How You Can Snag the Best Candidates

You know what you expect from job candidates. But have you thought about what they expect from you? Most candidates wouldn’t dream of expressing that sort of opinion in an interview. But the way that they view your company and the hiring process could determine whether you snag the best candidates or send them down the street to a competitor.

RELATED: Do You Treat Your Candidates Like Customers?

Think about what you experienced the last time you searched for a new job. How were you treated? What were your likes and dislikes? All of the opinions that you had, your candidates have them, too. And that forms their opinion about your company before an interview barely gets off the ground.

Forget About Keywords

What do keywords really mean, anyway? And why should they make or break a job interview? Nick Corcodilos, of Ask the Headhunter, writes for PBS that prospective employees see it all the time, along with a host of other all-too-common resume and interview tactics.

Employers look for keywords, and candidates think getting the right keywords into a resume or interview skirts the issue of whether or not they’re a good fit for the job. Instead of fishing, get to the point: Can the candidate do the job well? Keywords can’t tell you that, but a frank discussion can.

Give the Same Courtesy that You Expect

HR expects a certain level of respect from candidates. That’s certainly reasonable, and you wouldn’t hire someone who didn’t show courtesy. But what about extending courtesy toward candidates?

A major complaint that job seekers have is a lack of respect and courtesy during the hiring process. Do you follow up with applicants? Do you ask for a mountain of information, and then fail to respond once you get it? Corcodilos calls it “applicant abuse,” and job candidates are no happier about it than HR is about a lack of respect from applicants. With unemployment down, it’s a job seeker’s market. Courtesy goes a long way.

Don’t Stick to the Same Old Methods

Recruiting can be a different ballgame from one day to the next. Sometimes you’re flooded with applicants. And sometimes you can’t find a suitable candidate no matter how hard you try or wide you search. Lou Adler, of the Adler Group recruiting firm, explains at Quartz that you have to mix it up.

The availability of talent should dictate how you hire. If there’s a surplus, you might cast your net wide to find candidates. But when there’s a scarcity, focus harder on finding the right talent, not the biggest volume. “Hire the best person available, not the best person who applies,” says Adler. That might mean sourcing candidates who are already employed elsewhere, which requires an entirely different game plan.

Be Honest About Company Culture

Sometimes the best and brightest candidate turns out to be a mismatch after being hired. That leads to turnover, which costs you money and time, both of which could be avoided on the front end.

Company culture plays a major role in employee retention, so be straightforward about what working at your company is like. Is yours a high-energy office with lots of collaboration? Or do most employees work quietly and separately? If job applicants have a clear picture of what he or she is getting into, you’ll be more likely to snag candidates who will really fit in and complement the team.

The hiring process isn’t all about the company side. Job candidates know what they want in an employer, too. In a climate where unemployment is down, tailoring your approach is more important than ever.

If you’re tired of spending too much time sourcing candidates who aren’t a good fit, the problem might be a little closer to home. Reevaluate your processes, and be the HR department that your ideal candidate wants to meet.

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