Getting the Best Candidates Interested

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January 2019

Written by Adam Richardson (adam.richardson@arresourcing.com), Managing Director and Owner of AR Resourcing. Adam has 19 years’ experience recruiting professional and technical disciplines across the built environment industries.

Roles that are essentially identical often get very different response rates depending on the company advertising them. Typically this is down to three factors: 

1)  the package: there is plenty you can do beyond salary to make your role stand out;

2)   communication: how and where you market the role matters; and 

3)   the “employer value proposition”: some employers are better at creating a brand people want to work for.

So how do you maximise your chances of attracting the best candidates in the short and longer-term?

MAKE YOUR ROLE MORE ATTRACTIVE

A little thought and flexibility will go a long way to making your role stand out. Candidates need a reason both to leave their current role and to join you rather than one of the other companies vying for their capabilities. With salaries broadly aligned it is generally the trimmings that will differentiate one role from another:

  • Opportunities for career progression: the ability to grow and progress helps candidates envisage the prospective employer as somewhere they could stay long term and invest in emotionally.
  • Role compatibility with lifestyle: work-life balance and travel commitments can have a significant impact on a candidate’s willingness to consider a role let alone accept an offer. Flexible hours and the ability to work from home or to work short weeks can dramatically improve response rates.
  • Likelihood of success: roles that offer a realistic chance of achieving targets that will trigger bonuses and career progression interest candidates. Good candidates shy away from roles that suggest an employer has set unrealistic targets which will likely open the individual up to unreasonable performance-related pressure.
  • Stature: while in the short term you may be able to do little about your company’s reputation as a leader in its field, the greater the status of the team and the role itself within the organisation the more attractive it will be to candidates. Innovation and influence are two factors to focus on in the job description.

SELL YOUR JOB TO PROSPECTIVE CANDIDATES

Scoping a role that will compete effectively for the calibre of candidate that you are looking to attract is only the first step in attracting more and better candidates. Consider:

  • Language: the words you use to describe the role and the company matter. Messages need to be concise and easy to digest while the language you use should be dynamic and positive. 
  • Prioritising messages: consider which messages will best engage your candidates and prioritise these when writing the job description and briefing candidates verbally. Don’t forget to include application processes and deadlines. 
  • How to keep your talent pool large: be clear what skills and experience are essential as opposed to which ones are simply desirable. The more skills you list, the more candidates you rule out. Skills and experience can be developed whereas cultural fit is always hard to teach.
  • Diversity and inclusion: proactively use language that encourages a diverse range of candidates to apply, avoid language that candidates could interpret as favouring certain applicant groups.

BECOME AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE

Most industries have a handful of companies that a majority of candidates mention when asked to list their dream employers. These organisations nurture their “employer brand” to develop a reputation that connects with prospective employees. Some focus on innovation, others become known for social values, others as good pay-ers, some for promoting internally, others for investing in staff development… there is an endless range of options.

What the best companies all have in common is a well thought out and attractive employee value proposition (EVP) – this is a set of values that they offer employees and use to attract and retain staff. 

They ensure their EVP is clearly defined and then continuously and consistently communicate it to existing and potential employees across various channels. It is a process that takes a significant investment in terms of both time and money but long term it is a strategy that pays itself back. 

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