With the recruitment marketplace now as active as ever, competition amongst employers for the best talent is fierce. Job seekers are also becoming more discerning in their career moves, so employers in a crowded marketplace need to communicate effectively why their organisations are great places to work and why people should join them. Below are just a few tips and suggestions from the team at Resources Group which have been compiled from the candidate feedback of thousands of interviews in recent years. We hope these are useful to employers and hiring managers.
I. What really makes you different?
Be clear and genuine about what makes you different from other companies, and tell people in your advertising, social media and recruitment campaigns! Just saying that you are a ‘dynamic business’ or a ‘leading firm’ won’t be enough. Try to take yourself outside the business and think “what is truly different and good about us?”, and be honest. Have a good look at what your competitors are saying about themselves and when writing about your company, try avoid the over-used adjectives, such as being ‘inspiring’, ‘innovative’, ‘creative’ – this may be true, but other companies are probably saying the same, so it is unlikely to stand out. Perhaps the best source of inspiration and feedback for creating a compelling account of what sets your firm apart and why people should join you above all others is to ask your recent hires why they joined. What were the key selling points they saw in your firm? Why did the job appeal? Who else did they see when they were interviewing and how did they compare to you? How do they find working with you?
I. Have an efficient recruitment process
Fact: delays are the single biggest reason why employers fail to recruit the person they want. Those employers with the most successful track record of recruiting the best talent have the most efficient recruitment processes. Arrange interviews promptly. Try to be flexible with times and offer early mornings or evenings if possible, at least for first interviews. Give quick feedback to your recruitment consultant. If an interviewer or line manager can’t make an interview, try to find someone else to do the interview rather than just postponing. Simple stuff, but highly effective!
II. Effective and engaging job advertisements
There are countless articles and opinions on what constitutes a good recruitment advertisement and how best to write them. In our experience the most important thing to remember about ad writing is to emphasise, and keep emphasising, what’s good about the job and/or company, and why people should be interested in it. So often we see ads just listing the details of the job as a checklist of ‘you must haves’ or ‘your tasks will include’. Sure, we all know that one has to ‘work to tight deadlines’, for example, but has anyone ever seen that in an advert and thought “That’s for me!”? Probably not. To write a good recruitment ad, simply ask yourself “What is the best feature about the role or business?” and write it down. Then “What is the second best feature?”, and so on. Try to list around half a dozen positive attributes, and: ‘voila’ - the key points are all there and the rest should write itself.
III. Fresh and active social media
As many employers these days look at social media to form an impression of applicants, so do applicants to gain an impression of the employer (if not more so). It’s not enough to have just a nice website, so, first things first, make your social media content relevant and fresh. Most employers are doing it, but the key to making social media a successful recruitment tool is to keep the content interesting and engaging, and update it regularly. Creating LinkedIn groups is also a great way to grow a ‘fan base’. Keep the announcements and postings varied and post anything, from who’s visited what client, to appointments and promotions (especially promotions which tell people about progression in the business), who’s travelling where, new client wins (confidentialities permitting), photos of the latest company social event, any articles & awards and, of course, vacancies in your company. See Resources Group’s LinkedIn profile and groups for examples.
IV. Use the interview to sell your business
- First impressions count. Is your reception area tidy and comfortable? Is the literature on display current? Better still, are your company brochures and any articles or awards on display? An offer of refreshment on the interviewee’s arrival is always appreciated and if the interview is delayed (which can be unavoidable), offer a quick apology.
- Keep it positive. The ‘prove to us you are worthy’ approach to interviewing is old-fashioned and is a turn-off for most interviewees. Applicants have plenty of choice out there and people want to join businesses where they feel they will be appreciated. Try to keep the interview up-beat and friendly throughout.
- Tell people what’s good about your firm. Have a quick introduction in mind to run through at the start and cover succinctly the key selling points of the business and/or role. Try also to involve other team members in the interview process, especially those colleagues who are at the level you are interviewing. This will allow the interviewee the opportunity to gain a better feel for the business and its culture, and to hear good things from their contemporaries!
- A positive ending. Allow plenty of time for questions at the end which will allow you to cover any other key selling points. Always close the interview amicably, regardless of whether the interviewee has been successful or not. People want to feel their application has been taken seriously and their time has been well-invested, whatever the outcome. If people have not been successful at the interview, inform them or the recruitment consultant as soon as possible. Word of mouth is a major influencer in the recruitment marketplace and if people have not been successful at interview, they are more likely to say positive things about your business (and to other potential hires) if they feel the recruitment process was reasonable and courteous.
V. Listen to feedback,
Not always easy and it can sometimes ‘grate’ on the ego, but try to get feedback from those applicants you have offered who have turned you down. If you are using a recruitment consultant, they should be able to help here (at least the good ones should!). Frank feedback and constructive criticism is seldom easy to hear, but it might be revealing and provide you with valuable insight which you can use to adapt your approach in the future.