It is important to remember when recruiting that it’s not just the prospective candidates that need to sell themselves. If you want to attract and appoint the best of the best, you need to market the open position and the business to potential applicants. In doing so, I recommend using the seven key areas below at all stages of the recruitment process.
1 – Remuneration
Be specific about the salary (or salary range if dependent on experience). Do not say “competitive” when ultimately you know what the job pays and/or you are willing to spend. The best candidates will not waste their time following up on conversations, postings and ads that aren’t specific. In fact, research shows that the inference of not publishing a figure is that it is probably not competitive. If you are not confident about publishing a salary figure for fear of putting prospective candidates off, you need to consider making it more competitive.
Sell the whole remuneration package, even if some elements are discretionary based on achievement of targets or wider business performance. Make it clear if these additional payments are not guaranteed but use them to illustrate that base salary is not the only thing to consider. This helps if you cannot match the salaries offered by competitors. Do not forget to include overtime opportunities, if applicable. Some businesses do not have any budget allocated for this; if you do, use this as a selling point, even if overtime is not guaranteed.
2 – Benefits
Discuss the full benefits package. These are non-cash incentives and you must promote them as part of the overall deal. They could be subsidized facilities, such as a staff restaurant, shop or gym. Or you might offer employee discounts with retailers or suppliers or share investment programs. Do not overlook these things, as they can be differentiators and powerful incentives.
If you do not offer any big-ticket benefits, there are always things you can put a positive spin on if you think creatively. Talk about how much annual holiday you offer, free car parking spaces or a creative, flexible working environment. Current employees might take these things for granted, but potential new employees will be pleasantly surprised if they have not had such benefits before.
3 – Job description
It is essential that the job description is an accurate reflection of the day-to-day responsibilities, but equally important that it makes the best of them. Make sure those drafting your job descriptions have strong written skills and a wide vocabulary, so the documents are as appealing as possible. Consider asking your marketing team to review and offer comment on how they could better present the role.
The job description should illustrate the influence that the position offers and hint at opportunities for progression within the business. Candidates are applying for the job on offer, but showing them it could be a stepping stone to something bigger and better if they want it to be can only add to the appeal.
4 – Business
Applicants might already have their heart set on a career in your business specifically, but it is likely that the majority were attracted for other reasons. Therefore, you have an opportunity to shout from the rooftops about why your organization is such a great one to work for. Tell the story of how the business has risen to success, of its heritage and how it has come to be what it is today. Talk about the culture and the great people that work there; paint a picture that draws on all the best aspects of the company.
Do not forget any awards or accreditations the business has achieved, particularly if they reflect a positive message for employees, such as Investors in People (IIP). If your business has a great reputation, supported by facts such as employee and customer satisfaction survey results, proudly highlight these. If the organization has invested heavily in cutting edge technology or a particularly iconic building, these things are exciting, so set the scene for candidates.
5 – Training and development
Most people will want to know how they will learn about the business and their role if they are successful. If you have an established training framework for inducting new employees, make sure you market this in recruitment material. Likewise, if there are learning and development programs to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge, and by extension their chances of progression, explain this.
Candidates are always impressed by a business that invests in its employees. It will strengthen the sense that the role would be a career starter with genuine opportunities for advancement, rather than a monotonous job with little chance of recognition, advancement.
6 – Differentiate
Know and believe in your unique selling point and make the argument in no uncertain terms. Candidates are motivated by a variety of reasons, such as wanting to work in an industry or functional area of a business. Consider what your main industry or geographical competitors are offering and ask yourself what it is about your business that others cannot match. In the candidate’s minds, these are the things that differentiate you from other options they are considering, so they need to be front and center in promotional material.
7 – Interview experience
Perhaps the best opportunity to sell the role and the business is during the interview, when you have a captive audience. Make sure a candidate’s experience, from arrival at reception to leaving the building, is seamless and professional. Remember, interviews are meant to be interactive and the candidate will be making a judgement on the business based on your performance as its Brand Ambassador, so to speak. Prepare for questions at the end of the interview; do not risk embarrassing yourself and the company by stumbling over a question from a well-researched candidate because your knowledge is found wanting.
Use the interview as an opportunity to give candidates a tour of the workplace environment, selecting the areas of the business that will impress and inspire. This will show openness and honesty as well as giving applicants a tangible sense of what they have read about and discussed in their preparation as well as the interview.
Taking account of all the above, scrutinize your current recruitment and selection process and see how well it measures up. It is a worthy investment to ensure you are nailing it in all seven of these key areas. If you do, you will find you are not only attracting the best applicants to apply, but that you are able to secure acceptance from your preferred candidate, as you have shown them an offering that cannot be matched anywhere else.
Before helming Perpetual Talent Solutions as President, Jim Hickey held several senior leadership roles in both sales and operations for two of the world’s largest Commercial Staffing organizations. Jim is a dedicated professional who has been formally recognized as a Staffing Industry Subject Matter Expert.