If you think the volume of job hunters navigating the employment market makes it a ‘buyers’ market’ for businesses that are recruiting, you need to think again.
Weighty skills shortages exist in many sectors. These skills gaps make it imperative for businesses to attract and retain great talent by managing candidates expectations.
It’s never been as vital as it right now to ensure you’re attracting the best talent around. And that they aren’t losing interest in your business during the recruitment process because things don’t move along as quickly and efficiently as they should.
The lines between who’s buying and who’s selling are blurred in recruitment. This is due to the increased understanding and recognition that candidates are stakeholders in any business they apply to work for, e.g. they have some sort of investment and interest in what you do - a stake in your business.
Just like your other stakeholder groups – your clients, colleagues, investors, senior management and suppliers – your candidates need something from you. And you need something from them, too.
They have the potential to cross-pollinate in to other stakeholder groups. They also have the potential to become your competitors. Therefore, forget at your peril that you need to upsell your business to them, besides them upselling their talents to you during the recruitment process.
In this article we’re going to run through 10 noteworthy guidelines to get you thinking about exceeding candidate expectations across the recruitment process. Furthermore, acting on them will help you keep your personnel in great shape, not just in the immediacy when new vacancies arise, but for years to come.
1) Ensure job descriptions are clear
You should avoid vagueness in your job ads at all costs. Failing to do so can result in wasted time for candidates who wouldn’t have applied if you’d provided a complete picture. A lack of clarity and/or transparency doesn’t come across well. It doesn’t make you look like you’re on the ball. And it can make you seem underhanded.
When you’re putting job descriptions together think about the absolutely non-negotiable information that needs to be included, plus further deeper information that really upsells your business and the role:-
- Work experience.
- Duties and responsibilities.
- Salary scale.
- Personal requisites.
- Staff benefits or perks.
- Training, development and progression.
2) Leverage your employer branding
With the interest of potential candidates piqued, you can take things to the next level by giving them a snapshot of what your business stands for and what it’s like to actually work there.
Your careers site is just the place to reel talent in by showcasing the very best of your business to them, for example:
- Visions and values.
- Behind the scenes clips.
- Interviews with members of senior management and also team members across all levels.
- Charitable causes and the difference your business makes to the world.
3) Upsell your staff benefits and incentives
Team members have a far greater awareness nowadays that they are the best assets of the business and they expect the be treated as such. Therefore, candidates are looking for so much more than a monthly pay check for a 9-5 daily grind.
With this is in mind, consider providing information that goes above and beyond the specifics of the job at hand, such as:
- Bonus schemes.
- Reward and recognition programmes.
- Subsidised food and drinks.
- On-site gym facilities or external paid memberships.
- Private healthcare.
- Flexible working.
- Workplace wellbeing and mental health ambassadors.
4) Make the application process quick and easy
It can be so off-putting for candidates to spot a vacancy that gets them really excited. Then to discover that the application process is too over-complicated to bother with. So, make sure you don’t scare talent away with the equivalent of an application assault course. Even the keenest of candidates are likely to drop out if they’re obliged to register, sign up or create an account to apply.
Bear in mind that intrepid candidates are probably investing their spare time and considerable effort in to crafting what they hope will be winning applications. An application process that’s simple, straightforward, not too long and accessible across multiple devices will not only attract more candidates. It will attract more of the right types of candidates.
Killer questions, situational judgments tests, (SJTs) and literacy questions are great tools for filtering out any dead wood at the onset. Click here to take a look at our screening questions article.
5) Offer candidate assistance
Have you ever seen job ads that make you wonder who on earth applies because they’re so unreadable and full of jargon? Job ads of this nature are surefire applicant deterrents.
Even if there’s lots of sector specific terminology used in your business, spare a thought for graduate applicants or applicants from other sectors. They might be exactly the fresh talent you’re looking for. But they’re going to look away if you fail to provide them with guidance through the jargon.
6) Minimise time to hire
It’s important to clarify the recruitment process with your candidates and to ensure this is defined from the onset to avoid any confusion or uncertainty.
