#HRTechChat with Kim Slowik: The Power of Building Meaningful Relationships: Why Recruiters Are Irreplaceable

In today’s fast-paced world of technology and automation, it’s easy to assume that human interaction is becoming less relevant. However, when it comes to building meaningful relationships and effective hiring, technology will never fully replace the role of a recruiter.

Kim Slowik, a seasoned talent acquisition professional, emphasizes the importance of genuine connections in her conversation with Jennifer Dole on the HR Tech Chat podcast. While technology offers valuable tools for filtering and finding candidates, it’s the human interaction that truly makes a difference.

When recruiters take the time to engage with candidates on a personal level, asking meaningful questions and actively listening, they gain insights that go beyond a resume. By understanding a candidate’s aspirations, values, and career goals, recruiters can identify the perfect fit for both the candidate and the company.

Building relationships also extends to the hiring managers. Recruiters who invest in understanding the unique requirements and dynamics of a team can find candidates who not only possess the necessary skills but also align with the team’s culture and goals. It’s about creating a cohesive unit, just like building a sports team.

While technology provides tools like applicant tracking systems and LinkedIn Recruiter, which aid in the recruitment process, it cannot replace the nuanced understanding that comes from personal conversations. Technology may filter candidates on paper, but it often fails to capture the intangible qualities that make a candidate an ideal fit.

Technology has undoubtedly sped up the recruitment process, but it is the personal touch that fosters lasting relationships. Recruiters who go the extra mile, provide feedback, and genuinely care about candidates build a reputation that garners trust and loyalty. It’s not just about filling a position; it’s about nurturing long-term careers.

Technology may enhance efficiency and widen reach, but it will never replace the essence of human connection. Recruiters like Kim Slowik understand that building meaningful relationships with candidates and hiring managers is the key to successful recruitment. By combining technological tools with genuine empathy and insightful conversations, recruiters can truly find the perfect fit for both candidates and companies.

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Jennifer Dole 00:00
Welcome to #HRTechChat Podcast. I’m your host Jennifer dole, get ready for an insightful conversation and cutting edge discussion at the intersection of HR and technology. Today we’re going to dive into building meaningful relationships in the workplace, wherever that may be. And my guest is Kim Slowik, talent acquisition powerhouse with a proven track record in building successful careers. She’s worked for industry leaders like PTC and Johnson & Johnson, State Street Global Advisors, Oxford Health Plans, VMware her expertise spans across all areas of business. But honestly, it’s her genuine connection with people her ability to forge lifelong relationships and her unwavering commitment to individuals and companies. That truly sets her apart. Welcome, Kim.

Kim Slowik 01:03
Thank you so much. Thanks for having me, too. I’m so excited to talk to you. It’s been, you know, it’s been a while we worked together 20 years ago. And it’s only recently I mean, we’ve always kept in touch and you know, sent that Christmas card and things like that. But, but it was just recently that that you I posted on social media on LinkedIn, about how my position had been eliminated at VMware. And, and you reached out to me, so I was so excited. We just had a conversation, you were telling me about your podcast, and it was like, This is amazing. And you know, decided to get together and have a conversation.

Jennifer Dole 01:55
And I’ve always admired in you your ability to build relationships with people and weave their life into your life and really help people find meaningful careers that’s really aligned to what they want to do. And the cool thing is that you’re not doing that with technology, you’re really focused on the relationship. And I think that’s one of the challenges that we have today is, is we’ve got all this technology that that does work for us. But we can’t let go of that human connection. And you’re so good at that, Kim.

Kim Slowik 02:33
Oh, thank you. Yeah, I really believe I love technology, I think it’s great at it, it definitely, you know, we have so many tools out there, especially for recruiting where we can, you know, get in there and, and filter and find the, you know, exact experience that we’re looking for, and, you know, filter all that down and find like the perfect candidate on paper, but that’s the thing, it’s on paper, it’s like you it will never go away. I feel like that human interaction where you need to, you know, speak with the candidate, and you need to find out, you know, what’s most important to them? What are they looking for in their career, and that’s kind of like, what I do what I remember the most, it’s like, you have that conversation, you talk to them, you find out, you really listen, you remember, and you, you know, keep in touch and you just build that relationship, whether they’re hired at that point, or in the future, I remember them.

