At this time of year, it’s often a great time for reflection (and for getting to all of those jobs you’ve not had time to do). As I started to plan out the summer reflection, I got to thinking about what I’ve learned this past 12 months. Besides working on a number of great projects, I’ve also been reminded of the experiences I’ve had throughout my career as both a job seeker and hiring manager, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
The content for this blog has been inspired by a few things; #truDubin (https://trumunity.com/), where I was asked to lead a track for recruiters attending the unconference, and my current focus on talent attraction strategies for LogicMelon clients. Normally, I would look at technology to find a solution, but for this topic I think it’s essential to focus on the human – the person behind the process.
History is often our best educator. The lessons we often hold dear are the experiences we can recall with ease because they resonate with us personally, or they’re sensational stories told to us by friends or colleagues. But, what have we actually learned from all of the good and bad examples of talent attraction strategies out there? Why are there still so many great examples of what not to do when trying to attract the best people for the job, your recruiting for?
Following some research and candid chats with my friends and peers, I’ve summarised a number of principles that I think create a framework to really stress-test your talent attraction strategy. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’d love to know what you would add, so please do get in touch and between us perhaps we can break the cycle of bad talent attraction strategies, and increase the quality of candidate experience?
1. Be clear, concise and have conviction about the job, not the person.
It sounds obvious but 9 times out of ten, hiring managers and recruiters alike fixate on the person they need to deliver amazing results or complete the team. I’m also guilty of thinking about the person first, but it rarely works out in the long term if we focus solely on the person and not on the job.
2. Be flexible, unique and unbiased (as much as possible) in your attitude of who can fill this position.
Bias is baked into everything we do and say – it’s what gives us all our uniqueness, but it is often a handicap when it comes to creating a more diverse team. Challenge yourself to seek feedback from lots of different people on your job advert copy and the job spec you’ve created. Do you use bias language without even knowing? Are you attracting responses from many different types of people? Have you really thought about how and when the job can be delivered, for example does this really need to be an office based 9 to 5 job?
3. Use the people you work with as ambassadors (the good and the bad!) to show authenticity.
We all know that peer-to-peer advocacy sells and creates lasting bonds with future employees, (who are also apparently more productive if they’ve arrived via referral). Who have you identified who can help to illustrate what the role or team are like? What access can they give to the person interested in the job, in terms of providing a virtual tour? It’s important that you use real people as ambassadors, not the stock images that you will see everywhere, (e.g. Beardy Man from #Unsplash).
4. Know your overall business value proposition, so you know where you can add value and so the new recruit knows what to expect.
By having an understanding of the bigger picture, you will pass on much more conviction to the candidates you meet. Conviction about the job and the company will translate and underpin the value proposition for both the individual seeking the job, and you as a recruiter. It’s kind of like body language – if you’re confident in terms of where your business is going, or the journey your client is on, then that knowledge inspires the person you are sitting across from.
5. Know and understand your target audience really, really well.
In marketing persona maps are a vital stage of the strategy development or plan. You can’t go to market without knowing everything about your ideal client. It’s the same for recruiting. Great Sourcer’s and Recruiter’s will conduct hours of research into the ideal candidate so that they can engage effectively. It means that when you get to the offer stage, your instincts are honed, and you can act with speed.
6. Understand the full recruitment lifecycle from start to finish, so you know what support to expect and you can deliver a great candidate experience.
If you are a hiring manager, rather than a professional Recruiter, get to know the process as much as possible. This is not so you can manage it, but more so it gives you a view of what to expect and also ensures that you’re following the same brief as all of the other stakeholders in the process. With all parties in the loop, the candidate will have a much better experience and is more likely to have a positive experience, irrespective of whether they get an offer.
7. Be honest, open and non-judgmental with yourself, the candidate and your colleagues – always remember that you don’t know what you don’t know!
It’s another obvious one, but I always try to remember what my strengths are and surround myself with people who have different strengths or skills. Another rule I think has bode well, is to always ask questions, as the answers seem to resonate and help me to learn faster. Feedback from my network suggests that this approach in all aspects of my career has generated respect and tangible results time and time again.
As I mentioned above, this isn’t exhaustive, but I do think it’s a great starting point for both hiring managers and recruiters to really consider what their talent attraction strategy is built or based on.
If you do apply these principles (and any of your own) to your next recruitment campaign, let me know how it goes and what the results are. For example, did you hire an amazing person faster? Did you fulfil the brief to a greater or lesser extent? Has it been a better experience for you and the candidate?
Clair Bush, Strategy Director LogicMelon