Resume sifting can be a laborious, repetitive and dull job, which is why this process is increasingly being handed over to machines in the form of an ATS. But, one of the things that ATS cannot measure, despite their sophisticated semantic keyword searching, is love/enthusiasm for your business. ATS measure technical skills, they cannot assess how much a candidate loves your business and how engaged they are with your employer brand and the role.
And since it is so vital that you focus on short-listing both competent but brand-engaged staff— as over 100 studies show they are more productive—I thought it would be useful to outline 9 signs that your job applicant loves you, that is, they are truly engaged with your brand.
1. They don’t apply within one hour of your job advert going up. Applicants who apply within a minute, an hour, and may be even eight hours of your job going live are unlikely to be brand engaged. Why? They tend to be applicants making multiple generic applications, known as ‘scatter-gunners’ and they are the least brand engaged applicant of all. The most engaged applicants will properly research your business and brand to digest the job description, possibly ask questions and then prepare a tailored cover letter and resume. This can’t be done in one hour, and not even in eight hours if they are working in a job. In my experience, the most considered applications tend to arrive from about day two to three onwards.
2. They provide a cover letter tailored to the company and position. A brand engaged applicant will prepare a well-constructed, tailored cover letter, which relates their skills to the headline skills for the role as referenced in the job description. Contrast this with a scatter-gunner approach for which the cover letter may be non-existent or purely generic.
3. They cite your core values and culture as one of the key reasons they want to join. The brand engaged applicant will have taken the time to understand your core values and company culture and will cite this as a reason for applying.
4. They address the cover letter to the HR Manager and cc the hiring manager. They have taken the time to find the names of the people dealing with their application and personalized their letter. Those adopting a scatter-gun approach lack the time or inclination to do this.
5. They reference a pertinent and known contact within the cover letter or email. The brand-engaged applicants will seek out contacts (pertinent contacts even) within the firm they are applying to and ask if they can mention their name. It is hard to achieve this using a disengaged scatter-gun approach.
6. They stalk you on Twitter LinkedIn and provide relevant links to articles. The brand-engaged applicants may hunt down the hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn, follow the person and tweet him/her pertinent and helpful news, articles and resources. This is unlikely to happen if someone is adopting a scatter-gun approach.
7. They met one of your team members at a conference last year. This is a good sign that the applicant may have been following your business for some time which shows good brand engagement.
I accept this is more art than science, but much of it has been born out in experience. Good luck with finding brand-engaged candidates, because that’s half the battle. The other half of the battle is living up to your brand and maintaining engagement levels once the candidate becomes an employee.