Candidates: every company wants to source and attract the best. Any less would be a dangerous commercial compromise. So, how do you do it? What steps must you take to ensure that you engage with the top talent in your field? Simple; a powerful candidate engagement strategy. But what is a powerful candidate engagement strategy? A five point plan for getting and retaining the attention of your chosen pool of professionals, and here’s ours:
First impressions count. It takes less than a second for someone to form an initial opinion of your company (study by the Missouri University of Science and Technology) and only a further 2.6 seconds for that initial impression to be reinforced. That doesn’t give you much time, so make your first impressions count. A beautifully crafted website that doesn’t overwhelm your potential candidates is your starting point. It’s the first place that any prospective employee will visit, shortly followed by your social networks. Your website MUST be user friendly, easy to navigate, and leave visitors having had a pleasurable interaction with your online presence – consider a user’s experience when they visit you site. Ensure perfection (visually and with the message your company conveys) and make sure your first impressions count.
Let your current, happy employees speak for you. Let them tell their stories online, and publicly. Uploading short videos to your website, YouTube or Vimeo account, with contented, new team members extolling the virtues of your organisation, or, perhaps, you could provide an overview of your working environment, will pay tremendously when part of your candidate engagement strategy.
How have you helped with continuous professional development? What did you do to assist a team member through a tricky personal issue? What was your latest recruit’s experience on day one? Allowing your current team to write about their positive experiences, and publishing those experiences on your website and across your social networks, will demonstrate to potential employees that not only do you have an amazing organisation to work for, your staff are happy to tell the world just how great a place it is to work too.
No business can operate in isolation from the world, so get out there and meet people beyond your front doors. The old sales adage “people buy from people” has never lost potency and the best advocates for your organisation are the people that work within it. Networking events allow your advocates to meet with potential employees and sell your way of working. Structuring how you approach networking will have an even greater impact. An event for graduates will be a very different affair from an event for senior executives – how you prepare for each will have a significant influence on your success.
The hiring process for many companies can seem to lack humanity. Do you want to secure someone who ticks boxes, or do you want a person that will grow and develop personally, professionally and to the benefit of your organisation? Show that you are a company made up of humans and that the interview and hiring process isn’t just a box ticking exercise to secure a person’s professional abilities. Behavioural-based interviews are at the centre of many organisations’ interview processes and allow for selection on personality, not just ability. Demonstrate that their character is just as important to your company as their experience.
Candidate engagement goes beyond a mere introduction to your commercial operation. You may have their attention, but are they engrossed by your message? Most importantly, are they applying for your vacancies? The holy grail. Engagement doesn’t stop when a CV is submitted. You have their attention, now you must keep it. Hire with gusto. Show that this vacancy matters. A candidate that once desired only to work for your company can quickly be turned off by a prolonged and disjointed interview process. Do the decision makers know how urgent it is that an offer is made? Does someone with sign-off have a holiday booked during the hiring process? What are the pain points that could delay your interview process? Identify them and iron them out before you start recruiting.
If you want a successful candidate engagement strategy consider what you have to offer first. Do you have the type of company that people want to engage with? Is your message consistent? Do you have a structured employee value proposition (EVP)? By demonstrating your commitment to employee development, reward, growth and more, your EVP could be the best way to keep your team on message, happy, well-rewarded and, as a result, your company an incredibly attractive place to work. Lastly, what does your public face look like? Our five point plan is just the start of a successful candidate engagement strategy, the rest is up to you.