To say it’s tough, is an understatement.
But to say it’s impossible, isn’t necessarily true.
You see, top talent’s there for the picking, regardless of industry. But most organizations fail to differentiate what they offer properly. They try to be all things to all people and attract “more candidates” rather than focusing on a smaller number of the “right ones”.
But you can do things differently.
You can stand out.
Whilst your competitors are talking about ping pong tables and free office snacks that appeal to everyone (but are really just table stakes), you can focus on the things that will turn the heads of your ideal candidates.
So, what does this approach look like exactly? What is it that recruiters need to do to grab the attention of the cream of the industry crop? We happen to help recruitment teams across 49 countries (and counting), attract and hire the best talent around every day. How do we/they do it?
First up, you’ve got to change your shoes. That’s right, leave your tired, but trusty Size 6s or 10s at the door, and swap them for your candidates’ shoes.
Step 1: Find out where your candidates spend time
As obvious as it may sound, put yourself in your candidates’ shoes. You need to understand where they spend their time online, what they read, and what social media channels they use. There’s no point advertising for chefs on LinkedIn if they’re spending all their time on Facebook.
Then, once you’ve identified their favourite channels and platforms, think about how you’re going to use them to get your message in front of the right subset of the market, at the right time.
Step 2: Get the conversation started
Do you know what makes your candidates tick? What they perceive as an immediate no-no, and what’s likely to turn their head and pique their interest?
As well as thinking about where candidates spend their time, it’s important you’re also clear on their wants and needs, especially that all-important question – ‘What’s actually going to compel them to want to have a conversation with you in the first place?’ It’s a simple question, we know, but is it one (hand on heart) you can confidently answer right now?
Today’s candidates care less about a game of ping pong in their break and more about transparency, flexibility, purpose and support. (For insight on what candidates want, check out this article, ‘What candidates want is changing: It’s time to update your EVP.’)
Step 3: Pay attention to your brand
Great, you’ve got their attention! But, oh, wait a minute. It’s gone. Just like that. You’ve hustled hard to reel them in, don’t let your efforts go to waste in the blink of an eye.
While you’ve got your thinking hat on, consider how you’re going to showcase your employer brand and communicate your EVP so that it resonates with candidates and they’re incentivized to continue that all-important dialogue with you. (For inspiration on showcasing your brand read, ‘Top employer branding examples of 2020.’)
And think about how you’re going to capture that interest. Something as simple as having to create an account on your careers site before being able to apply, or an application form that doesn’t play nicely on mobile, could be causing you to hemorrhage candidates.
Step 4: Don’t fall into the spam trap
Do you like getting unsolicited spam? No, we didn’t think so. So why are you subjecting your candidates to an experience that you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of?
Take software developers, for example. Every day they get hounded with InMails on LinkedIn, all trying to compel them to move to this company or that company. They get spammed day-in-day out.
Don’t let your message, no matter how perfectly worded it may be, be the next spam message that lands in their inbox. It’s not going to do you any favours, it’s just going to p** them off. The talent pool at large may be huge, but your pool of target candidates is relatively small in comparison.
If you’re going to continue sending messages, how are you going to stand out?
Step 5: Do nail your first touchpoint
What do candidates/people generally do when they get spam? They immediately tune out of it – it gets sent straight to the trash can, unless they’ve already earmarked you for their spam filter.
That’s your one opportunity over. Boom. Gone.
Think about the size of your market and what your first all-important touchpoint is going to look like. There may be 1,000 really qualified people that you want to get in front of. Our advice would be not to send that super-generic, spammy email. It’ll only frustrate them.
But you could:
- Run targeted digital ads that:
- Highlight specific vacancies to candidates that fit your ideal profile
- Showcase your EVP to candidates, who have already visited your careers website
- Send highly personalized emails to candidates, who are already in your talent pipeline and have opted in to receive updates
- Set up an employee referral program and encourage your existing team to make referrals
How to go from perfect first touchpoint to perfect follow-up dialogue
We get that what you’re offering may not immediately set people’s world alight. You may not have the most ridiculous starting salary that knocks all of the other salary offerings out of the park. But you may be able to offer a better work-life balance, greater flexibility, a nurturing culture and perks, such as a free gym membership and duvet days.
These are the things that are going to help compel candidates to gravitate towards you. But they aren’t going to know about these positives unless they’re reflected on the likes of Glassdoor, in your Employee Value Proposition, and in your outreach messaging. So that when you do win their attention, it’s not immediately lost.
Understanding is key. Understand the person you’re trying to captivate, understand where they spend time and shape your message to make sure they have nothing, but a positive experience with you.
And if you don’t win them? You tried. And if you gave them a great experience, they’ll tell their friends, who may well turn out to be your next great hire.
That’s the approach, right? If you do that, you’ll win. If you don’t do that, you’re going to fall by the wayside like everybody else, fighting for that same individual and you’ll have wasted a whole lot of time and money doing it too.
Good luck, you’ve totally got this.