Talent Acquisition Can Learn a Lot From Good Old-Fashioned Values

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There’s no getting around it. If you don’t show candidates a little love, there’s no reason for them to pick up the phone or stick around long enough to be a viable lead. Talent acquisition needs a boost of good old-fashioned values. And that can work in your favor as well make candidates feel like they matter.

According to Recruiting Daily, it’s not your imagination if recruiting seems more difficult now than in years past. Candidates are smart, savvy, and they remember the last time (or several times) when recruiters didn’t call back. Fortunately, you have all of the power you need to nurture the talent pipeline and keep candidates happy.

RELATED: 5 Ways Recruiters Source Better with Fewer in the Candidate Pool

Here are some good old fashioned values plus some high-tech strategies that you can employ right now.

Treat Candidates’ Time as Valuable as Your Own

How often do you pick up the phone when a candidate calls? Do you more often than not let calls go to voicemail and get back in touch with them later?

Your time is valuable and your days are packed. The same is true for the candidates you want to hire. Especially in a full employment economy, practically everyone who wants a job already has one. That means when they call, they have a minute to spare without a supervisor within earshot.

Recruiting Daily says candidates aren’t happy when recruiters don’t take their schedule into consideration. It’s a “pet peeve,” they explain, when all contact is at the recruiter’s convenience. Even worse is when recruiters don’t call back.

Bear in mind the risk that candidates take by communicating with you during work hours. If the prospect of a new job doesn’t pan out, the candidate has taken all of the risk and shouldered the inconvenience but has nothing to show for it. It’s no wonder they’re a little suspicious about recruiters. But a little candidate nurturing can go a long way toward changing the dynamic.

Smashfly recently uncovered an interesting communication tactic that’s working well for the employers who use it. In a 2015 report, Smashfly Recruitment Marketing Report Card for the 2015 Fortune 500, they found that 27 percent of companies let job candidates join their talent network on their own. That way, recruiters can nurture candidate relationships without awkwardly timed phone calls.

It works best with a content marketing and social media strategy in place. Otherwise, candidates won’t realize that they should be looking for you. But content marketing and social are already part of your talent strategy, right?

What matters most is valuing the candidate’s time. Following up via email, sending a text notification or picking up the phone when it rings—those things are basic good manners.

Talent acquisition

Your best employer brand ambassadors are right under your nose.

Make Job Candidates Feel Welcome

You know how exciting it can be to scroll through photos of a vacation destination where everyone is smiling and having a great time. Seeing in photos and videos what you’re missing makes you want to be there.

Now think about how exciting and welcoming your company (or the one you’re hiring for) appears to a candidate on the outside looking in. What image does the employer brand send? Is the brand image mainly one of text on a page with a few stock photos peppered throughout the content? That’s flat and lacks any sort of personality. Or does a candidate get the feeling that they’d love to work there? That’s engaging.

Current employees have tremendous power to generate excitement and welcome new candidates into the fold. To a reasonable extent, they should have freedom to become brand ambassadors on social media. And instead of stock photos on your website, use pictures and videos of real people working for the company.

Fast Company says you need “all hands on deck,” the way that Starbucks and Zappos have already done.

Just remember that social media is first and foremost social. A vague and faceless social media presence doesn’t do you any favors. It won’t earn your employees any followers or your brand any recognition.

With some freedom to be themselves, everyone on staff could be brand ambassadors that make passive candidates feel energized and excited about joining the group. And if they already have a rapport with some of your employees, accepting a job offer won’t feel quite as scary. Onboarding won’t feel as isolating.

Welcoming job candidates long before they’re employees helps keep your talent pipeline humming with energy. It’s hard to be blasé when you feel like one of the family.

Want more reasons to put social media in the hands of employees? Check out these stats:

  • The public trusts employees 52 percent more than a CEO (Social Media Today)
  • When the company CEO is also engaged on social media, the brand reputation, and trustworthiness increase. (MSL Group)
  • Employees are connected to 10 times more people on social media than the company brand. (MSL Group)
  • Brand messaging reached 561 percent more people than messages promoted by the company brand. (MSL Group)
  • Content that employees share has eight times the level of engagement that content shared by a faceless brand. (Social Media Today)
  • Employee-shared content gets re-shared as much as 25 times more. (Social Media Today)
  • Social media candidate leads convent seven times often than leads from other sources. (Find and Convert)
Talent acquisition

Candidate priorities and those of the hiring team are not all that different. Everyone wants to believe that their needs matter.