Jennifer Dole 03:44
I mean, that’s it right there, you know, you know, recruiters are hiring to fill a particular job. But you really get in and say like, what is your career? And what are your aspirations and having that long term perspective? Makes a difference, doesn’t it?

Kim Slowik 04:06
Yeah, definitely. I mean, for the candidate, and also for the company, think about it, if you are hiring, you know, for a particular role. And, you know, what that candidates aspirations are, I mean, that company has that person who do have internal mobility, you know, you have your perfect candidate right there. So, so, yeah, and then also, I mean, you know, the candidates, they, they feel heard, I mean, you’re listening to them, you know, and you have that connection, and you’re building that relationship. And, I mean, honestly, I get so many referrals. You know, I’ve had people that you know, if you do the whole secret as you do your job well, and then you know, once you once you do your job, and people see that, you know, know what you’re talking about, and you know everything about the position, and you can explain that to them. And they, you know, if they don’t get the job, then then I provide them feedback on why they didn’t get the job and what they need to do to get it next time. I’ve had candidates say, oh, you know, what, the guy that I work with, has those skills and refer them to me and leave that in the job. You know what I mean? So it’s all about caring about people really, and, and relationships.

Jennifer Dole 05:31
Yeah, and we’ve talked a little bit about the candidate relationship, but relationships also extend the hiring manager, right, it’s getting to know them and what they’re looking for. And their style.

Kim Slowik 05:43
Yeah, everyone has different styles. And, and it’s really just kind of, like I said, first off, it’s like, you know, you have to be good at your job, you have to do your job. People want to know, you know, when I first speak with the hiring manager, I say, you know, I tell them what I do, what my goal is how I’m going to help them. And then basically, it’s like, it’s real simple to me, it’s like, here’s my job, do my job. And make sure that I you know, communicate clear, concise communication, because as you know, with hiring managers, I have to do my job, but I, there’s things that I rely on them. And we’re also it’s like, we need to tell them, they want to hear what, what do you need for me, and you need to say that, you know, you need to get that information to them quickly. So that it’s not two weeks, and they’re like, why haven’t you fill this job, I’m like, Oh, I’m waiting on, you know, like, tell them right away, be direct, be kind, direct. And then, you know, it’s all about being able to work together and form that relationship. And then what happens is, they know that you’re gonna, you know, you’re honest, you’re a direct, you have communication skills, you, you know, you can get the job done, and then you build off of your reputation. And they know, you know, that you’re, and there’s no, you know, there’s no, avoid a lot of unnecessary issues.

Jennifer Dole 07:08
Yeah. These things that you’re describing, it just doesn’t seem like, technology replaces that.

Kim Slowik 07:17
Yeah. I mean, technology is, it’s great. I mean, we’re, but see the technology, there’s, there’s so much more like, people with AI and chat GPT. And it’s like, am I looking at your resume? Or did you just have this type job, you know, what I mean? Like, like, so that’s where it’s like, you need to talk to the candidates, you need to, like I said, they might look like the perfect fit on paper. But then when you speak with them, you’re like, Oh, you don’t, so many times, it’s like, Oh, you just, you know, gone through training on this tool, but you really don’t know it. And that’s, you know, or their positions where, even in technology, it’s like, maybe you’re talking to the Support Manager, and you don’t have to be into the nitty gritty, you don’t have to know all the, the technology and be completely up to date on it. But you need to have other skills. I mean, those are things that you can’t always just type in to pull up and filter that have soft skills. I mean, I mean, so, right. So it’s like, and you have to have be the fit for the for that that’s really where, like, here’s the company, here’s the team, here’s who they have on the team, what, you know, where are their strengths, weaknesses? What do you need? What do you need? Who’s the perfect who’s the ideal candidate for that for that role, and that really is a matter of the hiring managers thinking of people on the team getting a feel for, you know, talk, being a human talking to them, and just saying, hey, you know, what do you have going on here? And, and, you know, this person is going on parental leave, or this person, you know, like, what are we looking? Where’s the gap that we need to build to have that perfect team?

Jennifer Dole 09:04
Right? So I mean, what you just said about, like, the team experience as well, it’s, it’s hiring for that team. Like if we were hiring for a sports team, right, recruiting for a sports team, we’d be looking for offense and defense and players with skills but also players that fit into this team. And like this coach, and it’s no different in work.

