First Impressions: How Does Your Company Look to Candidates?

As with Online Dating, Your Company’s First Impression is Everything!

f you’ve ever tried online dating, you won’t be surprised to learn it’s all about the first impression. At that initial meet-up at the coffee shop or on a Zoom chat, you have to be on-point because you likely won’t get a second chance. It’s the same for companies looking to hire top talent. Even with the Covid-19 crisis, the job market today is competitive and it’s likely the candidate is speaking with four or five other companies.

Does Your Online Presence Give the Right Impression?

So you have to make a connection quickly. How do you do that? It starts long before the interview process. Your organization must be seen as a place people want to work. Are there things in your job posting that really help people understand what you’re providing to your customers in terms of products and services? How old is that job description? Your pool of applicants might be small because a competitor has a “compelling” job posting. It’s not sexy because it’s all glitz and glamour. It’s compelling because it’s appealing to somebody who wants to do that type of work with a progressive and successful organization.

What are the behaviors you truly value? If you say you love innovative, involved employees at every level and the candidate just wants “a job” and to be left alone, making those values clear will stop you from wasting everyone’s time.

Putting a consistent, systematic hiring process in place is a must. You need to have a standardized approach for every interview and every touchpoint. Candidates will talk to each other and if their stories are different it’s potential fuel for people to say you have “issues” in your company. Do you have managers who say, “Oh I don’t need a standardized process – I just sit back, meet the person and we have a conversation.” That personal approach might be okay if you’re a small business owner hiring three people and that’s all you have. However, as you get to scale, that can be perceived as preferential treatment – and you can get burned.

Cost/Benefit and The Candidate Experience

Do you remember the last time you were a candidate for a job? How did it feel? Were you frustrated? Did the process drag on without the prospective employer giving you regular updates? If you didn’t get the job, do you still have a positive impression of the company?

 The answers to all of these questions are dependent on what we call “the candidate experience.” As we talked about last month in our blogs, your recruiting process is a direct reflection of your employer brand. Prospective employees today know a great deal about your company long before they come in for a face-to-face interview. Combine that knowledge with how applicants are treated during the employment process, and it can have a lasting positive – or negative – impact on your ability to hire and retain top talent.

Before a job is even posted, it’ important to determine exactly what is needed in a new hire. Set up clear expectations and a communication process so candidates remain interested and engaged. Studies show the biggest letdown for most candidates is a lack of communication.

 Once you’ve brought the candidate in the door you have to work to keep them there. Make sure you have a program of professional development in place to ensure your company’s culture helps the new hire grow and continues to feel challenged. The cost of a new hire walking out the door unhappy is enormous.

 In talent acquisition, perhaps the most crucial step you can take is developing a positive candidate experience. Not only will the applicants you hire feel even more welcomed by your organization, but also the candidates you don’t hire will still respect you. As a result, they will be more likely to refer other job seekers who may be a great fit for your organizations. That in turn leads to your company seen as a great place to work and makes your hiring process efficient and successful. The best idea is to treat prospective employees as customers. Because if they aren’t customers today, they could be in the future!

Talent Attraction: Lots of Great Talent Available, Are You Ready?

It’s 2020 and Everything Has Changed

No one would argue the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been dramatic. Our world has been reshaped in ways we can’t have imagined. However, as difficult at these current times are, there are opportunities for forward-thinking companies. Businesses should be preparing now for post-crisis recovery and growth.

Time to Scoop Up Great Talent

 One important opportunity is that the pool of available talent has expanded. Far-sighted business leaders should stay calm and understand that many talented people are suddenly available. If you’re a strong business, well-capitalized with a solid growth plan, now is the time to scoop up top talent. It’s just like the stock market. When the market is down and you have cash – that’s the time to buy.

