Candid, Consistent Communication Is the Key to Attracting Candidates in Today’s Market
Candidates want to impress hiring managers. That’s the name of the game — it’s how they get hired. However, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a shift in the talent market, and companies are no longer holding all the cards. Today’s top candidates have options, which means employers have to do some impressing of their own.
How do companies navigate this changing landscape, particularly during their talent outreach efforts and interview processes? Candid, consistent communication is one of several crucial hiring practices that can help attract top talent. We tend to forget that candidates interview recruiters just as much as recruiters interview them.
When candidates are considering a job opportunity, they want to know they’re making the best choice for their careers. Effective communication — about everything from company culture to performance expectations — is one way employers can stand out in a job market that has become more advantageous for applicants.
A Candidate’s Market Requires New Communication Practices
The candidate’s journey is always filled with questions and anxieties, and rightfully so. Applicants are leaving the certainty of an existing job to take a chance with a new employer. Before making a move, they want to be sure their potential employer’s infrastructure, culture, and benefits will be worth the jump. It should be no surprise, then, that companies that communicate all of this information ahead of time have a competitive advantage in the talent market.
This is particularly true in the current climate, with many companies still trying to find their footing in the wake of the pandemic. These days, candidate engagement requires transparency into the state of your business and adopted safety practices, at the very least. Whether your company shares those insights on its careers page, through social platforms, or in face-to-face conversations, what matters most is that you deliver that detailed candidate communication today’s job seekers crave.
Effective hiring practices can be both innovative and simple. When a brand communicates effectively and candidly with candidates through good times and uncertain ones, it sends an important message to prospective talent. This is a company that is realistic about the market, cares about candidates, and takes seriously its obligation to support current and prospective employees alike.
When the dialogue between employer and candidate is straightforward, everyone wins. The applicant can come aboard with a clear understanding of what to expect, and the company positions itself as a caring employer that values transparent relationships with talent.
Align Candidate Communication With Current (and Future) Markets
How can companies adopt communication practices that work in the current candidate’s market? Here are four talent outreach strategies to consider:
1. Hype Up Your Benefits
In a 2016 Glassdoor survey, 57 percent of job seekers said benefits packages were top concerns when evaluating job offers. What does your company have to offer?
Do you provide remote options or flexibility in the workplace? Are your vacation policies unique? Is there room for professional growth? What about company culture? Is your office dog-friendly? Do you provide gym reimbursements? Be open and loud about your benefits to show candidates how integral they are to your company culture and values.
Look at a company like Google, which — before the pandemic — offered free rides to work and on-site massages for employees. Consider IKEA’s four months of parental leave for full- and part-time employees. At our company, we offer free online education through our Next Step U program. In all cases, we’re talking about companies with unique — and uniquely compelling — benefits. Communicating these benefits to candidates ahead of time helps show job seekers yours is a company worth working for.
How has hiring changed for your company? Tell us about today’s job market in the April 2021 Recruiter Index® survey.
2. Highlight Empathy and Safety
Many workers these days are feeling burned out due to increased workloads and the mounting stress of life under a pandemic. If you want to avoid losing your best employees — and you want to keep attracting great new hires — you need to start by showing a little grace.
Weave empathy and awareness into your candidate communication. Start conversations about your company’s commitment to employees’ mental and physical well-being as you plan for a return to the office. Talk about how your company can support employees’ specific needs. For example, many working parents require flexible schedules as they juggle work and at-home learning. Is that something you can offer?
Don’t have the ability to let employees work from home? In that case, you’ll need to tailor your messaging to tell candidates about your safety protocols to ensure they feel safe going into a physical work environment. Be empathetic rather than demanding. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes: What do they need to know in order to feel confident that your company is compassionate, safe, and collaborative?
3. Practice Active Listening
If your candidate feels valued throughout the hiring process, they will be more likely to accept your offer. One of the most effective ways to make applicants feel valued is to solicit their input — and then listen to what they have to say.
For example, we recently interviewed someone who told us she had competing interest from a company that was closer to home. We briefed her on how we envisioned her work with us, told her about our culture, and decided to act quickly. We onboarded this candidate before the other company could even make an offer. If we hadn’t candidly discussed the candidate’s position and acted on what we learned, we would have missed out on a great hire.
4. Be Real About Virtual hiring
Many employers adopted virtual interviews during 2020, and the practice isn’t likely to go anywhere post-pandemic. We’re all still relatively new to virtual hiring, so work with candidates to ensure a productive and pleasant experience for all parties. Remind candidates to find quiet and distraction-free settings, and advise them to test your video interview platform ahead of time.
If you don’t tailor your recruitment messaging for a competitive candidate’s market, your business is at risk of missing out on great talent. When engaging with candidates, be transparent and articulate about where your company stands and what it has to offer.