Lisa excels in implementing data-driven processes that elevate experiences for employees, clients, partners, and candidates. She’s also a culture champion, contributing to overall business success.

A LinkedIn Top Voice in Leadership, Decision-Making, Recruiting, Customer Service, and Employee Engagement, Lisa has a 20,000+ strong community. She’s an industry leader who offers free advice and paid services to job seekers and executives. In all things, she understands the importance of respect, empathy, and collaboration in the workplace.


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