Attracting top talent: Be the best candidate for your candidates

Charlie Spargo's picture

Recruitment in 2020 is getting tougher.

So what’s the formula for tempting top-notch talent and finding a perfect match for your team or business? Vicky Pritchard, Co-founder of MuddyWellies, explains all about how to become the best candidate for your candidates. 

 

Pre-pandemic, most of us looking for talent followed a set menu for seducing great people. Start by showing off your swanky office space (complete with ping-pong table); then, a main course of talking to potential colleagues about the roles, teams, and company; followed by the sweeteners - an early Friday finish and free drinks.

And it’s always worked a charm for most. But now this whole experience needs to level up - it’s all moved online, and you’ll need a Michelin star tasting menu if you want to attract and retain the very best of the best.  

It’s all changed in the blink of an eye. A sudden shift to a remote workforce means losing out on those fantastic organic moments of networking - the best way to hear the good (and bad) things about businesses, and the perfect way to discover upcoming roles and spaces to fill. There’s no rulebook or procedure in case of an emergency like this.  

Inside out, outside in 

Adapting to this virtual world is really hard work when there’s no room for error. Before, if your website and social channels weren’t quite up-to-date, you could throw in the missing pieces in an office tour.

These days, my money’s on your team drowning in a sea of CVs, hunting for a pearl. So your screening and application process will need streamlining to help you reach the kind of candidates you’re after.

Madly enough, it’s become a two-sided interview process. You have to pitch the business and culture to them as much as they have to sell themselves to you. 

Honestly, it’s not as heavy-going as it seems. You’re clearly nailing it with fact you’re recruiting. It shows amazing resilience and definitely needs to be shouted about. So, here are 10 tips on attracting the right talent, how to engage with those perfect candidates, and get yourself and your voice out there.  

1. Standing out

Hit them with your best pitch. Differentiate yourselves. Get reviewing your employer brand and the value of your employee value proposition - make sure it supports this inescapable new way of working.

How does your pitch showcase your culture, your values and benefits? You need to put the things that make your business great up in lights! Especially when offering a good work-life balance and flexible working hours are now standard... it's time for a new star of the show. 

2. Use your biggest fans

Take a look at your current team. Round up those charismatic, confident characters that can ‘sell’ the business, like mulled wine at the Christmas Markets. Use them to create some videos about life at work - and let them be honest. Let them have a homemade feel.

Trust me when I say this - people want genuine (and nothing fake and contrived, either).  

3. Show your behind-the-scenes

Again, be truly authentic - this time with your team imagery. I’ve seen so many amazing examples of businesses changing from that cold, stock imagery, to their people’s selfies on the website and social channels. I can’t stress this enough - giving an insight into your people’s lives really does wonders for bringing out the character of your teams. 

4. The candidate

In the current situation, taking on a new role is a huge deal. Trust and respect are going to be your number one priorities.

Candidates used to be able to figure out the vibe of a business during an interview. Now, they have to trust their gut, making an assumption based on talking to your team in their living rooms and your company’s social channels. That new interview process should sell more than just the role. 

5. The new socialising

Have you checked how your business comes across on your social channels? Because this is your brand and employer voice. How you express your culture, your values and your purpose matters. Keep every channel up-to-date - it's all about communication and consistency.

6. Razzle dazzle ‘em

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. You need to pitch to applicants as much as they need to pitch to you. Excite them - you’re recruiting! That’s already something to be proud of.

Talk about your vision, growth, the roles that employees play in driving your innovation. Prep the right people to help with the theatricals. And if you can’t... well, what does that say?  

7. Streamlining applications

Tackling that mind-boggling inbox of CVs. To quickly identify people that are not only right for the role experience-wise, but also right for the business, get creative with your interview process.

My advice? Ask and you shall receive! If you need design skills, ask them to whip up something in your brand. If you need off-the-scale sales skills, ask them to pitch themselves in a video.  

8. What's their ‘why’? 

In these times, it’s more important than ever to understand why they are applying.  

A recent redundancy? Although they might be looking for all the standard requirements - career progression, team collaboration and salary - now, their focus is on the security of their next role. 

Are they applying because of remote working insecurity? Remote working through lockdown has pushed many employees to question their value in their current role. These candidates want to hear about new challenges, value and innovation. 

If it’s a graduate, they might be concerned about the logistics of joining a business while working from a bedroom, with no team around them. How can you support them in what is probably the first experience of their chosen career path?

9. Don’t ghost your applicants

It’s not a Tinder date gone wrong. Handle your applicants with care, especially during these times where rejections are heavy.

I can’t count the times I’ve heard, "I’m applying for loads but not hearing anything." Would it be really that hard to set up a really personal, but automated, email that can go out to applicants to thank them for the time and effort spent?  

And finally… 

10. Don’t stop at the job offer

Why stop at attracting? Make it all clear - the appointment process, the notice periods and the onboarding process. Provide a step-by-step guide to what they can expect, keep them in the loop if they’re on their notice period, get them involved before their first day.

Make sure that that first week is an employee onboarding experience like no other.  

Remember, first impressions are everything.  

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