The Three Steps of Candidate Attraction

Candidate_AttractionImagine you own a retail store located well off the main road. Very few people drive by and as a result, you’re not selling much. You think if the store was more inviting, more customers would come. So you spend six figures on new shelving, better lighting and even hire a consultant to advise on traffic flow.

Not much changes.

So you decide to change your product signage making it easier for customer to understand and learn about the products you offer. You change the font and layout, and rewrite the product descriptions. You put an ad in the Penny Saver even though the only people who actually read it are retirees who don’t use your products.

The people who do wander into the store buy more so your head of Merchandising is convinced that you are spending money on the right things, but you are not so sure. Not enough people are coming into the store, and of the ones that do, most don’t have the resources to be serious buyers. Will spending more money on store signage really be the answer?

You don’t need a background in retail, or marketing or any other business discipline to understand that building customer traffic will require advertising. If customers don’t know the store is there, it doesn’t matter how well designed and stocked it is.

Now take this scenario to Talent Acquisition. You need more applicant flow so you spend the bulk of your budget on your career site adding videos and making it mobile friendly. That doesn’t seem to generate the quality candidates you want so you decide to rewrite your job descriptions and even post on several job boards.

When that doesn’t work, you seize on the data from Glassdoor and LinkedIn showing that candidates conduct job research on those sites. So you spend money on both of them.

Not much changes.

Generating candidates is a three-step process. When you break down the three steps, it becomes clear what outcome you will get from investments in each of the steps.

3 Steps of Candidate Acquisition

Step 1: Discovery

The first step is Discovery. Much like the retail store, candidates need to know your jobs exist. Right now there are approximately 5 million open jobs in the United States. Unemployment is at historical lows and very, very few qualified people are searching job boards looking for a job. Even fewer are randomly exploring corporate careers sites to see if they can find an appropriate job.

That doesn’t mean that a lot of job switching isn’t going on. People trade up their positions all the time. On average, 50 million people change jobs every year. If you want more of them to apply to you, you need to get your jobs in front of them. People discover jobs through a variety of channels: recruiters reach out to them, a friend calls or emails them, they see the job on social media, an employee refers them, or other serendipitous methods.

Once they discover a job that looks interesting and could be a good career move, they go to step 2.

Step 2: Research

Once their interest has been piqued, they want to know more about the job before they make the investment to apply. The Candidate Experience Research by The Talent Board shows that 76% of candidates conduct research before they apply. This is where the investment in your career site, Glassdoor and LinkedIn comes into play. Informative, interesting and positive information on these sites will keep candidates in your pipeline and advance them to step 3.

Step 3: Apply

The final step is Apply. For candidates who have maintained interest in the job, they are ready to invest the time and effort to apply. Having a streamlined, well-constructed and mobile friendly application will maximize your conversion from viewers to applicants.

If your goal is to increase your pool of applicants, spending money on the Research sites, including your own careers site, will only move the needle a little. Good research sites will keep interested candidates interested, but they do nothing to attract more candidates.

Moving the Needle

If you want to increase your candidate pool with more qualified candidates, you need to invest in the Discovery phase. Discovery requires outreach, advertising and promotion. Your content must be mobile friendly since candidates, especially Millennials, use their phones as their primary source of information. The information must be interesting and engaging since most candidates are not actively looking for a job and you need to entice them to consider yours. Video is the most effective medium for capturing candidates’ attention. And most importantly, you must make social sharing effortless for individuals. To put your job in front of the maximum number of qualified candidates, you must leverage the power of social media and make it easy for individuals to pass your jobs along to friends and colleagues.

If you want potential candidates to take action, your Discovery efforts must be job specific. General information about your company, culture and opportunities will not generate a response from individuals. The hook that prompts action is a specific job that is interesting and appealing to an individual. Potential candidates become aware of a job and immediately assess whether or not the job is a good career move and will advance their career. If the job looks promising, then the individual wants to know more about the hiring organization and they begin their Research phase. But without a specific job to focus the research, the process never advances.

Text-only job descriptions are yesterday’s technology and don’t interest today’s candidates. 

Best-in-class Discovery tools are:

  • Self-contained: candidates do not need to go to another source for basic information,
  • Engaging: include video welcoming message from the potential boss,
  • Sharable: social share buttons built in and
  • Compelling: highlight strengths of the job.

Understanding the three steps to candidate attraction, and the critical elements of each step, will help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, allocate your resources better and improve your results. With a well-disciplined approach, you can build an effective and consistent process that will generate the qualified candidates you need to achieve your recruiting goals.

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