I’m sure you all saw the February job report! 313,000 positions were added this month alone, and unemployment remains at a seventeen year low! It is truly a candidate-driven market and that means we all have to do more to attract top talent. Candidates have more choices these days and we’re all hearing ‘thanks but no thanks!’ more often from them than we’re used to. What I hear the most is that ‘candidate experience’ is everything! Candidates are evaluating everything in the hiring process and it starts from their first connection with your company.
Here are few thoughts on how to put your best foot forward and engage extraordinary talent:
- Candidates are your customers, so treat them that way! Build relationships with candidates that feel personal and positive. Remember, people work for people so don’t discount how important a simple ‘getting-to-know-each-other’ step is. Candidates want to feel that you care about them as a person so make sure all the hiring managers on your team respect this and their time. It used to be OK if hiring managers kept candidates waiting – not so much anymore! Be on time for calls and meetings, and always reply to emails promptly.
- Keep it simple! I can’t tell you how many companies have exhaustive application and interview processes. I get it: we want to screen out those who aren’t really interested and it’s important to see candidates make an investment in the process. But keeping the candidate experience first in thought is what’s most important right now.
- Consider re-evaluating the use of assessments, or, at the very least, find one that won’t require hours to complete. Passive candidates have very little time, especially compared to an active candidate, so if you must use assessments, do so at the mid to late stages of the process.
- Focusing on shared core values and culture early in the process is just as important as evaluating qualifications. Because it’s one of the highest priorities for your candidate, it needs to be yours too.
- Make the role desirable. This one is a no-brainer it would seem, but we’re attracting rising stars, right? Know what the growth opportunities are and be sure to sell them.
- Paint a picture of what it’s like to work for you. Your company’s website is the first impression a candidate has of what it’s like in your world, so investing in this digital experience is key. Creating a positive impression and giving insight to your culture is the way to go. One company I’ve noticed doing a great job of this is accessory brand Brighton. Their career site is devoted to sharing what it means to work at Brighton – an excellent video walks you through their story, company culture, and core values. They’ve even installed a “chatbot” to answer questions potential candidates may have. It’s a great example!
- All-day final interview experiences are another place you can improve upon. Designating a lead ‘host’ is a good way to help your top candidate feel taken care of. Remember what if felt like when you went through that long, crazy day of interviewing with five people back-to-back? It’s exhausting and nerve racking. A ‘host’ can be there to escort your top choice from interview to interview, making sure they have water, need a bathroom stop and simply breaking up the interviews with a personal touch. This will go a long way in making them feel they are your top priority. If you can, designate the hiring manager as your host and it can set the tone for a great working relationship.
- After the interview, be personal and give feedback. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Pick up the phone and stop writing emails. You and the candidate have invested a lot in this process. Finish it with the same personal touch you started with.
If you’d like help evaluating your hiring process, let me know! I’ll be happy to walk through it with you and share more insights on what’s worked best for our clients.
Thanks for reading,
“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer