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5 Ways to Communicate Empathy to Candidates During a Pandemic

5 Ways to Have Empathy With Candidates During a Pandemic

As a recruiter, it’s crucial to be efficient with your workflow and candidate engagement.

Making sure your outreach is personalized and engaging while staying relevant can be hard on its own, and the current pandemic doesn’t make it easier. It has been over three months since we have been in quarantine, and the uncertainty of what is to come is still an underlying emotion we all feel.

With that, we want to provide you with some tools and techniques that we found helpful in communicating with candidates with empathy and mindfulness. Below are five ways to be more empathetic with candidates, as well as an email template that can guide you in the right direction.


First things first: acknowledge that we are all going through this together. Something powerful about the current pandemic is that we, as humans, are going through this on a global scale. This commonality with your candidate allows you to start your email off with empathy.

It will also make you more approachable and human. This is important because your candidate is coming in contact with many recruiters as they start their job hunt, and having the ability to build a virtual human connection early on will allow your company to stand out among the rest.


Second, do research on where your candidate is living during this time. Are they currently working in a major city? Or are they working remote at home? This can help you tailor your message and have empathy to their change in routine.

If they have already been working from home, then you can hold off on making comments about “adjusting your lifestyle.” However, if they were working downtown and no longer commuting into an office, you can mention the change of pace they must be experiencing.

It’s also a good opportunity to introduce what your company is currently doing for their employees. If you’re no longer in your office, you can mention your own story with your company and how they have supported you during the pandemic - subtle recruitment marketing!

Change your language

Sometimes being forward can work in your favor. However, everyone handles uncertainty differently. Put the ball in their court and let them decide if they have time to talk.

Instead of a hard ask, switch up your language. Use words like “Let me know if you have free time to discuss this week” rather than “Can we connect for 30 minutes on Thursday?” This is a gentler approach that eliminates the pressure to commit to a schedule when they already have a lot of personal uncertainty to deal with. Then, if you do find a time to connect, you can follow-up with a quick message right before the call to remind them. Making language more flexible and empathetic will make all the difference.

Be understanding

This may be a no-brainer, but we all need a refresher, especially since we’ve been in quarantine for a while now. If the candidate takes a bit longer to respond, or has dogs barking in the background during a call, don’t hold it against them. This routine is still new for everyone.

Try and remind yourself that you don’t know their story and what they have been through since this pandemic started. Treat every candidate as you would want to be treated, and try to give them the proper amount of time to get back to you while still keeping your business objectives in mind. There is a difference between being pushy and being a push-over!

Give more time to follow-up

No one is in a rush right now, and if you are, the world is telling you to slow down. Give your candidates more time to respond and allow them to take extra time to make decisions. As mentioned earlier, do keep your company KPIs in mind as this is important. You are responsible for finding the right candidates in a timely manner while making them feel comfortable without an overwhelming amount of pressure. However, don’t forget to continue to use empathy in your follow-up messaging as well.

Take what you’ve learned about the candidate during your phone screen and use that as an email starter. See below for email examples. Hopefully they inspire your continued outreach!

Intro Email:

“Hi Emily,

I hope you are doing well under the circumstances we are all undergoing. Sending my best wishes to you and your loved ones!

I noticed that you’re currently working in Brooklyn. I hope the change of pace from commuting to the office to working from home has been easy for you. I did a similar transition as well with Beamery, we are working from home with some extra perks that I’d love to share with you.

First, I’m hoping to connect with you because I noticed your background and thought you’d be a great fit for our Account Executive position. This is a full-time role with Beamery that would be remote with full-access to a WeWork of your choice. If you’re interested in exploring this opportunity, let me know. I’d love to chat with you about your experience and what you’re looking for in your next career move. Again, happy to work around your schedule so let me know what works best.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Stay safe, Adam”

Follow-up after phone screen:

“Hi Emily,

It was great chatting with you this afternoon, I hope you were able to take your new pup for a walk. Sounds like it was a great decision to adopt at this time, we love dogs at Beamery!

After speaking with you this morning, I’d like to move you forward to next steps. Are you able to speak with the hiring manager for this position next week? If so, let me know when you’re free and we can set aside some time on the calendar.

Thank you! Adam”