The Art of Attracting the Best Applicants
The most successful recruitment campaigns rely on you as the business owner or manager being able to choose from a great list of quality talent, a perfectly suited shortlist, who are all skilled for the role you are hiring for – and ultimately are a great fit for your team.
But have you ever found yourself without this stellar shortlist? Instead, you may have found yourself with only one or two applicants, neither of whom are ideal, but you’re desperate, so you’ll probably hire one of them. Or you have a lengthy list of people you’re considering, but none are ideal, they are ok, they have applied, but they are a mish mash of skills, experience and suitability.
The thing is, in order to achieve a high-quality shortlist of applicants to choose from, it’s imperative that your candidate attraction strategies, including any advertising process, social posts or invitations to apply are targeted, aligned to your requirements and engaging to your ideal audience.
This is the case no matter the state of the market. Whether great applicants are in short supply, like the case seems to have been forever for trades businesses and professional services like accountants, or whether you know you will be drowning in resumes the moment the ad is posted. In either scenario the work you do in crafting, targeting and placing the ad, post or invitation is critical to the success of gathering a superior shortlist.
So how do you attract a solid group of ideal applicants for you to consider hiring?
Here are my simple steps to attracting the best applicants:
Step 1: Treat your recruitment advertising like a marketing activity.
When you are preparing some marketing or advertising collateral for your business, whether it’s a brochure, a website, a sales campaign – anything that promotes your business – how much energy, thought and attention do you put into it? A LOT! You painstakingly think over every word, the colours, the layout, design, because you want it to be as perfect as possible, you want to ensure this brings in new customers. Now think about the last time you creating a recruitment ad and compare the effort, energy and thought. I am willing to bet the two are miles apart.
When we are doing any marketing activity we are attracting customers – when we are doing any recruitment activity we are attracting future potential employees. Both really important to our business, and both we want to be successful.
So treat your recruitment advertising like a marketing activity, really think about attracting perfect applicants.
Step 2: Know your ideal applicant, and understand where they are ‘hanging out’ and looking for work:
Do you know who your ideal applicant is and where to find them? It’s important to understand this so you don’t waster precious advertising dollars in the wrong media, at the wrong time and in the wrong location. Think about:
· Who is your ideal applicant and what else do they do with their time?
· Aside from traditional online job boards, where else might they be looking for work? What publications do they read or subscribe to? Which social media platforms are they active on?
· Are they at cafes, restaurants, playgrounds, university or the gym?
Put any ads in front of them, where they are.
Step 3: Talk their language:
If the wording of your advertising campaign sounds boring, dated or bland, you are not going to attract a cutting edge artistic type. Similarly, if you are using lingo or jargon which appeals to a younger audience, you are less likely to attract a seasoned professional or academic. Use language that your ideal applicant will immediately resonate with, the aim is for them to want to continue reading, to opt in with interest thinking ‘this is me’.
Step 4: Make it engaging and real, be true to your vibe:
There is absolutely no point putting a message out there that does not reflect your organisation and the type of culture the applicant would be joining. Whilst it may look impressive, it ultimately means you’ll be attracting the wrong people, resulting in disappointment for all parties. Applicants appreciate honesty, just as you do from them, so keep it real.
Step 5: What’s in it for them?
This is especially important if you are looking for applicants in a competitive market, where there are precious few applicants available and every other business in your industry wants to hire them too. This is where you sell your unique benefits, and really understand what benefits your ideal applicants want. Things like ‘flexibility’ and ‘great team culture’ no longer cut it, they are base level expectations for applicants. What do your ideal applicants really want, and what are you offering that is unique, better or more enticing than other similar businesses.
Step 6: Give them enough information:
Making your advertisement, clear, easy to read and informative will ensure that not only do you have the great candidates interested in applying, but it also helps to ‘weed out’ those who are not suitable and don’t have the skills and experience you are looking for.
Whilst you don’t want it to be too lengthy, because you’ll lose their attention, it’s important to cover the key aspects and expectations of the role and the organisation. What you don’t want here is a laundry list of all the things you expect out of the applicant. The details in your recruitment ads should be a good mix of information about the company, the role, the benefits and the applicant.
Step 7: Call to action:
This is where you make it really obvious what you want them to do. Tell them how to apply and what you expect from the application. Make it clear, concise and easy to follow. This then starts to form part of your selection process – if you have a clearly defined application procedure you can begin to assess how well your applicant follow instruction and comply to your requirements.