In ‘6 Recruiting Trends That Will Shape 2021’ Gregory Lewis reminds recruiters that “when the top candidates are only on the market for 10 days, yet the average time to hire is between 14-30 days, you don’t have long to snare those sought-after candidates.”
A slow lumbering recruitment process that starts then stops then starts then stops again hardly gives the impression of a slick operation to your candidates. Like Lewis highlights, the best talent isn’t going to wait around forever for you to catch up. If you’re not on your toes you run the risk of losing them to competitor businesses. And you also risk incurring public displays of their dissatisfaction on Glassdoor and social media platforms.
7) Engage your candidates across every touchpoint
The Lewis article referenced above goes on to demonstrate the real-time difference that good candidate engagement makes to time to hire. “The Dollar Shave Club has said that by implementing a candidate-centric approach and increasing candidate engagement, they have reduced their time to fill by 47%. For AccentCare, their reduction in time to fill equated to 5 days off their average time to fill.”
However, engagement is as much about your employer branding as a whole, not just time to hire. It takes time and effort to apply for jobs. The least you can do is to keep candidates updated with clear information about the process and timelines in a punctual and respectful manner.
8) Make sure your interviews run like clockwork
Interviews potentially change lives. But they can be nerve wracking for shortlisted candidates to prepare for and attend, either in-person or more recently by video screening. Since the first lockdown in March 2020 Vacancy Filler experienced an enormous client uptake of 500% for video screening as recruitment went remote. You can refer to our video screening advice here.
An automated self-service platform enabling your shortlisted candidates to book, re-schedule and cancel is the ultimate solution for arranging interviews. Once interviews are booked you should share comprehensive details about exactly what candidates can expect, giving due consideration to the fact that a % of them may be experiencing a remote interview for the first time.
9) Don’t ghost rejected candidates
You don’t want to risk being named and shamed on LinkedIn by a disgruntled candidate who feels you’ve treated them with a lack of respect. It’s manners and it’s empathetic to acknowledge the time and effort candidates have put in to applying for your job vacancy. In a highly volatile job market like it is right now, show rejected candidates that you have manners and you’re empathetic to their situation by thanking them for applying and wishing them the best of luck.
Don’t ghost. It’s that simple. In the case of candidates who are shortlisted for first and second round interviews, provide them with a fuller explanation about why they were ultimately unsuccessful this time.
10) Onboard your new hires seamlessly
The recruiter’s job isn’t done when the successful candidate accepts your job offer. You’re just moving in to a different phase of the process. Onboarding has never been so important in the absence of physical workplaces for new starters to attend, with much of the country continuing to work from home for the short to mid-term future.
Working out notice or being on garden leave can be doubly uneasy for new hires under current lockdown restrictions. You can totally exceed their expectations as a great employer by showing them you care and understand their unusual position. Stay in reassuringly regular contact with them to –
- Share your Company Handbook and any other reading materials they can look at before officially joining you.
- Complete their new starter HR and payroll information.
- Give them access to the calendar of their first weeks, including their training schedule and meetings they’re invited to attend.
- Introduce them to their future colleagues on your staff intranet or a conference call.
So now you’ve got a real sense of the recruitment standards you need to live up to in order to impress candidates, hire the best ones, and hopefully retain them for many happy and successful years.
Ask yourself how closely your current recruitment process matches the ideal.
If your honest answer is ‘not much’ is it because you’ve not thought about the seriousness of meeting and exceeding candidate expectations till now?
And if your answer is ‘not much because we can’t’ then we really need to talk. We need to talk about a premium Applicant Tracking System that can make a world of difference to your recruitment team, your business, and your candidates. After all, the future prosperity of your business and its good reputation as an employer is in their hands.
At Vacancy Filler your recruitment is our business. We supply market leading Applicant Tracking System software to UK businesses of many different sizes and sectors. We’d love to offer you a free demonstration of how our next generation recruitment software can help you deliver the perfect candidate journey, saving you time and money to boot.