Business success is clearly linked to the work of employees, it’s no wonder they’re regarded as an organizations most important asset. However, many organizations often fail to see current job applicants as their future leaders and playmakers. Statistics show that today the average person will have seven or more jobs throughout their career, often on very different paths. Now more than ever businesses must value their applicants before a competitor obtains the benefits of their skill and knowledge.
Just like any great dynasty in sports, in business, we must always be adding talent to ensure the powerhouse we’ve created continues to grow.
I’m going to share a few proven techniques so that your organization is the number one choice.
1. Application Feedback
A simple thank you goes a long way; this is also the case with job applicants. They just spent a lot of time fine tuning a resume and cover letter in hopes of impressing XYZ Inc. After rereading it numerous times (seriously… I’ve done it before) they feel ready to submit and hear nothing but digital crickets.
Some applicants, especially the “passionate” ones, may begin to fear that they made a mistake applying because there wasn’t any kind of acknowledgement or confirmation of their application and that feeling sucks. For the less neurotic (myself not included) they may simply feel a bit undervalued until they apply to ABC Co. who send a short “ thank you”.
Something as simple as acknowledging an applicant’s interest will begin to nurture a positive relationship with a prospective future employee.
2. Defined timeline and application process
Everyone has been in the situation where they apply for a job and check their phone every hour to ensure they don’t miss the call or email inviting them to begin the interview process. Sometimes it takes a day, sometimes a week and sometimes even a month or more. When an applicant doesn’t understand the timeline or steps involved in the interview process they’re left wondering and who wants that?
A great way to keep candidates invested is to keep them in the loop. Providing an estimated timeline for when initial interviews will be held and explaining the process keeps XYZ Inc. at the top of the applicant’s mind and reduces the likelihood of applicants searching for employment elsewhere.
3. Market your company
What’s worse than losing out on hiring a future industry leader?
Having them choose another company after you’ve offered a job, it’s like not getting that special date for the prom.
Great applicants usually have great opportunities and this is why marketing a business even during the hiring process is a wise decision. The goal is to be the most desirable option to talented employees. Every business wants the best human capital but only those that invest in attracting and retaining quality employees get the top talent.
By following up throughout the hiring and selection process with marketing material showcasing your company, the applicants will view the business as progressive, employee oriented and desirable. The types of materials could include employee testimonials, “a day in the life of”, corporate culture, mission, vision and organizational values as well as anything that showcases the organization’s most attractive qualities. The goal is to create an emotional connection between the applicant and business.
4. Preview the job
This should be a given.
Candidates want to know what they’re getting into when applying to and accepting a new job. The most important step is to create a detailed and accurate job description that includes all duties, accountabilities and requirements for the job. Doing so provides applicants with a clear understanding of the position and expectations. A wonderful bonus is a reduction in poor or unqualified applicants, creating less screening work for human resources!
Organizations should include this discussion as part of the selection process. Managers need to set clear expectations and ensure people understand their role. The goal is to paint the most accurate picture possible to create a strong understanding of the job, which will improve staff retention. Here’s a tip, consider including an employee working in the same or similar job as part of the interview process.
5. Provide feedback to all serious applicants
Closure is a beautiful thing and feedback is incredibly valuable, why not provide both to the serious applicants who came up short.
Unsuccessful candidates who make it the whole way through the selection process are still very desirable and may be a great fit for a position down the road. By providing appreciation and constructive feedback, candidates can learn from the experience and strengthen weaknesses. When future opportunities arise, it’s quite possible that the nearly successful applicants will reapply, this time bringing more to the interview table.
Donny McGrath, Development Solutions Strategist