Targeting Candidates in a Competitive Market

It’s no secret we have been in a very competitive candidate market for the past couple of years. So how do you make your company stand out with such a high demand for talent. Where can you find these superstars and what will make them choose your organization over others vying for their attention.

To help develop a competitive advantage lets dig deeper into some key areas we call:

  • Laws of Attraction
  • The Principle of a KISS
  • Rounding the bases
  • Can I call you later?

1.    Laws of Attraction – Standing out from the crowd

As the saying goes “You only get one chance to make a first impression” so the importance of how you market your position is crucial. Whether you plan to use job boards, LinkedIn or more traditional resources, structuring your opportunity will either drive results or fall flat. Take a job posting for example, it must start with a strong headline that resonates with your audience. So do some research to figure out what’s going to get someone’s interest before you even consider the content.

Once established, don’t make the classic mistake of launching into company information. Today’s modern candidate wants to know “What's in it for me”, so focus on things that are meaningful to their needs. And phrase it in a way where you're asking “Are you looking for” as an example. This could include working remote, job duties that show a culture of learning and interesting facts about your industry that stimulate excitement from the candidates prospective. Your goal is to grab their attention, creating a thirst to learn more.

Move on to duties and responsibilities, along with preferred experience and educational requirements. Lastly share your company information, demonstrating a brand that connects with its industry and community. Lets recap one more time;

  • A great headline
  • What's in it for me?
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Company information, branding& community involvement

2. The principle of a KISS – Converting at a higher rate

We’ve all heard the phrase “Keep it simple stupid”, targeting candidates follows the same principle. Keeping your sights on the outcome throughout the process is critical, so lets review a few simple recommendations.

Applying for your position should be a 60 second procedure, so collect what you need and learn the rest when speaking with the candidate. Every extra step will compound the drop off rate in applicants.

Make sure you already know the hiring managers availability, it’s a competitive market and getting a strong candidate in as soon as possible will not only demonstrate a sense of urgency but minimize losing them to another opportunity. Prep your candidate properly, who they are meeting with, what their roles are in the organization and anything else to ensure a successful meeting.

Stay in contact with the candidate as they await their interview date, an engaged candidate is far more likely to remain interested.  Provide your direct line or number to text if they have questions.

When possible be the first to greet them upon arrival, make a good first impression and help ease any concerns regarding the interview.

Lastly, follow up after the interview, gage their interest and share any feedback you’ve received from the hiring manager. If its not a fit, be upfront and let them know. Otherwise make sure you keep the process moving forward.

To summarize these important steps;

  • “Done in 60 seconds” application
  • Predetermine interview availability
  • Prep your candidate for success
  • Stay connected

3. Rounding The Bases

The candidate journey can get ugly, we’ve all experienced it when changing jobs. There a four key steps to the promise land;

  • Pre-qualifying/discovery call
  • Hiring manager(s) interview (onsite/virtual)
  • Offer/accept & background verification
  • Start/Onboarding

Organizing a smooth path requires good communication and coordination, resulting in a great candidate experience. Develop an effective pre-qualifying process that provides clarity for the position, asks decisive questions relative to the required skills, accounts for candidate questions and positions your organizations leadership role in the industry, future plans to expand and community involvement. A good rule of thumb is 60/40, where the candidate is speaking 60% of the time, it shows interest and enthusiasm. Don’t dominate the conversation.

Likewise hiring managers should be prepared to follow a similar path. Keep their schedule free from interruptions and ensure the venue for the interview is clean and well organized. Candidates will judge you based on the environment, a messy area is indicative of how things run on a daily basis.

The offer process should also be done with precision. Go over everything your company is providing beyond the base salary, keep it simple to understand and include any monetary value each item holds, so they can make an informed decision. Regardless of the market conditions, low balling is a very poor tactic and will create friction during negotiations.

Onboarding is equally critical, most candidates decide within the first 2 weeks of employment whether they see themselves staying long term. Treat every new hire like a first date, go overboard making them feel welcome, lay out a clear path for training and expectations during the upcoming months. Most importantly make yourself available for questions and support creating a smooth transition into the workplace.

4. Can I call you later – The art of communicating

If there’s one thing we constantly hear from candidates, it a lack of communication from company’s they are engaged with. It starts from the application, all the way through to their first day of employment. So develop a good cadence for ensuring candidates feel valued at all times.

Some good practices to consider;

  • Respond to people who apply to your posting. While automation is great, most candidates appreciate something more than the standard “Thank you for applying, we will contact you if you are a fit for the position” or words to that effect. If automation is necessary due to the high volume of activity, jazz it up a bit and really make them feel appreciated by including links about the company, your culture/community involvement or exciting product information. Where possible a personal email will always have a more meaningful impact
  • Once they are under consideration, provide your contact information; email, text, and direct line so they can easily reach you.
  • Keep them informed. If the hiring manager thought the interview went well, tell them about it. Share next steps and help them prepare. Explain the background check process, how it works, what they need and how long it typically takes to complete.
  • Take the time to meet with them once they start, make them feel welcome and help navigate through the internal workings of the company.

Targeting candidates does not stop after someone applies. Keeping your sights firmly fixed on the prize throughout the process will not only provide a great experience for the candidate but ensure you capture the best people for the job. It’s a team effort, share your expectations with everyone who participates in hiring and your chances of hitting the bullseye increase significantly.

November 30, 2022

My recruiter at ACA Talent intuitively knows what kinds of candidates I want to see, so I don’t have to see four candidates to get the one that I want.

- Field Sales Manager -

I spend zero time recruiting now that we’re working with ACA Talent. I don’t have to pound the pavement to find people.

- Route Sales Manager, Snack Food Brand

In the past, recruiting all fell on the sales manager’s shoulders. It used up so much of our time at the expense of running our business. ACA Talent has made it possible for me to focus on my job with little concern over manpower. It’s like pushing the “easy” button with them.

-Regional Sales Manager, Security Firm