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Think Like a Job Candidate

by Acara Solutions Senior VP Chris Beckage


With unemployment maintaining its record lows, recruiting top talent has become a major topic of conversation—and the tactics for attracting top-performing employees have risen to the peak of the discussion.

Approaches such as pursuing diversity in your workforce, instituting flexible work policies and schedules, and enhancing your corporate social responsibility can all help draw more and better candidates to your company. And active, authentic employment branding will also help you gain visibility and reputability with job seekers. When candidates research your company, having a wealth of content (blog and social media posts, photo and video content, an up-to-date website, etc.) that accurately describes your culture will draw in high-potential workers.

But, attracting top-tier talent to your company is only one part of the equation. Once individuals apply, providing them with a smooth and genuine candidate experience will help ensure that they progress through recruitment and ultimately join your team. Seventy percent of job applicants lose interest in a job because of a time-consuming application process, poorly handled interview and onboarding processes. The five steps below will help you hire best fit employees from all generations.

  1. Think like a job candidate.
    It sounds simple, but if you consider how you would like to be engaged during the recruitment process, it will help determine how you should treat job candidates. Imagine how you would like to be approached, what you would want to hear about, and what questions you would want to be asked. Adopt an approach that you yourself would find accommodating. Additionally, think of the top reasons that would compel you to work for your company, and showcase them. Whether its culture, flexibility, company growth, or compensation, sell job seekers on your organization with your most compelling characteristics.
  1. Commit to 10 days or less.
    Some call today the Attention Economy, meaning that in an era of unmatched convenience and immediacy provided by the internet, people don’t like to wait around for feedback and final decisions. When you engage a candidate, commit to finishing the interview and decision process in 10 days or less. Do not conduct day-long or multiple-day interviews. Utilize group interviewing if necessary, and clearly define your interview team and areas of focus. Today, job seekers won’t wait for you to make up your mind. So, adapt to their timing preferences by having an established process to rely on.
  1. Make a reasonable offer.
    Know what a candidate’s expectations are and make an offer in line with his or her criteria. Don’t be afraid to ask a candidate to what he or she is seeking in an offer. You may be surprised that compensation isn’t always their number one priority.  But, if his or her expectations do not fit with what you’re looking for, let him or her know, and adjust as needed. If you’re going to extend an offer, make sure it meets the candidate’s requirements. This will show him/her that your company’s intentions and interests are authentic.
  1. Clearly define onboarding.
    If a candidate accepts an offer, clearly define the onboarding process, and stick to it. If you tell an employee that the first 30 days on the job will be spent training, and that he or she will receive a mentor within the first two weeks of employment, make sure those things happen. If they don’t, employees may start second guessing their decisions to come aboard.
  1. Above all, be transparent.
    Maintaining transparency is the best approach to painting an accurate picture of your company. When candidates ask you questions, answer in the most honest way you can. When new employees’ experiences match what you have described, their trust in you will grow, and they will be more likely to stay with your organization, and even become company advocates.

If you want to attract top talent, you have to engage them as if they are customers. Providing them with a great customer (candidate) experience will help move them through the process of recruitment, to interview, to offer, to onboarding.

For more news, notes, and tips from Acara Solutions, visit our resources page. And don’t forget to check us out on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.