Re-Inventing the Hiring Process
By FOCUS Keynote Speaker, Kevin Walters
Candidate engagement is the new Achilles heel in recruiting new talent. With company career pages, employee referral programs, and third party recruiters scouring sites like LinkedIn for potential talent, the challenge today is convincing a candidate to put on the blinders and focus on what you have to offer. How do we get them to ignore other opportunities before they’re snagged by a competitor?
“Hi, I am Kevin Walters, and I work for XYZ, company, blah blah…. We are the leader in blah, blah, blah. I received your resume and it looks like you could be a good fit for blah, blah, blah…” Knock, knock is anyone home? Hello, can you hear me? Hello from the outside?
Sounds familiar? Many who are looking to acquire new talent miss the mark when it comes to engagement. So how do we engage candidates from the initial moment of contact?
Here are 3 ways to create candidate engagement:
1. Connect by showing them the "Employee Value Proposition".
Candidate engagement is about the connection. Finding a way to show potential employees why they are a fit and why your organization is the right match for their career interests. When should you present your strategy for engagement? Answer: right away. Companies need to share their EVP during the first conversation and reinforce their EVP during subsequent interactions.
What’s in it for them should they decide to become part of your team? All too often, companies think they have a successful interview process because they intimidate the applicant with psychological assessments which actually turn the applicant off. “So, John how many worms are in this jar?” or “If you were a superhero which one would you be?” My answer: Ant Man - was that a good answer, Mr. Employer? Most likely Ant Man was not on his list. . Will that jeopardize my chances of getting the job?
How exactly should you present and relay the passion of your EVP to your candidate? Pretend you are reading him/her a story. Relay the story as if you were reading to a child. Children love when you read to them with expression and excitement. For them it is all about the content and experience, not how fast you can read. They listen to every detail and follow all expressions in your voice. You should use the same concept when describing your EVP; tell it with passion and excitement.
“You know, when I started working here 10 years ago, I was shocked at the number of opportunities for advancement that existed within our company. I have seen Leasing Associates move up and become Community Managers and Community Managers who are now Regionals. I love that our company believes in rewarding excellence. Have you given any thought as to how you would like for this position could evolve for you?”
Give your candidates a reason to engage and talk to you. Tease them with just enough information so they want to speak to you.
2. Engage directly when possible.
One of the downsides of the traditional “telephone phone interview” is the lack of direct engagement.
I recently spent some time recruiting overseas in Sydney, Australia and found it to be refreshing. Candidates there understand the importance of direct engagement. When I spoke to candidates, they would ask to stop by the office or meet for coffee. How refreshing! I had even forgotten how important a face to face meeting could be. Right off the bat I was able to eliminate potential candidates based on those initial meetings.
So why are employers not meeting more candidates? Some say well I am too busy to meet face to face and they would rather narrow down the list through initial telephone interviews. WRONG ANSWER.
3. Find common ground, “Personalize.”
Avoid collecting a mass of resumes and then wasting time filtering out the unqualified ones. Start with a solid job listing that clearly details who you are looking for. Go beyond skillset and experience…what kind of person is going to be successful in this role? What kind of person is going to grow in this role and contribute to your company’s mission and values? Don’t forget to research your candidates. Check them out on social media and LinkedIn to ensure their interests align with your corporate culture - find a common thread.
Use tools like culture videos, industry recognitions, mentorship programs, corporate social responsibility initiatives, or anything that shows what employee life is like. Telling a candidate about the company and responsibilities of the role won’t cut it. Think about having another team member in a similar role reach out to the candidate for a quick chat. Make sure the candidate is the right fit in all regards before moving forward.
You own the initial candidate experience. Start off on the right foot by engaging directly, selling the EVP, showing the culture and presenting the role to your potential new hire. The key to successful candidate engagement is customizing the experience and making it about that individual.
Ever heard the saying “people buy people”? One of the greatest feelings you will receive is when your new hire tells you that YOU were the main reason she or he joined the company.
Establish those connections early, hire for fit and retain through engagement.