How to Attract Better Candidates

Hiring skilled employees that are also a good fit for your team is no easy task, and getting them to stay is an even bigger challenge. Approximately 51 percent of employees are actively looking for other career opportunities. One recent study even indicated that when an employee leaves, it takes one-third of that employee’s salary to replace them.


So, you know that keeping your top talent around is vital to your company, but why can’t you get them in the door in the first place?

Here are seven ways you can touch up your hiring process to attract better candidates, and hopefully, get them hired.


1. Write better job descriptions

The average person searching for a job spends less than 30 seconds reading a job description, so keep it short and sweet. Be upfront about potential deal-breakers, such as significant travel, identify target competencies behavioral characteristics needed to find success, and always try to feature growth opportunities within your organization. The best candidates will be attracted to opportunities that highlight career development.

A good job description is your first chance to focus on what you can do for your potential employees, as opposed to what they can do for you – getting in this mindset during the first step of your hiring process is also the first step to attract better candidates.


2. Remember that the interview is a two-way street

Interviews can be a painful experience for everyone involved. A major reason candidates drop out during the interview process is poor interview experience. In a recent survey, 82 percent of the 5,000 managers surveyed indicate that the interviewers at their companies “were too focused on other issues, too pressed for time or lacked the confidence in their abilities to pay attention to red flags.”

So, make sure you train your staff—everyone from the person who will be greeting the potential candidate to each interviewer to the last person that walks them to the door at the end of the day. You want to create an experience, not just an interview.

Host interviewing training with your employees. Learn how to ask and answer pertinent questions and look for red flags. Learn the importance of nonverbal communication, emotional intelligence, motivation, and coachability. And, get ready to answer tough questions – the interview isn’t just about determining your candidates’ fit. The candidate wants to know what it’s like to work at your company, too – and the better quality the candidate, the more challenging those questions will be.


3. Get your employees involved in the process

Make a concrete effort to involve your employees in the hiring process. Start by asking employees what qualities, skills, and interpersonal traits are needed to fill a position the moment it opens. Receive feedback from employees when you receive resumes, and include your team in the interview process. Let the candidates meet their future coworkers – and during that process, your current employees can introduce them to your organization’s culture. This early integration helps candidates feel preemptively welcomed and helps you test the waters.


4. Define your company culture

Culture is that lofty, abstract thing that attracts or repels potential employees – essentially, it’s what makes people want to work for you, and what keeps your current employees happy. According to a recent study by Gallup, the number one way to attract top 20 percent candidates is through a strong company culture. And you really want those candidates in the top 20%. The Gallup analysis also found that when organizations select the top 20 percent of candidates for a position, the following occurs: 41 percent less absenteeism, 59 percent less turnover, and 21 percent higher profitability. Start by defining what your company stands for, and seeing these company values through to action that employees can feel.


5. Become an employer of choice

You won’t get Glassdoor awarded overnight, but to attract and hire the best candidates, you have to think constantly about why an outstanding candidate would want to work for you.

Would you consider your company to be an employer of choice?

Being an employer of choice means you’re the type of place people want to work. You offer a competitive compensation and benefits package (more than just a retirement plan and health insurance). You might offer flexible schedules, telecommuting, and bonuses. And, to showcase this in a way that’s digestible and understandable, you maintain a strong employer brand. Show potential employees why they would want to work for your organization. What makes you different than your competitors? What’s your company’s unique story? Showcase that.


6. Get social!

If you want to hire the best of the best, you need to be flexible in your methods. Social media – such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook – is a great place to share your job, and also broadcast your company culture to attract quality candidates. By 2025, Generation Y (millennials) and Generation Z will make up 75 percent of the workforce – and to get these candidates through your door, you have to go where they go. Ninety-four percent of professional recruiters network on social media, posting jobs to potential employees. This is where company culture comes into play, too. Fifty percent of employees claim that an organization’s social media presence was part of their career decision. If you haven’t jumped into the world of social media (or even onto a dynamic website), it’s time to upgrade your devices, apps, and tools.


7. Be a little old-fashioned

Even though our world moves digitally (as we just mentioned), don’t forget to gather candidate referrals through more traditional methods as well. Get involved in industry or trade groups or associations, and discuss hiring needs with non-competitor industry peers – this might lead you to promising candidates. Don’t forget about employee referral networks, either – encourage referrals and offer a bonus program to your current employees who do refer.

And lastly, a lot of companies forget that early access to talented candidates is relatively easy to channel – try interviewing on college campuses and offering internships or part-time jobs at your company. This gives you access to skilled young people that might not even know their potential yet as well as a first-hand opportunity to train and mold students as they’re entering the workforce.

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