Today’s job market presents a dichotomy of challenges for people who hire versus people seeking employment. For recruiting teams or anyone hiring from within, attracting and retaining skilled professionals is a constant contest. On the flip side, candidates are challenged to identify the best opportunities and companies, and make the right career choices. For professionals on both sides, these challenges can have monumental impact.
As a hiring professional, what can you do to increase the flow of talent to your doorstep?
Company reputation is the great equalizer
Companies tend to hire candidates who share their values and fit well with the corporate culture. When a favorable reputation precedes a company in the job marketplace, it creates a magnet for like-minded candidates. Challenges vanish for both parties.
How much control do you have over your company’s reputation? The truth is, a lot about company reputation, especially in this digital age, is built around the job candidate’s experience during the job search and interview process.
As the managing partner for a nationwide HR executive recruiting firm, I see clients engaging in very successful initiatives to attract talent. Building reputation is a big one. Following are my Three Cs for hiring professionals and talent acquisition teams interested in making company reputation work for you:
Communicating is a powerful opportunity to interact with people entering the interview process. It humanizes each person beyond the résumé and these impressions are everlasting. It’s vital to set expectations, be transparent about the process and timeline, and keep communicating no matter the outcome. Whether a job is entry level or a leadership position, the same standards should apply to every candidate.
Consider this: Two candidates apply for a job. One is told it may be six weeks before they hear back and not to be concerned. In six weeks, the company lets the candidate know the position is filled and expresses genuine gratitude for taking time to interview. The second candidate is not given a timeline and never hears back from the company. Neither candidate gets the job but both experience the brand. It’s safe to predict the reviews each might write about the company. Communication is a simple fix.
Talent acquisition teams can and should be aware of what is said about their companies in the job marketplace, both positive and negative. Information can be used to strengthen impressions of the company and its hiring culture. Online review sites, such as Glassdoor and social media sites, are good sources.
Teams armed with information can be proactive in affirming the positives and owning or correcting the negatives. For example, these questions could be asked when candidates present for an interview: “What led you here, and what is your perception of our company?” Hiring professionals who are informed and prepared can anticipate and respond in ways that build perceptions of the culture. “Yes, we are known for being open and transparent.” Or – “Here’s what we’re doing to improve the job experience.”
Many companies do not wait for candidates to come knocking, nor do they strictly rely on interviews to get to know people. Hiring professionals are out in the community (real and virtual) engaging job seekers where they congregate. Relationships can be cultivated through career-related blogs, job-seeker networks and social gatherings. These are all viable ways to create awareness and perceptions, and attract talent with strong messaging about the company, its culture and the opportunities it provides.
Focusing on Communication, Culture and Community in the recruitment and hiring process is easy and essentially cost-free, and everyone in a hiring capacity can be involved. Paying attention to reputation and fostering healthier hiring habits leads to enhanced candidate experiences, greater ability to attract the right talent and in turn the ability to make better hiring decisions.
Ann Reiling leads the Human Resources division for Lucas Group in the Mid-Atlantic, from her base in Washington, D.C., to Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Ann and her team of specialists serve clients and top-tier candidates nationwide in filling manager- to executive-level positions in all functions and facets of HR.