Many recruiters seem to have a sense that candidates must grovel in some way for their role and therefore demand a long list of essential skills and experience. This way of thinking will repel applications and reduce the likelihood of finding talent. Keywords are great for encouraging jobseekers to view your advert, but you want job seekers to actually apply. Listing requirements that aren’t essential will make the job seem demanding and unrealistic and will reduce the quality of the applicants who apply for the role. Remember to market yourselves to potential job seekers. Your audience is human; speak to them like they are and explain why they should WANT to work for you. Talk about what you can offer them beyond salary expectations and give them something more than other employers. Talented, skilled candidates have options – make sure yours is an attractive one.
Quality over quantity
Generating hundreds of applications is easier than ever. Keywords, aggregators and SEO methods mean that thousands of job seekers will see your adverts and send over a CV, but this is pointless if they’re not what you’re looking for. Although finding quality, suitable talent can be difficult, there are ways to make this easier. Humanise your interactions with candidates, speak to them yourself, try to understand what makes them tick and why they want to be considered. Look at industry-specific recruitment methods including niche job boards instead of generic ones. These attract candidates who specialise in your industry, saving you time and money otherwise spent rifling through non-relevant CVs. Using industry-specific jargon in your adverts provides a clearer idea of the skills, experience and knowledge you require of applicants. Remember, it’s not about how many applicants you have, it’s the quality of those applicants that is important.
Old school interview practices
A lot of companies still rely on pre-employment testing during interviews to weed out ‘less accomplished’ candidates. However, this practice is becoming outdated and a huge turn off for candidates. You’ve read their CV, seen their qualifications, checked their LinkedIn, spoken to references and met them in person, yet you STILL want them to undertake a pressurised task in an unusual environment? This information doesn’t always convey what someone is really capable of. If you don’t manage to get a sense of whether they are the right candidate or how they will fit into your company through interviews, then there are personality tests available. In reality, you should have all you need by asking the right questions. If you’re still struggling, have them do a presentation on themselves or their experience for a second stage interview. This should give you a better understanding of whether they are the right fit.
Communication – or lack of
If you have a long online or postal application that takes the candidate a few hours till fill out, sending them a rejection email – is respectful and professional. Not only does this make you look like you appreciate their time but that your company does. Keeping the lines of communication open post application is as important as attracting applicants in the first place. A slow application process can force people to lose interest or agree to another position because you haven’t bothered to call them. As a benchmark, a 48-hour turnaround after interview stage is expected. Pay them the same consideration as you expect from them.
If in doubt, ask
Feedback should be an essential part of your interview process. The key to improving is asking your applicants what they thought of the process and if they have any suggestions. And no, that doesn’t mean just asking your successful candidate. Ask everyone who attends an interview to fill out a quick, anonymous survey. If you haven’t offered the job to anyone yet, every interviewee should be keen to give detailed answers. Make sure you don’t go through all this effort for nothing and actually take the answers on board and tweak your recruitment process for future applicants.
On a positive note, finding that perfect candidate doesn’t have to ring ‘needle in haystack’. Keep it niche, focus on quality over quantity, humanise your approach and listen to candidate feedback. You’ll be on track to employing the right people to help your business grow before you know it. Good luck.
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