Years ago, there was an influx of potential employees everywhere and businesses held the power when it came to recruiting. They could hire who they wanted, when they wanted, and it wasn’t difficult to find good talent, because there was talent everywhere.
But now, the roles have been reversed, and candidates have the upper hand. Candidates are searching for companies that have similar values, who give back to charitable causes and who will offer them a position that aligns with their life goals. So today, it’s as much up to the candidate to decide if they want to work with your company, as it is for you to decide to hire them.
As a hiring manager, the best thing you can do is present the job opportunity and your company with your best foot forward so the candidate can then decide if this opportunity is right for them. It’s your job to make the decision a no-brainer. So how do you do this?
Keep Their Attention
I’ll start by sharing one of the most common mistakes that businesses today make. I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve worked with that post job advertisements asking candidates to first upload their resume, only to then ask a series of questions that request the exact same information — simply in a different format, when the answers can already be found on their resume.
I can tell you firsthand that candidates don’t go for this, and especially not today’s candidates. They’ll quickly realize the duplicated effort required by retyping the same information, and either a) submit incomplete applications or b) not apply at all. If they do manage to complete your application process, their first impression of your company is likely that you’re inefficient and redundant.
In today’s digital age, people have short attention spans so you need to capitalize on whatever amount of time you’re given. With the current speed and ease of communication these days, candidates expect the hiring process to happen quickly — almost 58% expect to hear from companies within one week or less regarding their initial application (Greenhouse). And let’s keep in mind that the application process is just one piece of the longer candidate experience. If you choose to ignore this fact, it can (and will) greatly impact how people view your company. Don’t waste your candidates’ time and create the wrong impression from day 1.
Create Space & Set Expectations
One way to avoid wasting your candidates’, or your company’s, time is by implementing a proactive hiring process. For example, if you’re posting a job advertisement next week, block off time in your schedule for reviewing resumes, emailing candidates and setting up interviews. This way, your candidates are a priority and you don’t have to fit them into an already busy schedule.
Then when you start communicating with your candidates, set proper expectations so they know when they’ll hear from you and what will happen next. This is a great way for them to see what working with you will be like — a company that prioritizes its people, instead of squeezing them in whenever you have a spare second.
If it takes you 2, 3, even 4 weeks to review a candidate’s resume, it’s very likely they will have found another job and you may have missed out on a prime candidate. So don’t let your calendar and availability get in the way of finding and retaining good talent. This goes for the boss and the entire hiring team — if you don’t have time to review or meet with candidates, don’t put the advertisement out.
Respect Their Time
By following a proactive hiring process, you not only protect your schedule but you respect your candidate’s time. I’ll never forget when I went for a 1-hour interview and returned home 5 hours later to a very confused wife on my whereabouts… The company did not set proper expectations beforehand, and they gave me a glimpse into what working with them might be like — not in a good way.
So it’s important to think about how your concept of time reflects on your company. For example, how long does it take you to respond to a job application? Then book an interview? And finally, offer the position? Timeliness is critical in so many professional aspects, so make sure your candidate feels like they are a priority.
Think about it like this: The hook is in the water and fish are coming to the bait — this is no time to walk away from the rod. If your candidate looks good on paper, don’t wait. You will lose good people if you don’t act fast. So if you’re impressed, tell them; if they interviewed well, share that with them; if you want to hire them, don’t wait for another company to scoop them up.
Help Them Visualize
Part of the candidate experience is simply giving your prospect the opportunity to visualize themselves in the role. Help them see what it would be like in real time to ensure they a) can do it, b) want to do it, and c) can start to envision what it will be like. For example, if they’re applying for a night shift, interview them at night to see what they’re like — are they alert, coherent, on time? As they walk through the facility, can they see themselves working there? What is the facility like at night?
This transparency helps make the experience real for your candidate so they can truly get a sense of what it will be like working there prior to accepting the position. This is when you let your guard down so the candidate can start to see the real you and the true company. Allowing candidates to see what’s behind the curtain creates an instant relationship, which will reduce turnover, and allows them to see before they agree.
Gain Their Trust
By opening up to your candidate prior to them accepting the position, you will help them feel like a valued member of the team. This experience will not only bond you and the candidate, but the candidate to the business as they start to see behind-the-scenes and how this relationship can mutually benefit you both.
So to increase this trust before the interview process, I encourage companies to ensure they are easily accessible and findable online. The first thing candidates of today do is see how much they can find out about your company on the internet. Do you have a robust social media presence where they can learn about your company, your people and the meaningful work you’re doing? Can they find out if you’re involved in your community and if you are giving back — and if you do, how so? What about which causes you support that they can identify with too? Always be thinking of how you can gain their trust before they even walk in the door.
Make It All About Them
When you think of a normal job posting online, it’s often all about what the employer needs — must be here 40 hours per week, have a particular degree, possess this specific skill set? By positioning your job this way, you’re telling the candidate that it’s all about what you want, and not about what they want. So it’s important to keep in mind how you talk about the job before they even apply.
Instead, I recommend using language that inspires opportunity, instead of demanding a list of skills (that may be unrealistic). You can still include information about your company because you know they’ll need this too, but by controlling the narrative, you have the chance to create an exciting opportunity for someone to stumble upon. For example, your job advertisement could read something like this:
Are you looking to connect with committed people, work with cutting-edge technology and make decisions independently? This job allows you to have full control over your responsibilities while challenging you at the same time. If this sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you.
See how this shift in language makes it about what they want, and not what you need? By meeting their needs first, your job posting will be inviting and you may hear from candidates who never would have applied to the long list of requirements because there was one out of 20 that they didn’t meet.
The reality is that what you think people are saying about your candidate experience vs. how people are actually experiencing it, are often two different things. What are people saying about it? How are you gauging the experience? What are you doing with the feedback you receive? There is generally a disconnect between reality and perception, so it’s important to accurately measure this.
Not only can I help you build out your recruitment process, but optimize, streamline and curate your company’s story to attract top-tier talent — from day 1. Contact me to get started today.