“Whatever it Takes” is the New Norm

With a few notable exceptions, businesses can’t write their own ticket anymore and neither can recruiters. Candidates can. Businesses are struggling across the board to fill positions. Time to hire and cost per hire are consequently going up and quality of hire can take a hit.

As a result of the current climate, many hiring teams are adopting a “whatever it takes” attitude about sourcing talent, hiring, and keeping great people engaged if the right job isn’t available right now. The talent pipeline has never been more important. It’s important for keeping great employees, as well. You never know when a position will open up that someone already on the roster can fill.

Letting current employees become brand ambassadors: that’s one way to do whatever it takes. It’s risky, but it can also yield significant rewards.

Current employees aren’t just great for engagement and brand visibility. ItKonekt explains that 66 percent of candidates value interactions with employees more than anything else for learning about the company. If they’ve interacted with employees before, they’re “twice as likely to accept cold emails” from you. That’s because employees have laid the foundation, so first contact emails don’t feel creepy or intrusive.

ItKonekt has a few more interesting stats that could persuade you to do whatever it takes:

  • Top active candidates only stay on the market for about 10 days
  • The average cost per hire has spiked to about $4,000
  • When applicants have a negative experience, 64 percent of them can’t wait to share it.
  • If they’re very unhappy, 27 percent of the people who share a bad experience will go a step further: they’ll encourage people not to apply.

Considering the candidate’s position, such as availability, the risk of communicating at work and general convenience: that’s whatever takes.

Gerry Crispin for Jibe says setting expectations is part of being a considerate hiring team.

Here are a few of his recommendations:

  • Give candidates an idea about the time it takes to apply
  • Explain the length of time involved in making a hiring decision
  • Be up front about when you’ll stop accepting applications
  • Tell them how many other people applied
  • Let them know who they’ll be communicating with

Crispin also says you should listen to your candidates. That’s not just polite, it gives you insight into what candidates want. Let them know they have a voice. Even better, offer more ways to communicate such as chat, social media, email, and texts.

Treating recruitment like marketing: that’s whatever it takes. The lines between hiring and marketing are increasingly blurred as more recruiters and HR teams view candidates as customers. Relationships matter the same as with any other sales and marketing team.

Content marketing is especially useful because it accomplishes several goals at once. It helps give your brand the positive attention that it needs. It reinforces your position as an industry leader. It provides information that’s valuable to your target audience. And it drives in leads.

With any sales and marketing strategy, the funnel is an invaluable resource. Referrals, social media interactions, content marketing, and general inquiries can all lead people into the talent acquisition funnel, where you can nurture relationships with good old fashioned values and principles to keep them there.

Planning for the counter offer in advance: that’s whatever it takes. If you’re interested in a candidate, chances are you’re not the only one. You may face competition from other companies, but one, in particular, can hold a great deal of power. If you’re willing to do whatever it takes to win a candidate, imagine what their current employer might do to keep them on board.

Career Builder explains that counteroffers are fairly common now. They may use the bargaining power of co-worker relationships, loyalty, and client relationships to build their case. If they’re really serious, they might offer more money, better benefits or a promotion.

The time to think about handling a counter offer, says Career Builder, is before it happens. What are you willing to offer to trump it with a revised offer of your own?

There’s no place in recruiting and hiring anymore for a cavalier attitude about candidates. Strategies that work are rooted in good old fashioned values. Listen, communicate honestly and respect the value of a candidate’s time as much as you value your own. Respect goes a long way. That’s how to win respect in return, and that’s how to cultivate loyal relationships.

If you’re scrambling to source and hire top candidates in a tough market, we can help make your job easier. Subscribe to Recruitment ADvisor and get new, relevant content delivered to your inbox regularly.

Carole Oldroyd

Carole Oldroyd is a writer and graphic artist living in East Tennessee. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, LegalZoom, and numerous other magazines, websites and blogs. When she isn’t writing, she can be found restoring her historic Victorian home piece by piece.

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About Carole Oldroyd

Carole Oldroyd is a writer and graphic artist living in East Tennessee. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, LegalZoom, and numerous other magazines, websites and blogs. When she isn’t writing, she can be found restoring her historic Victorian home piece by piece.

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