YOU NEED A PLAN. 30 Day. 60 Day. 90 Day

Pay can be important, but research shows what truly motivates workers is a high level of belonging and purpose. You want a candidate to say, “This is where I want to work.” Candidates will join an organization because they can see a company has a plan in place. That requires the right plan for the current situation. Your five-year plan may not work right now. You need to have a 30-day plan – with your workforce being a major component. You also need to have a 60-day and a 90-day plan – all based on where your revenues are today and where they might look in two or three months. Do you need to hire more people? Do you need to reorganize your current staff? These times demand flexibility.

RETENTION IS KEY

Once you get the right people in the door, you have to keep them. The cost of turnover is enormous. People today want to grow. They want professional development. They want to be valued – to know their opinions are being heard. They want to be an important part of an effective team.

LEAD WITH YOUR HEART

Perhaps in your organization, there isn’t a defined career ladder for a particular job. But you can still develop those employees professionally and help them become better at what they do. If you look at successful businesses, they’ve worked on this piece. They have an effective and engaging employee culture. They have learned to lead with their heart. They are invested in their people and as a result, have employees who are loyal. Businesses that haven’t learned will be the companies that struggle.

Talent Attraction: The Job Candidate Experience

There was a time when human resource departments were judged on how fast they could fill jobs. Keeping a candidate happy and engaged (especially if they were rejected) wasn’t really a priority. Times have certainly changed! Today we understand what we now refer to as the “candidate experience” is just as important as how we treat the customers of our business. Both are crucial to your company’s overall success because each will affect your reputation and your sales.

 The candidate experience begins before you post a job. Many employers make the mistake of writing a job description and then never looking at that job description again. Then they wonder why the talent they’re attracting isn’t a good fit.

 Before a potential candidate answers your ad, it’s likely they’ve interacted with your company. People considering positions today are doing their research and know a great deal about you before they decide to apply for a job. A positive reputation and your “brand” has a lot to do with whether a candidate will apply.

 Candidates who were treated well during the hiring process are more likely to accept your job offer. Whether they were hired or not, they will talk about your organization with friends and family. Every part of the hiring process, and all the multiple conversations and interactions with a candidate, are a reflection on your organization. That includes everything from interviews, the campus tour, the offer letter, the drug test, the background check – even if these touch points are somewhat out of your control.

 Finally, it’s important to recognize the candidate experience doesn’t end with the offer letter. There are few things more damaging to a company than a new hire quickly walking out the door. You should have a long-term plan of professional development in place to ensure employees are constantly learning and feeling engaged and valued.

Get The Right People for Your Business-Soft Skills Matter!

The Individuals You Hire Impact Your Existing Staff.

If there is anything a business needs to consistently get right when building effective teams and a winning culture, it’s recruiting. The individuals you hire communicate clear expectations regarding performance to your existing staff.

In the recruiting process, successful companies look not only at an applicant’s skills and experiences but also at their personality, drive and motivation. Understanding what will fit best with the existing team is critical. That means the hiring manager should have a clear picture of the needs of that team and how the recruit will fit within that group. From my perspective, in many situations, passion and drive can exceed the value of skills and experience.

 Reassess and Be Flexible

For example, look at the situation facing many organizations today. Right now, there are thousands of fantastic people in the job market looking for work due to layoffs. They are more than willing to provide significant value to employers who have stayed in operation throughout the global pandemic, even if it is a short-term value! Businesses need to reassess their expectations as it relates to commitments around employment timelines. Having a short-term superstar is definitely better than having a role unfilled due to passing on that hire while looking for a longer-term team member.

Can an Outside Recruiter Help?

Sometimes traditional methods of recruiting can be limited ineffectiveness. If your candidate flow is weak, or if you are not getting the specific characteristics you need in applicants, an outside recruiter can be extremely beneficial. An outside recruiter can leverage a broad range of connections and other resources to find the candidates with the skills and characteristics you need to fill your specific job role.

 An outside recruiter also uses a thorough, formal and consistent recruiting process. That allows the hiring manager, and in some cases, key members of the team, to more effectively assess the “fit” of a candidate. Depending on the situation, or the organization’s strategic direction, the candidate with the best resume may not be what a team needs.