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Five ways to effectively engage with Candidates

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

In today’s job market Employers have to work hard to attract the right team. It’s no longer a simple matter of advertising your vacancy, waiting for CVs to arrive in your inbox and picking your first choice from these. Record employment figures have shifted the balance in favour of applicants, who often receive multiple job offers. As a result, Candidate engagement should be a key concern for businesses when they recruit.

My advice to Employers is don’t lost your focus. Receiving a CV indicates that you’ve caught an applicant’s attention, but it doesn’t guarantee sustained interest – you need to work to make sure people remain ‘switched on’ throughout your recruitment process. Research from CareerBuilder suggests that 80 per cent of Candidates use this to determine how a company treats Employees. Here are my tips to avoid a worst-case scenario where you lose your first choice of applicant to a competitor or receive an offer rejection.

1. Understand what motivates people

To attract the best people to work for you, you’ll need to understand what they’re looking for. Start by profiling the kinds of Candidates you want for the role. Are you looking for graduates at entry-level, mid-level managers or an experienced senior leader? Each of these will be searching for something different when applying for a new opportunity. Your offering for a millennial looking to step onto the first rung of the career ladder should not be the same as someone who has ten years of experience under their belt. Once you have this, you’ll be able to tailor your approach, from your job description to your interview style, as well as the benefits and remunerations offered to successful applicants.

2. Share your company story

To feel confident accepting an offer, a Candidate should be able to visualise themselves working comfortably within your business. This is why it’s so important to sell yourself as a company, taking time to speak about your culture, ethos and progression opportunities. A good way to do this at a very early stage is through curated content. Create videos, social media messages and blogs in-house which can be seen by people considering whether to apply with you. Recruitment is a two-way process, so at interview, always convey your enthusiasm as an Employer. If you have some great examples of how you’ve progressed as a company or helped Employees to grow, now is the time to shout about this.

3. Set out your recruitment journey from start to finish

It’s always best to outline your recruitment process before you start. This includes agreeing a timeline for advertising, initial interviews and a final offer date.  Not only does this help internally – to make sure that you have the right people available to make decisions – but it allows you to keep Candidates informed. Silences can be worrying for applicants. Although you could be busy working in the background as a coordinator, they can’t see this. Providing a step-by-step guide of what to expect will leave the right impression, reassuring people that the company they’ve applied to is organised, proactive and a good place to work. On top of this, if an applicant is applying for multiple jobs, they can bear your timings in mind – if they know potential interview dates, they’re more likely to be available.

4. Put yourself in a Candidate’s shoes

When you’re passionate about your business, it can be hard to take a step back in order to see how you might appear to someone who doesn’t know you yet. What does your website, your application form, and the way you communicate look like for people from outside of your organisation? It sounds simple, but remember that job hunting is a stressful process and small things make a big difference to Candidates. Is it easy to fill in your application form? Are you making yourself available to speak to people i.e. is there a number they can call to ask further questions? By stepping in to someone else’s shoes, you’ll be able to spot areas with room for improvement.

5. Make your interviews enjoyable

Many of us dread attending an interview, but this shouldn’t be the case. There are so many things Employers can do to make these meetings a positive experience – starting with the interview panel. Yes, it’s a formal process, but you can still provide a warm welcome. So, think about how you can schedule your time with Candidates to demonstrate a real interest in them. This could be giving them space to talk about themselves or allowing them to meet the people they could be working with via an office tour. In this vein, consider who you want to conduct the interview. Is it better for applicants to speak to a hiring manager who knows their specialism or a mixed panel giving them the chance to connect with multiple team members? If they’re passionate about their industry, interviewees should enjoy the opportunity to share their thoughts with like-minded professionals.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 we opened our first London office, to service Clients and Candidates in the capital.

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