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Candidate Attraction and the Art of Positive Candidate Experience

According to the latest stats 50% of organizations still cite 'filling key positions' as the biggest challenge they face.

Ironically this was the biggest challenge they faced before the internet made the world a better place and, amongst other things, 'streamlined' the hiring process.

Added on 04.04.2014

The internet opened up new ways to attract talent. First came job boards, then came applicant tracking systems (ATS) attached to websites. Currently a high number of my clients now have dedicated LinkedIn pages and Twitter feeds for recruitment, and according to most of them they worked for a good while but now they are less effective than before... why?

Because the internet has also opened up many more options for 'Candidates of Choice'.

For those candidates, the ones you really need, competition is fierce, especially as every competitive organisation is now working (well) with the same tools, and are sending out very similar messages. However, endless jobs tweets just doesn't cut it anymore and they certainly don't make interesting reading - especially when that's the only message tweeted.

Candidate Attraction Rule 1: Make your External Persona (Social Media) More Engaging

If you are different (for whatever reason) make it known. Create as much transparency as possible. Have a whole section of your website dedicated to employee attraction and retention, from videos of heads of department (and lesser mortals) talking about day to day life, to having real examples of personal achievements, or highlighting career progression and training andpersonal development opportunities.

If you have a new business win, announce it, and not just to the business world. Make the benefits of this new win clear to your employees and potential employees, make sure the trickle down effect is felt by all. Whether it's staff celebratory drinks or a day at the races, everyone wants to be part of the winning team. 

Candidate Attraction Rule 2: Positive Candidate Experience

One of the biggest disappointments you can have as a recruiter working on a hot role with a great agency is calling candidate A and hearing them say, "No thanks, I sent my CV into them 9 months ago and heard nothing back" then calling candidate B and hearing "No thanks, I had an interview with them but they took ages to come back to me so I took another job" then calling candidate C who isn't such a good fit, only to find they also had a bad experience.

To attract 'candidates of choice' you must be an 'employer of choice' - and positive candidate experience is the key, even if you create a new role to do this. One of my clients recently created the role of 'Chief Happiness Person' to manage the candidate experience.

To attract the best talent you have to examine every step of the hiring process and try to remove as much latency as possible. Heads of departments and your recruitment team need to be aware (and communicate this to their external recruiters) how urgent their need is and make time to manage the process in a way that is a positive experience for all parties - including us recruiters! 

Candidate Attraction Rule 3: Well-written Job Descriptions

I read of lot of job descriptions in my line of work, and many of them shock me with how little thought has gone into them from the candidate's perspective. They are just a list of duties and expectations. I collect examples if anyone wants to see them. 'No meat, all bone', as one of my colleagues would say.

There is little or no mention of the clients they would work with, the benefits of the job, the perceived challenges, career opportunities; no mention of how success is rewarded; no description of the culture... essentially, no reason to work there. Candidates are people, and they want to know what it's like to work there - warts and all.

Ultimately I believe the key to candidate attraction is still the human touch, but it has to be consistent and predictable, much like the technology we use to facilitate it.

If you would like to hear more about building winning talent acquisition strategies and hire the right people first time get in touch with Justyne @ PR Futures 0203 303 0476