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Recruiting a Superstar: 5 Ways to Engage Candidates

Recruiting a Superstar- 5 Ways to Engage Candidates

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Marissa Letendre – a RecruitLoop recruiter with a wealth of experience based in Tampa, Florida. Her opinions are her own.

To generate business, most companies have to be creative. They have to develop marketing campaigns and sales strategies, write business plans, and of course hire top talent. But it doesn’t stop there. How good would it be if customers just bought because from you because you said they should.

You need to tell them why they should buy from you. You need a value proposition – why you’re better than your competition.

But I’m not here to tell you about marketing or selling … at least not to your customers. I’m here to tell you about marketing and selling to your next potential employee.

Today’s candidates certainly aren’t the candidates of 5 years ago. They don’t respond well to the “Here’s what you’ll do for me. Submit your resume please” job posting. They want you to treat them like you’d treat your customers – and it all starts with your first impression – your job description.

Check out the tips below and watch some awesome applications flow into your inbox.

Free eBook: This guide is filled with essential tips for anyone looking to grow their team and will help you work through every step of the talent attraction process. Download Now!

1. Highlight what makes your company unique

What came first … the chicken or the egg?

You want the candidate to present a resume that speaks to your company; to what you’re looking for. So wouldn’t it be natural for them to want a job description that speaks to them?

A resume is a marketing document for a candidate. Your job description is a marketing document for your brand. Why should they want to work for you instead of your competition? That’s what you’re asking them, right? A common interview question is “why should I hire you?” but they have a decision to make too. It all starts with the decision of whether to apply or not to apply. Your job description will have a lot to do with that, especially when it comes to the best candidates.

Differentiate yourself.

Show why you’re different from every other company that throws out a list of duties and responsibilities. Show personality.

You aren’t looking to hire a robot. You’re looking to hire a person – a superstar – and your job descriptions have to reflect that.

What can you offer? Promote your culture. Promote your benefits.

If you get 50 resumes, you’re only going to reach out to the ones who sell themselves the best. And the best candidates usually aren’t desperate. Usually, they’ll only send their resume to the best companies.

Show them why you’re that company.

2. Let them visualise themselves in the role

Instead of the typical  message, “sell our products to our customers”, focus on them. Speak to the candidate. “You will be responsible for maintaining your territory and building relationships with your customers”.

After all, they’re the ones doing the job.

Create headlines:  “As the _____ for ABC Company, you will …”, “this job may be for you if you …”

That speaks more to a prospective applicant than the average wording in a job posting: “responsibilities: sell to our customers”, “requirements: Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of experience”.

Creating a candidate-focused job description is your first step to gaining the trust of potential candidates and building a relationship with them.

Try not to throw in demands and a condescending tone like you’re the only company hiring and they should be lucky that they get to submit their resume to your company. I’ve seen plenty of job postings with wording such as, “Don’t contact us. We’ll contact you if we’re interested”; “Submit your current salary, a two page writing sample, and a cover letter explaining why we should hire you”; and “Don’t apply unless you have everything we’re looking for”.

Of course you don’t want to deal with resumes from unqualified candidates, but a condescending tone will scare off qualified candidates too. Everything you put out there is a reflection of your brand. Some of these applicants may even be customers or future customers. Treat them like it.

3. Make your first impression count

When you see a resume and it doesn’t speak to what you need or want, you probably won’t give it a second look. Like they say, you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. That philosophy doesn’t just apply to candidates. You won’t get to see the resume if they don’t submit it.

Candidates want a job that they’ll be comfortable with. They want to work for a company that treats them as a person, not a number. They want to work for a company that shows them that they matter.

Don’t make them want to hit that little ‘x’ in the upper right corner and go to your competition. Make them want to submit their resume and be your next superstar.

The internet is a powerful tool. People talk and things go viral easily – even job descriptions. In November 2015, a Canadian company put out a pretty sexist job ad and it did quite a bit of damage to their brand. It went viral. It was trending on Twitter. Don’t be that company. Be the company that people want to work for. That people will be excited to submit their resume to.

You don’t have to be a Google-type empire to attract the best. Look at Airbnb. They make a positive first impression and they’re recruiting some of the best and brightest talent in the market today.

4. Don’t have a long, drawn out application process

Why make applicants input all of their work history and education when it’s on their resume that they attach anyway?

Candidates are busy. Many are currently working and the application abandonment rate is pretty high when you make a candidate spend a half hour filling out an application.

Don’t lose out on candidates by making them fill out excessive applications and create a login with a password with a capital letter, 3 numbers, 4 special characters, and at least 10 letters!

There are so many modern and streamlined applicant tracking systems such as Jobvite and Greenhouse. They’re inexpensive, efficient, and yield great results.

5. Speak to your potential candidates like they’re potential customers

It’s all about branding, branding, branding.

After all, without many of your employees, you wouldn’t have many of your customers.

Hiring the right person is critical to your brand and your brand is just as important in the recruitment process. It’s not about just finding someone to fill the role. It’s about finding that person who fits well with your culture and who can excel in his or her duties.

Most companies can attract an average candidate, but it’s about attracting the best – and as a  result, hiring the best. No matter their role in your company, they’re a reflection of your brand.

Like any business, I’m sure you want to do better than your competition and in order to do that, you need the best talent. You have one chance to show them why they should work for you.

A good employee is like a good customer: they seek value, but add value. Genuine value.

Downloadable PDF: To generate business, most companies have to be creative. Check out the tips in The Ultimate Guide to Candidate Attraction and get application to flow into your inbox. Download Your Free eBook.

Marissa Letendre is an experienced recruiter based in Tampa, Florida. She spent 8 years writing resumes and understands the recruitment process from both the employer and candidate perspective. Feel free to check out her RecruitLoop profile and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Guest blogger

  • Hi Marissa,
    Very true – the best candidates have got multiple options. If you want a superstar you have to sell your company to them.

    As a recruiter don’t get caught with your pants down when your candidate asks “Why should I work here?” It’s not a cheeky question, it’s the MOST important question on the candidate’s mind. If you don’t address it directly, you’re leaving it to chance. It’s near impossible to sell your company without knowing your Employee Value Proposition.

    The EVP sounds financial but isn’t just about the money. Marissa has some great ideas on how to sell your company. In addition tothose you can use powerful psychological motivators like when Steve Jobs hired Pepsi CEO to Apple. If you want to know how he did it, the story is over here: http://managerfoundation.com/blog/how-to-sell-your-company-to-new-hires

    • Marissa Letendre

      Hi Keith, Thanks so much for your reply and insight! Reading yours now and it’s great!

  • Nithin gopalakrishnan

    how companies engage with candidates after applying for a job?

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