How to Better Engage Your Candidates: Tips from Steven Branstetter of Crawford Thomas Recruiting

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Recently, I spoke with Steven Branstetter, Director of Recruiting at Crawford Thomas Recruiting, as part of our Staffing Speaks Out conversation series. Steven shared his thoughts on engaging with candidates and what it’s like to work in the staffing industry. Read on for Steven’s insights and watch the interview below.



Katie Tierney [KT]: What do you love most about your role as Director of Recruiting at Crawford Thomas Recruiting?

Steven Branstetter [SB]: What I love most is the ability to learn. I always liked to learn new things and challenge myself. I wasn’t really big in school through college, but now in recruiting, I learned about different companies, different people’s communication styles, different business practices, different industries. I love the ability to learn something new every day and to watch other people grow.

I manage a group of eight direct reports and they all have a small team. So it’s been great helping them, and watching them step into those management roles, and helping them overcome those first hurdles of both being a manager, yet still having to produce at the same time. You have to be there to help get them through those rough waters. 



[KT]: And what do you love about the staffing industry as a whole?

[SB]: You really get to help people— and not just people with companies. I think it’s very basic to say, ‘We help people get jobs.’ But we also help companies to grow, to expand, and to stay in business. I think people need to look at it as a bigger scale. If we’re not able to help this company put three or more people on board for them, they might have to close the department. And that could cause a loss of four to five other jobs there.

So I try to look at the bigger picture and help companies grow and succeed. Staffing also makes sense. It touches everybody. Everyone needs a job at one point. I can walk up to anybody in the street, have a conversation with them, and I can probably help them now, or in the future. I like being able to be connected with that many people.




[KT]: As candidates are looking for jobs, what do you think matters most to them? And how can recruiters make a big impact?

[SB]: Being real. Communication. I think that’s the hardest part now, is that microwave mentality—you want an answer right now. And there’s an old-school recruiting style, where there’s a lot of calls, and the number one complaint I hear from candidates is “They didn’t call me back, I didn’t get an answer.”

So even if you can’t give them the answer they want or in a timely matter, it’s still really important just to connect with them. They’re still a human being. They still deserve that kind of communication there. They want to be heard. They want to be listened to. We might not always be able to give him the answer they want to, but it’s good to be there for them.




[KT]: What’s an interesting thing your company is doing to engage candidates?

[SB]: We’ve really picked up our social media. I don’t know if that’s a generation thing or not, but we really picked up on it, whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook— all those methods of communicating.

We’re following, we’re tagging, and we’re getting involved. So I think that’s a good way to stay connected and stay in their face. We watched a video of someone applying for a job online and see all the distractions they get. So we just want to be a part of that noise out there and become more brand-aware in the marketplace.


Want to watch more interviews with staffing experts? Check out our interview series with Gary Cook of Pacific Companies.

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