Recruitment: a two-way street

How can you engage top candidates? Fiona Hill explains.fh

It’s a jungle out there. We insulate ourselves in the safety of our car and battle on the roads fighting traffic, people like us trying to get ahead. We charge around the grocery store, the trolley our chariot, as we simultaneously engage on the mobile phone. We multi-task to combat a shortage of our time, doing more with less. Faster, tougher.

In the war for talent you need to be just as aggressive. When once you could lure talent to your business by publicising an advertisement suggesting this role ‘has it all’, the pickings are slimmer. Do not underestimate the importance the recruitment process has on candidates, a simple message, but one we find is still lacking. Often the candidates we seek are not active in the market and therefore those passive candidates need to be engaged even more than before. How do you keep candidates heavily engaged in the recruitment process? Sell.

This may seem obvious, but it needs to be reinforced. Gone are the days where an interview is one-sided. More often, candidates are also assessing, evaluating and interviewing the interviewer. If you, as the interviewer, are a little passive, lacking in enthusiasm, or running a one-sided interview, it may be you getting the negative feedback. Candidates want to hear what’s in it for them – research shows; people seek career advancement, the right cultural fit, flexibility, plus job security. Remuneration, while still of course a factor, is often not a key driver. When using a consultancy, they should provide insight into the candidates’ needs and wants for their career. Tailor your approach and sell your opportunity on its merits and how this works for the individual you’re meeting.

Wheel out the ‘Big Guns’: at the junior to mid-level range, where interviews are often conducted by line managers and/or HR, the impact of having a bright, up-and-coming candidate at this level meeting with senior management, including the CEO if appropriate, can hugely influence the candidate. If done in the correct manner, a quick ‘meet and greet’ will show this candidate that this company is not only serious, but portrays a cohesive, open and employee valuing philosophy. Perhaps wheel out your own hot-shot in the team and get that individual to talk through why they enjoy working there and the successes they have had. A quick game’s a good game: move quickly. I cannot emphasise this enough.

That old saying, ‘first in first served’ applies here – hot active candidates are going to be in demand and you want to beat your competition. Having a streamlined and fast process also shows you are serious, professional and decisive. As Colmar Brunton says, “the most frustrating thing for candidates in a job search process is poor communication and a drawn-out interview process”.

As the war for talent heats up, the victors will be those who follow these simple, but often underestimated points. Remember, as a consultancy we can get them to your door; however, you and your process makes the biggest impact on the candidate.