Do These 2 Things to Attract More Candidates If You Haven’t Yet

ERE2015SpringHeroAs we go farther into the 2015, many companies I do business with are ramping up hiring.

Whether it’s to replace people who are not performing, or to add new people to the team, the search for people who are really top caliber is not easy.  Too many hiring managers blame the economy, lack of people in the pool, or other circumstances instead of looking in the mirror and ask themselves, “What can I do differently to hire the very best people?”

I’ve learned many things since getting into the hiring business nearly 20 years ago, and the more things change, the more certain things stay the same. Here are two necessary things to do that won’t change:

Create a more compelling opportunity: When you look at how your company showcases itself and the opportunity that candidates see, what is the impression you’re creating in the eyes of top-performing people who you’d really like to hire?

Put yourself in their shoes for a minute: good chance that they are now working for someone else and doing a great job. What you put in front of them compelling enough to move the needle of interest to the point where they can’t wait to speak with you? What value are you offering to these people? What compelling reason are you giving them to pick up the phone and call you?

One of the very best ways to showcase your opportunity in a way that is unique, compelling, and one that sings with value, is to tell your story, something I’ll be talking more about in San Diego. Get your team members, customers, vendors, partners and others associated with your company to put forth the collection of stories that tell why they work for you, buy from you, and partner with you.  Stories are the most powerful communication vehicle on earth because they connect emotionally with people. Capture these stories on video and put them in places where people will see them and bring them to specific people that you want to reach.

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Don’t sell your opportunity; make them want it. There is an old saying that will be true forever more: People want what they can’t have. In sales language, you may have heard it this way: people don’t want to be sold to, but they love to buy. Set your standards of performance high and don’t compromise. Get the candidates to earn the right to compete for your opportunity. Let them know where the bar sits and ask them questions that gets them talking about how they can clear that bar. Pit candidates against each other. Make sure that you keep the discussion focused on what the candidates have done and how this will translate into what they will do for you.

Litmus test their level of interest and figure out why they are interested. Digging to these levels requires great questions, and better listening on the part of the hiring team. Don’t settle for people who have lower standards.

If I can be of further help, I’d be glad to get into discussion.  Thank you and hope 2015 is your best year yet!

In Jan 2006, "Antarctic Mike" -- now a trainer on finding and retaining people -- became one of nine people to have run a marathon on the Antarctic continent; 11 months later he returned to Antarctica to become the first American to complete the Antarctic Ultra Marathon, a grueling 100 km (62.1 miles). Since then he has completed many other winter marathons in the coldest and harshest climates on earth. His stories have been featured on CNN, Sports Illustrated, Fox, ABC, CBS Early Show, ESPN, and many other national and international sources.


2 Comments on “Do These 2 Things to Attract More Candidates If You Haven’t Yet

  1. While I don’t generally disagree with these steps, the underlying reality has to be there in order to justify it. The average company is just that: average. They offer an average opportunity, salary, benefits, management, chance to advance and learn, etc. So eventually they will have to face two problems.

    One, they’re opportunity really isn’t any more compelling than whatever else is out there. This is the Google Syndrome; while Google and other such companies might have bleeding edge technology to play with and insanely great benefits and management approaches to offer to their employees, most companies simply don’t. In fact, many are working with yesteryear’s technology and management methods because they never wanted to pay the cost to upgrade and/or retrain people, or are just so in love with their own brilliance they never questioned their methods. And they are now likely so mired in obsolete technology and practices that the cost of change seems prohibitive, especially with short term blinders on and inflated egos getting in the way.

    Two, this is the information age and information flows now more than it ever did. If a person has a phone in less than ten minutes they can read multiple reviews of companies from current and former employees on various sites. They can do a salary survey to find out what a competitive salary for the area really is, and so if they move to offer stage they know immediately if they’re being low balled. They know the euphemisms used to mask a poor culture like ‘challenging’ or ‘need a thick skin’ because they’ve been used to death in job ads for companies with out on control managers and toxic cultures. When a job spec says it’s salary and benefits are ‘competitive,’ people now know that means they’re virtually guaranteed to be worse than average, or even non existent.

    In a nutshell, it’s getting harder and harder to lie to people, and lies are at the heart of sales at the used car salesman/slimeball end of that spectrum. At the good end of sales which you can define as true needs fulfillment, there is little to offer most people that’s significantly different from any other product offering. And as an employer that’s what you’re doing; manufacturing a product which is an employment opportunity. The problem is now people have access to all kinds of information about your product they didn’t have in years past.

    So, if you’re truly repping a ‘brand’ employer, you’ve got an advantage. But if anyone thinks Sam’s Club Cola gets sold to the same people in the same way and for the same reasons as Coke or Pepsi, they’re nuts. Commodity employers need to either acknowledge their place and act accordingly, and accept commodity employees, or up the quality of their product offering if they truly want the top caliber employees on the market. But the supply of those is way more limited, and they demand top compensation on all fronts. So, we as recruiters can continue to try and convince every employer they’re the top offering and have them endlessly competing to try and employ the fabulous top 5% despite never offering anywhere near enough comp on any front, monetary or otherwise, to get those people, or we can start addressing reality.

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