Recruiting the right candidates for your business

Mark Bevans
Founder & Managing Director | We Love 9am
6th December 2013

Good business is effective plate spinning. Learning from the past, being objective about the present and keeping a keen eye on the future is no easy task. As like recruitment and marketing, business is not just about attraction and appeal. It is about maintenance, trust, retention and growth. These all take substantial manpower, strategic thinking and a dollop of good luck.

One of the toughest and most competitive boxes to tick in this business quest is Talent.

Finding the right candidates for your business is possibly one of the most time consuming and costly processes of all. More often than not recruiting is as a horse before the cart affair - employers dive into talent pools expecting the top talent to come to them, even before establishing exactly what it is they want. One of the greatest tools you have as a business is your Employer Brand. It is a mutually beneficial and completely unique way of aligning your business needs with the wants of any potential or existing employees.

  • Get your Employer Brand nailed and the rewards go beyond bagging the top talent;
  • Target and attract your ideal candidates for your business.
  • Distill your business values and ethos.
  • Customise and refine engagement.
  • Structure, plan and action business and social strategies.
  • Focus business aims and keep your existing team happy and fulfilled.

The Hows and Whys of your Business - Getting the right candidates onside

Your employees are more than people that work for you. They are your advocates, your brand in action and they can influence and enhance your whole reputation. Their skills and passion are your business’ greatest asset, it sounds corny but it’s true.

If you don’t consider the type of people your business needs and wants before you advertise you will end with a flood of people who don’t believe in your goals and have no interest in growing with your company - both will damage your brand reputation in the long-term.

  • Research, research, research - Before blindly jumping into searching for your ideal employees, you need to establish the best and most truthful ways to represent your brand/business. How do your competitors communicate their brand values, engage with customers or create a candidate experience? Your research will offer creative inspiration and strategic guidance, not to mention an insight into your target audience and the needs and wants of your prospective candidates. What is important to them, career development or the opportunity to impact? Take your cue from your research.
  • Right place, right time - Following your research, you should know exactly where your ideal candidates are. Putting all your eggs in the social media basket isn’t wise, the likes of Twitter and Facebook are brilliant resources but they are often underestimated and abused. Appeal to your local and global audience via the most on-brand and engaging channel. If your customers don’t use Twitter then why do you? If your ideal candidates job search through LinkedIn then get on LinkedIn!
  • Be creative - Communicating your values, aims and EVP in a way that attracts and resonates with your top talent is tricky. Yes you have to tick the essential boxes and get the right info across in the right way but don’t restrict yourself. Mix up your content and mediums, by all means do the job board thing but why not create a candidate Q&A hub via Skype? Video and podcasts offer an insight that a simple paragraph of text cannot. If as a company you operate incentives or a personal / professional ethos, get some 'In the day of..'video diaries of your staff up on your site.

A foolproof way to avoid the complications and disruption of finding the right talent is to aim for quality over quantity by targeting your efforts, promoting your EVP (Employer Value Proposition) and keeping engagement-focused.

Build a Culture and they will come - Sell an experience not a business position

Ultimately, talent want to know their prospective employers will see their individual worth. If your Employer Brand can demonstrate this then the right candidates will gravitate towards you.

A culture equals collaboration and trust. Building a culture doesn’t just mean you get a flurry of candidates, it gives you an opportunity to target the right employees for your business.

Word of mouth and reputation mean more than ever. The traditional principles of feedback, honesty and trust should still be very much the heart of your company culture. At the end of the day, your employees are your business. They are the frontline soldiers, your business advocates and everything inbetween. The short and long-term things you can offer your team will not only attract the right candidates but it will ensure they stay put for the long haul.

  • The Candidate Experience - From that first click, candidates should be attracted and curious to know more about you and what you do. Candidates get bored of uniform CTAs and jargon, they want to know what truly makes you their best choice. What makes you a good match, is it your training programs, quick application process or great feedback record? Create a journey for your candidates, not only will this keep them interested and offer them valuable info, it will increase your site traffic and build your employer brand.
  • A team-wide effort - The best advocates of your company culture are your existing team. Social media is obviously one of your greatest tools but be particular in building relationships between your current employees and the potentials out there. Put social media in hands of team,entrust them with update duties and make them familiar faces. This frees you up to stay focused on all things growth and development.
  • Engagement-driven, people-centred - You might get candidates through the door but can you keep them? In those early stages, your candidates need to know you will be a challenging, encouraging and rewarding employer. Openness and discussion are the key characteristics of a business that puts people first, be where your customers or candidates are, talk to them and interact everyday.

Dipping in and out of engagement isn’t engagement, to be a worthwhile practice you need to invest time and effort into targeting and consistency. Your culture is the antithesis of who you are and what that means to your candidates, it’s an insight into the daily happenings and expectations of working for your company. Be honest, engaged and aware.

A final thought….

Your business is always moving, maintaining, growing and changing. Spinning the aforementioned plates works better as a team-wide priority. Strategy, creativity, assessment and engagement are all key factors in knowing where you and where you want to be.

Employees and candidates are an integral part of your business. As with all aspects of a company, if you don’t put in the legwork, the results will be non-existent. In order to avoid a dreaded routine of CV sifting and candidate disappointment you need to invest the same attention, research and hands-on approach as you do to any other aspect of your business.

Social media has made engagement an everyday currency and for all its wonders it can be business suicide. Going in all guns blazing will do nothing but drive your potentials away, all your content and exchanges need to be rooted in a strategy. The best way to reap the instant benefits of social media is to incorporate traditional practices also, champion the face-to-face interactions as well as the art of retweets.

Employer branding is effectively career matchmaking - do your business aims align with your ideal candidates personal and professional needs and wants?

Mark Bevans is the founder of "We Love 9am" their aim is to help you identify, define, and communicate your employer brand to the people that matter - your current and future employees. They do that through a fusion of theory and practice.

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