Talent Acquisition

Recruiters, Here’s Why You SUCK at Attracting Good People

You’re trying to find the right candidates but you suck at attracting really good people…but, why?

Here are three problems that need solving:

1) Your careers page:

Too much corporate b*llocks, not enough visual content – we need simpler & more obvious information, please! The biggest problem with most company career pages is that there’s just too much corporate drivel to read through and most of it doesn’t have associated pictures or videos – certainly not high-quality, engaging content. While some smart companies do feature a few videos (some even with actual employees), most places fail at this very simple innovation. Less corporate blurb, no bland job descriptions & more employee insight and company information via video and visual content would increase applications, reduce cost per hire, reduce the time for candidates to apply, and increase customer satisfaction.

Funny thing: none of this even requires technology solutions! This is just common sense – shorter, simpler, more visual content!

Why isn’t this widely adopted, even if offline? Well, probably because no one has systematically demonstrated improved business economics/candidate satisfaction that comes from simpler, more visual career pages. However, we’ve seen it proven in other industries, seems likely high-quality pics of your office will convert better, the same way that high-quality pics of rentals convert better.

Less stuff, more pictures. Seems obvious, right?

But 99% of companies don’t do it.

READ MORE: A Good Career Page is Like a Tasty Burger

2) Not enough information:

Not online, no compelling company story, no reviews, no friends, not personal.

Most companies today have a website – though probably not a mobile website or app, a Facebook page, Pinterest page, LinkedIn page, or Twitter handle – but probably no socially integrated ATS (applicant tracking system) or other methods of keeping in touch with future talent through social media. Facebook likes and Twitter followers don’t equal interested candidates. In fact, STOP tweeting your jobs to your followers or Facebook fans – you’re turning me off your brand! 99% of the time I follow you because I like you or think you’re mildly amusing, not because I want to work for you. Companies mostly have no way of keeping great candidates engaged in what they are doing as an employee culture (if they have a culture to speak of at all). (Note to reader: no one is reading your boring company posts on LinkedIn!) But let’s presume sometime in the next few years, companies figure out how to engage me in their vision and deliver great content to me – a potential star candidate that is interested in joining your business.

Well, what could we do with that? What problems would that solve?

  1. First, it would be great if the company knew something about my application history with them and my user profile data, and customized the job selection to my desired career path. Obviously, if I’m looking to move functions or countries, it would be a high priority to match job opportunities with my specific lifestyle choices or development needs. This would again streamline choice, reduce time & confusion, and increase customer/candidate satisfaction. Also, new jobs could be recommended that might broaden my horizons, and like to interview.
  2. Second, if there were any kind of online reviews, it would be great to combine this with the actual job itself so I can see whether other people loved or hated specific aspects of the role I’m applying for. Sites like Glassdoor and The Job Crowd can be useful (side note: I’ve never seen a company provide negative reviews on its own career page… although as a candidate occasionally if I ask the interviewer, they might tell me what they think sucks about the job or company. If/when this happens, I immediately establish a better relationship with the company and hiring manager. It builds such tremendous trust when someone tells me what they suck at, and invariably increases my engagement).
  3. Third, it would be even better if I could see if any of my friends had interviewed or worked at this company before and whether they liked or hated anything in particular. My level of trust would go up even more, and likely our connection to the company and each other would increase frequency/retention, without even doing any active marketing on this subject.
  4. Fourth, by managing candidate application history, profile & career ambitions, and social connectivity, it should be easy to implement a loyalty program and retention marketing program for candidates that could increase application quality, customer satisfaction, and frequency. Both individual and group incentives/referrals could provide strong motivation to candidates to think about applying more often; apply today and if you’re successful we’ll give you a nice £2,000 signing-on bonus!! Why pay a recruiter £15,000 when you can reward your new recruit with a cheeky bonus of a tenth of the cost? And, by aggregating data across the entire candidate field, companies should be able to learn how to optimize their hiring strategy, salary ranges, and sourcing campaigns dramatically better than ever before.

3) Having to wait FOREVER….:

Obviously, one of the biggest pains in the backside when you’re interviewing is waiting to hear back from the company, not knowing if your CV has been chucked in the bin or if they are just slow off the mark. Also if you’ve applied online you might:

  1. still need a Job spec or
  2. have a question about something in the Job Spec, or
  3. need some more company information, or
  4. want to tell them something that’s not on your CV, or
  5. I’m going on holiday next week can we move this along? or
  6. hey I’d like to know the salary, or
  7. hey I’d really like to know whether I’m still being considered or

(ahem… sorry, lost the plot there for a sec… but you get the picture)

In a world filled with instant messaging, real-time tweets, alerts & notifications, we can’t seem to solve a basic attention/awareness problem – that is, getting some underpaid, overworked recruiter to pay attention to me and my annoying needs 24x7x365. Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad, but I’m sure you’ve been there and furthermore, the recruiter probably thinks you’re the neediest, annoying pain in the arse ever too, and probably aren’t going to even turn up anyway, so why should they bother?

In any case, being able to message and connect with the recruiter/hiring manager, and being able to communicate safely online and whenever you want is likely to improve candidate satisfaction (and worker satisfaction!) dramatically, as well as likely reduce the hiring time and streamline overall operations. Not to mention, having the ability to check and track the progress of your application online and the ability to modify and add content as you go would be absolutely awesome. Again, being able to combine applications with prior history, social referrals, and customized material could be absolutely huge.

Furthermore, the opportunity for the company to keep you engaged while you’re waiting to hear back or in between interview stages can be a great benefit. Whether this is sending you relevant content on the company culture or interview tips via clever video content whilst your application is being processed, the application never loses momentum. I’m confident many models will emerge that optimize candidate enjoyment as well as company economics. This amount of engagement may not appeal to everyone, but for anyone who gets fidgety halfway through an application process, you know what a lifesaver regular communication can be when you’re about to pull out your hair or commit mass murder.

Hiring Good People is Mission-Critical Business. And It Can Be Done a LOT Better.

Well, I hope I’ve enlightened you and piqued your imagination about the opportunity to make a regular experience like attracting and engaging talent MUCH better via the use of technology and online tools. As mentioned above, this is a HUGE market. All good companies need people to thrive, and many of us take a career move at least every 3-5 years. We waste untold amounts of time executing a very inefficient and highly unsatisfactory recruitment experience for candidates when it could be a totally amazing, and AWESOME experience – which is what finding new talent should be in the first place.

Author: Chris Platts is the founder of Talent Rocket a London-based start-up. He’s a former executive recruiter and current recruitment advisor to many startup companies and multinational organizations. Chris shares charming stuff on the topics of career optimization, hiring talent, HR, social media, start-ups, and technology. 

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