We only get one chance to make a first impression in life and business. People, including job seekers, are constantly bombarded with information; and we only have 5-6 seconds to capture their attention before they move onto something else.
Here are six proven strategies for capturing the candidate’s attention span so we can attract more of the right people at the start of your recruitment process, and then convert them into new starts who stick around and grow with your company.
Strategy #01: Focus Your Company Website to Potential Candidates
When we're hiring, we should be looking at job seekers like customers. Often we direct them to our company website, but there's no information that's relevant to a potential employee - it's all focussed towards customers or potential clients. We should have a Careers Page (or section) that promotes the working environment and the benefits of working with your company rather than just the process.
Words tell, stories sell...
The managing directors within the global sales organisation I work alongside all have multiple success stories they utilise to paint a real-world picture for their potential employees. Instead of using generic industry jargon and an elaborate company history, tell stories of the actual people that have succeeded in your office or organisation.
Stock photos, wordy mission statements and a cliche wording worked a decade ago, but today’s candidate wants to belong to something bigger than themselves. Try using hero images, photo galleries, bios, and testimonials, which will all help the candidate "feel" as though they already belong. This will indirectly sell the candidate experience and help build up enough excitement and curiosity to get them in for an interview!
Paint a picture of what it’s like to work within your industry so that candidates are eager to come in, learn more, and fit in.
Strategy #02: Write Job Adverts for Job Seekers
When reviewing or writing job adverts, take a step back and think like a job seeker. Whether we want to admit it or not, nobody cares about us - they care about themselves! So, adopt the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) mentality and make sure we promote the benefits to our candidates from the start.
To inspire yourself with what to write in the advert, ask yourself questions like:
- What attracted me to work in this industry?
- What gets me and my team fired up and excited to come in every day?
- What are the not-financial perks of working in my business or industry?
For the best response, adverts should be structured in the same way as the 5 Steps to a Conversation, impulsive and candidate-focused. Break up paragraphs with bulletpoints, bold headings, and italicised points.
Remember more than half of today’s active job seekers are searching on mobiles, so we want to say more with fewer words.
Lastly, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so let’s take advantage of customised banners, templates and videos to stand out from the competition and “wow” the candidates. It’s also a good idea to regularly look at how the competition advertise in your market. Not to copy what they’re doing, but to see what they’re not doing!
Strategy #03: Sell Using Social Media
Did you know that 74% of millennials found their last job via social media?! At a recent meeting with CareerBuilder, we reviewed job seeker stats, and my team and I were surprised to learn how important social media has become in attracting the right candidates.
If we’re not advertising our roles and promoting our business through social media, we’re missing the boat! This is especially true when it comes to LinkedIn... There’s a good chance candidates are checking out the company, and employee's profiles before even applying for a role with the company.
A successful social media strategy starts with a content calendar. A clear guideline of when we're posting articles, images, and videos, and why we're posting them. This helps us to plan ahead and to have a purpose with every post. It also ensures we’re posting consistently and keeping our posts relevant to our audience.
Posting relevant content is only half the battle. For the best results, it’s important to encourage engagement from our followers. Try asking an opinionated question or getting your team members to share your company’s posts on their own
Strategy #04: Humanise Your Emails & Texts
Applicant Tracing Systems are pretty common place for companies that hire more than a couple of people per annum. These digital platforms makes the recruitment process more efficient by organising candidate data, sending automatic emails and texts, scheduling appointments, and more.
However, we have to be careful that we don’t rely so much on technology that we lose the personal touch. Any auto-outbound emails or texts that are being send to candidates should sound like the person in the signature. It's easy to copy/paste an email template and forget about it, but it's not effective for creating engagement with candidates. Take time to write your outbound emails as if you were emailing a single person, not creating a template. Once they’re complete, try printing them and reading them out loud to several people to make sure they sound natural.
Remember to structure your emails and texts to they aren't bombarding the candidate with unnecessary information. I recommend using the 5 steps to a conversation, impulse factors and to follow the KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) principle so we maintain their attention span. And don’t forget to use a Call to Action - tell the candidate what to do and when to do it or you can't expect a good response rate!
Strategy #05: Use Phone Calls to Connect on a Personal Level
It's so easy to communicate via text, but it's not always effective. If you're looking to attract sharp candidates, you'll need to speak with them over the phone, via video chat, and/or in person in order to make a genuine connection. The easiest way to make a connection with a candidate over the phone is to repeat their name throughout the call. This will make them feel at ease and more likely to open up.
It’s also important that it’s always a two-sided conversation, not a “pitch”. The person on the other end of the phone is a person, not just a number towards a target. We should have received a CV from them or been able to check out their LinkedIn profile, which gives us a summary of their work experience and education- this is the perfect road map for creating two-way conversation. Find relevant or fun questions to ask that get the candidate engaged and involved in the conversation rather than giving a yes/no answer. This will also help make the candidate feel valued and appreciated.
Understanding the opportunity or position you're offering is hugely important to a successful phone conversation too. Look at all the opportunities the candidate has within your industry, what they can learn, and how working with you will take their career to the next level. Then you’ll find that speaking to candidates is a piece of cake because you know you can help them on their road to success!
Strategy #06: Upgrade Your Working Environment
We’ve impressed a candidate through our online presence and an enthusiastic phone call, so they show up to the office- Hooray! Don't be complacent- You haven't won them over yet. The working environment is an important piece of the recruitment pie.
Time to put ourselves in their shoes... Imagine yourself as a candidate:
- How easy is it to find your office or interview location?
- What do they see as they approach and enter the building?
- How are they greeted and treated? Do they look comfortable or uneasy?
- Does the image of the office marry up with the impression they would have gathered thus far?
Candidates are interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing them, and they’re probably paying attention to all the little things that may go unnoticed to us. Make sure you have engaging conversations or relevant reading material to entertain the candidate as they wait. Press Releases, Business Magazines, Television/ Videos about your business can all have a positive influence the candidate’s decision making.
It’s also good practice to make a personal connection with each candidate while they’re in the lobby. If we’re engaging them in conversation over the phone, it should be easy to pick up the conversation with them when they arrive. Little things like this can go a long way towards how a candidate feels, and those feelings can lead to them starting with your company.
Building an amazing team is what will enable you to take your business to the next level. Don't let yourself lose the perfect candidate because you haven't given them the best possible experience.
Remember the following six strategies:
- Make sure their first "touch" with your company shows the candidate exactly what they can expect from you and your team
- Focus your job adverts on WIIFM (What's in it for me?) and show the candidate everything that they're going to get from the experience of working with you
- Build your personal brand on social media by posting value-driven content that helps the candidate understand your business
- Ensure that any automated communication with the candidates sounds and feels human
- Use the initial phone call to build a personal connection and ask them about the things they're passionate about
- Upgrade your work environment so that when the candidate comes in for an interview they get that "Wow" factor
In this article, I've shared just six proven strategies that have helped my clients double and triple their revenue through the right hire. If you'd like to find better team members, grow your business, and change people's lives, send me a message to see how we can work together.
What's your best strategy for Wow-ing your candidates?
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