I probably do not have to tell you that it’s difficult to successfully hire top candidates in today’s marketplace. It’s been tough for a while now, and it doesn’t appear that this hiring environment is going to change anytime soon.
One of the reasons that it’s so difficult is because it requires an intensive effort that spans the entire length of the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process. If an organization is lax during any part of the process, then it increases the chances that it will lose the best candidates involved in that process.
This is in stark contrast to the way things were during the Great Recession and its aftermath. That’s because candidates did not have as many options in the form of employment opportunities as they do now. Since there are more options now in this recovery job market, it’s more difficult to get their attention and then keep it.
If you can’t get and keep the attention of top candidates, then you’re not going to be able to hire them. It’s a rather simple formula.
A plan to “cover all the bases”
The key to enjoying more success is to be not just strategic, but also intentional during the recruiting and hiring process. Your organization’s hiring officials should be focused and strive to “cover all the bases” concerning their interaction with candidates (especially top candidates). Consider this an investment in the future of the company. That’s because you’re investing in the future of these candidates.
Below are five iron-clad ways to keep a candidate engaged in the recruiting and hiring process:
#1—Explain the position and its responsibilities thoroughly.
This starts with the job description and should continue through the phone screening and the face-to-face interviews. First of all, the job description should be compelling. You must do more than just “sell” the position. You must sell it by framing it as being part of a larger opportunity. Then you must make sure that the candidates have a complete understanding of everything, from the job duties and responsibilities to how this opportunity will positively impact their career. If they don’t have that understanding, then they will not be engaged.
#2—Paint an accurate and compelling picture of the company culture.
This is not a good time to turn on the “spin machine.” Communicate to candidates what it is really like to work for your organization. There are obviously reasons that people enjoy working there, or there would be nobody working there. Identify those reasons and present them to candidates in a way that will allow them to mentally project themselves into the position and the organization. Visualizing themselves working for your company is an engaging act all by itself. Do NOT underestimate the importance of company culture in today’s employment marketplace.
#3—Communicate well and often.
When you don’t communicate with candidates during the hiring process, they’ll think that you don’t believe it’s worth your time. If they think you don’t believe they’re worth your time, then they won’t believe that your opportunity is worth their time. In the mind of candidates, how often and how well you communicate with them represents how important you think they are. Make sure that you’re sending the correct message in regards to your lines of communication.
#4—Respect the candidate’s time AND their confidentiality.
We’ve touched up on this subject before, namely with an article about not constantly rescheduling interviews. Some hiring managers might cringe at this statement, but top candidates’ time is every bit as valuable as your time. In fact, if you’re trying to hire said candidates, then it might possibly be that their time is more valuable. In addition, top candidates want the confidentiality of their job search guarded closely. They do NOT want their current employer to discover what they’re doing. Breaching that confidentiality does not keep them engaged in your hiring process.
#5—Handle offer negotiations fairly and honestly.
The offer and salary negotiation stage could be the most important and sensitive part of the hiring process. If you’re dealing with a top candidate, chances are good that they might receive offers from multiple companies. Since that’s the case, you should be ready, willing, and able to negotiate your initial offer. At the very least, you should be able to consider a candidate’s negotiation stance. If you act dismissive or come across with a “take it or leave it” attitude, then guess what? The candidate will probably leave it.
The role of a search consultant
Is there any guarantee that if you do all of the things outlined in the list above that a top candidate will stay engaged in the process and ultimately accept your offer? Of course not. That’s not what the phrase “iron-clad” means in the title of this article. This list represents the most important things that you can address during the hiring process. If you do these things, it means that you will have a much better handle on the process, the candidates, and the likelihood that they’re engaged.
Something else that an organization can do to further engage top talent and help ensure that the best candidates consider your opportunity is to enlist the services of a search consultant or recruiter. An experienced recruiter with a history of success (especially in your industry) can be a valuable asset to your company’s efforts to identify, recruit, and hire A-level candidates.
In this current candidates’ market, a company needs every advantage it can get in its quest to hire successfully and gain more market share. Recruiters have the ability to help their clients influence candidates and convince them to consider their clients’ employment opportunities, not just for the immediate future, but also for their career in the long term.
And there’s nothing more engaging for a top candidate than the prospect of a long, successful, and satisfying career.
We help support careers in the Animal Health Industry and Veterinary Profession in one of two ways: 1. By helping to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2. By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of organizations. If this is something you would like to explore further, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.