Published Date: 06/30/2014
By Reneé Watkins
In an improving job market the hunt for top talent is becoming increasingly competitive. Along with the difficulty in identifying high-end performers, we are again faced with the issue of making certain they choose us over the other guys. Interviews are now two-fold. We are interviewing the candidates for a position and they are interviewing us for a career.
We already have enough information regarding the job opening and the organization to draw some conclusions at the end of an interview as to whether that candidate is a good fit for the position we are trying to fill. The candidate is usually well-prepared to answer any questions we have regarding their skills and experience, as they already know their own story better than anyone. So, from our perspective, all the key elements are there for what the organization hopes to get from the recruiting process.
Most candidates, however, come into the interview process with questions regarding the organization and the role he or she will fill. They are already interested in the opportunity or they would not be here. Now, we need to keep their interest so they do not walk out the door as quickly as they walked in. To that end, there are three areas we should always focus upon:
Applying for an opportunity is usually stressful for the candidate, often accompanied by feelings of risk and apprehension. A positive interview experience can help to alleviate their fears. Take advantage of the fact that you have the candidate’s undivided attention during this part of the process. This first opportunity to learn more about your organization is a powerful moment that must be used to the fullest extent. Make sure your candidate understands the next steps – what to expect and when. Then, make sure those commitments are met. Create dialogue with emails or “thank you” notes designed to continue conversation well beyond that first interview to keep their interest alive.
Recruiting, similar to sales, is very much a numbers game. The more qualified candidates you identify and speak with, the higher the probability you will quickly fill a specific opening. However, there are not enough hours in the day to be “hands on” in both the identification of qualified candidates and working them through the interview process. As stated above, the candidate experience is a critical area on which to focus your energies. Therefore, invest in the technology necessary to automate the identification of top talent quickly and in large volumes. If you want to catch a lot of fish, you have to cast a wide net. Once caught you can narrow the pool and provide a personal touch to those candidates who are most qualified.
Some companies create a candidate pool only when necessary due to a large number of openings to fill. Others, very wisely, continue to identify potential candidates for future openings within their organization. From interns to senior team members, the difference is defined by the degree of experience a candidate can bring to the table. In many respects, we are recruiting for a finite number of position “types” across the organization at any given time. If our recruiting needs are therefore constant, and somewhat predictable, our pipeline should be constant also. Keep openings on your career webpage, and interview applicants for future positions. Stay in touch with candidates you would like to bring on board the next time an opening presents itself. These are ways to ensure quick hires when you do get that sudden large number of openings to fill.
Recruiting success is the ability to identify high-quality talent who can bring value and blend into an established team, adding increased productivity and performance. Creating and maintaining a pool of viable candidates for your most frequent openings is an excellent way to lay the necessary foundation for such success.