Kim Slowik 09:31
Exactly. So it really is, it’s see that’s the thing is like personality, like you’re, you know, by get by asking certain questions. You’re listening for what they say, but you’re also listening for what they don’t say, if that makes sense. And so knowing your audience and what exactly you’re looking for that’s where the skill comes, you know? Yeah, identify that.

Jennifer Dole 10:08
So what types of technologies have you used in your in your process?

Kim Slowik 10:15
Well, the, the, you know, the applicant tracking system, you can filter, a lot of people apply, you can filter through their skill set, right? I use LinkedIn recruiter, not only to you to post jobs, and candidates will reach out to me, but I use that I really like the idea of, you know, being a brand ambassador for your company, it’s like you are, what I do is I use LinkedIn to, you know, to post, really to promote the company and to promote the benefits, and the type of, you know, values that the company stands for, to find the candidates that are the right fit that that to get them interested, you know, so it’s not just about, you know, posting a position and waiting for candidates to apply, like, I go out there and see those passive candidates, that would be the perfect fit. So, you know, there’s also using LinkedIn recruiter to, you know, obviously, to go in and to find candidates and filter candidates and all of that. But you can do technology, I mean, it’s so different. Now. It’s like, you can, you can set up campaigns, like they have been Murray, where you can set up, you know, marketing campaigns, and you can keep in touch with candidates and keep them warm, as they say, you know, seek out you know, there’s, there’s, there’s so many different types of ways to go in and to find candidates now. But it’s funny, because I really, I really, you know, being into the, the candidates that I’ve already placed, you know, I asked for referrals. And, and there’s all companies always have, you know, employee referral bonuses. So it’s like, it’s a win for everyone. And, I mean, so many different ways of finding candidates, but in general, like, I would say, the searching for passive candidates using LinkedIn is, is usually where, what is my go to?

Jennifer Dole 12:39
Yeah. Now, I mean, we’ve already disclosed, we’ve been doing this for a while. Yeah. And even before some of this technology was available to us, how hard or easy was it for you to adopt the technology into your work processes?

Kim Slowik 13:03
Will, I mean, here’s the thing with technology, everything is faster, and wider reach, you know, I love writing. So I mean, creative writing is like one of my hobbies. So that’s, something that, you know, it’s, it’s easy for me to kind of connect people through, you know, just emails and things like that. So that’s what happens. Now. It’s like you text people, you can get an immediate response, email, they respond, whereas it used to be, you know, falling people. And then it’s like, you missed their call, and then they miss your call. And then they see a number. They don’t know what the number is, and all of that. Now, it’s just pretty much like, Hi, I’m Kim, this is what I’m doing. Here’s, here’s what I want to talk about. Do you have any interests? And then but it’s a little bit like What’s hard is, I think, you know, from their the candidates point of view, you’re always like, tell me everything, and then I’ll let you know if I think it’s important. But you can’t, it’s a sales job, too. So you can’t give away everything. Otherwise, they’re not going to call you back, you know, anything. So it’s kind of a little bit like that. But yeah, I mean, also, it’s like, it’s so fast, too, because it’s like you, you email someone, they email you right back, they’re interested, here’s my Calendly book an appointment with me, they booked an appointment, you talk to them after that. It’s like, okay, you know what, you’d be a good fit. And then you send them along and they go through the process, everything moves quicker. And then you move through, I tell them like, I’m your person, you talk to me. I’ll let you know what’s going on. And then you have to of course, do your job follow up if they’re I say that, if you’re you may not be you know, you everything happens in your building, so they might not be the person that gets the job. Come back to me. I’ll tell you why I didn’t get you know what I mean, you could be better And then we go from there. And that really helps because people appreciate that.

Jennifer Dole 15:05
Yeah. I mean, what I heard you just describe was, the technology speeds you to that conversation, right? You’ve got a broader reach a faster approach. But it still brings you to that human conversation where you need to have those meaningful, develop those meaningful relationships. What do candidates think about technology and recruiting?

Kim Slowik 15:30
I feel like they, I mean, we disclose this already. So I’ve been doing this for a long time, like, people used to call me, you know, you form that relationship with them, that formed a relationship with all my candidates, so people feel comfortable with you when they trust you. So they would call all day like, Hey, did I know you haven’t probably heard yet, but you know, can you let me know? I’m like, yeah, absolutely. I’ll let you know. I think that takes up a lot of your day, you know. So now, I think that it’s a little bit easier, because people will email me or text me and say, like, have you heard anything? And I can get right back to them? And say, No, you’ll be the first person to know when I do hear you don’t I mean, I can, I can get right back to them. So people just want to be heard they want to be they want to know something? And so I tell them, even if there’s not anything to tell them, I tell them? I don’t know yet. You know what I mean? Like, that’s why you’re not hearing.

