Two business colleagues shaking hands during meetingResearch suggests that there is a serious candidate trust problem in the job marketplace. As a result of broken promises, pay freezes/cuts, layoffs, uncertainty and lack of job security during the recession, candidates have lost trust in their employers. The American Psychological Association survey shows that 1 in 4 workers don’t trust their employers and only half believe that employers are up front with them. Studies show that employees now mostly value honesty, reliability and security when choosing an employer. And if you want to make an emotional appeal to modern candidates, (a key element of persuading them to join you) you need to make sure that you pluck these three heart strings during your hiring process.

1. Honesty.

Another way to invoke trust is to be as transparent as you can be about your business, without obviously giving away company secrets. So, set aside time during the interview process to explicitly set out what the upward and downward communication processes are within the business, and how regularly senior management communicates with the staff and what kind of information is communicated with staff. Explain your code of conduct and philosophy around communication, which should be centered around openness and transparency if you are to engender trust. Also, explain what opportunities there are for employees to ask questions of senior management. Do you have Q&A session or some kind of social company app or wiki that employees can use to field questions about the business and have them answered publicly? This kind of open approach to communication will help to position you as honest and trustworthy.

2. Authenticity.

Most employees have been fooled once by glossy employer branding collateral and over engineered brand messages and have now grown suspicious of them. They know it’s easy for a company to moonwalk down to a branding agency and have them cook up a quick and delectable spray on employer brand, which bears no relation to what actually occurs. If you want candidates to trust your brand message you need to have them conveyed as much as possible by current co-workers, as employees have become less trusting of managers. This means allowing interviewees access to co-workers in an environment away from recruiters, hiring managers and branding messages, where they can get a more authentic message about the company culture. The fact that you trust your team with candidates in this way will speak volumes to a candidate and make them believe that you have something good going on in your business.

3. Job Security.

This is a harder quality to convey, particularly as you cannot create job security where it does not exist. But, if you do have good tenure statistics, then you should flaunt them at the right opportunity during the hiring process, by explaining about your high average tenures and how they link to job security and engagement. You can also talk about the fact that you have a large bank of stable, long serving clients and that a high proportion of business is repeat business and not dependent on new business, which can be high risk. If you have a stable and risk-distributed client portfolio, then flaunt it. There are plenty of signals you can give that speak to security, and in the current climate, it is a crucial emotional message to convey.

It is my belief that in the current post-recessionary climate, these are the three key emotional messages that interviewees want to hear.

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in Business Communication]