Jennifer Dole 16:31
I mean, looking for a new job and, and having the interviews is very disruptive to a person. Yeah. And, you know, it is top of mind for them and their family? Both. Yeah. And, you know, as a recruiter, it’s, you know, top of mind for you to, but not always.

Kim Slowik 16:56
Yeah, I mean, with that, it’s like, I just for my whole career, what I, what I try and do and try and be really good at was just empathy and like putting myself in that other person’s shoes. I mean, that’s really all it is, you know, most people are just, people are so similar. And most people are just trying to get by, you know what I mean? Like, they just, they just need a little kindness. And, and I feel like, that’s what, that’s what works.

Jennifer Dole 17:24
I love that you brought empathy into this conversation, I talk a lot about it. And I talk a lot about balancing efficiency, that technology brings us with empathy, and still having that kind of human element to everything. Because if you’ve got if you prioritize efficiency over empathy, people burn out, yeah, we’ll, you know, quit the race. And if you put empathy over efficiency, then your company might be struggling, but it’s really about both of those things. And technology can come in and help augment what we’re doing. We still need people.

Kim Slowik 18:09
Yeah. And I think that’s what people know that you know what I mean, but it’s just finding the right balance. Like, people love technology. It’s great. But it’s just like, when you like, with kids, when you’re like, don’t be on social media all day. That’s not really what goes on. And it’s like, even now, it’s like, and it’s also figuring out, you know, what works, what doesn’t work, and everyone’s just trying to figure it out, you know?

Jennifer Dole 18:34
Yeah. And with the speed of technology these days, you know, no one’s got it all figured out. Because you blink your eyes and it changes.

Kim Slowik 18:43
Exactly. I was gonna say, once you think you’re like, Oh, this is so good. Then you’re like, oh, it changed. You gotta learn a new system. We’re not doing this anymore. Our process changed. You know, so it’s, that’s just the way it is. So I think like, you know, being able to just roll with it all the time. And just honestly, keeping a sense of humor. It’s like, so, we changed again. Okay, now this person is reaching out to me on LinkedIn. All right, you know, what’s my phone’s ringing, you know, so it’s just, it’s just like crazy.

Jennifer Dole 19:15
And if you think about, like, the speed of change, 20 years ago, we were like, Whoa. You’re just like, oh, yeah, it’s just gonna change more.

Kim Slowik 19:25
Yeah, yeah. You just have to get used to the team’s. Like, the whole thing. What it all boils down to is just caring about people to be good at your job rolling with it. And then just like, you know, building rapport with people is, is everything because I mean, that’s how I get my job done. Like, ask people when you don’t know how to do something, you know, talk to people remember things about them like oh, she’s gonna she’s gonna pick got for me because she gets in early, or you know what I mean, just like those little human things that you, that’s how you find out just having a relationship. You know, that’s how it all comes together.

Jennifer Dole 20:11
So I think we can summarize this conversation in complete alignment, that technology is not going to replace people. Technology is needed for that efficiency, that that speed, that broad reach, but it’s been meaningful relationships, that’s like the icing on the cake, that empathy. And that’s what attracts candidates to organizations that what it’s what makes recruiters like you so incredible, because you have these meaningful relationships within your workplace within the candidate pool. And within a lifetime, right, it’s really about just keeping people connected and, and helping them you know, meet their goals and, and move closer to their dreams.

Kim Slowik 21:08
I know it is. I mean, think about it. It’s so great. I feel so fortunate to be able to, you know, have an impact on people’s lives like this is their careers. So I mean, it’s just, it’s just something that I love to do. And I think I mean, I’m glad it’s not going away. It’s glad the meaningful relationships are not going away. I really do. I completely agree that technology is great. And it serves this person purpose. But I think that, like you said, you need the human touch.

Jennifer Dole 21:46
Yeah. Well, Ken, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been a wonderful conversation. I think this is a different perspective than we usually offer which is all about technology. But this is really the balance. So thank you.

Kim Slowik 22:04
I really enjoyed it.

Jennifer Dole 22:05
All right. Take care. Thank you!

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