How to Engage and Win Today’s Top Candidates

Lean into how you go about engaging with candidates. Put your focus where it matters most, on attracting (and retaining) the right people.
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Top Talent never has to worry about finding a job. Every employer wants the best. And today, even the majority of employed people are looking or are at least open to new opportunities for higher pay or better working conditions. The truth is that most candidates still consider, searching for a job, one of the most stressful experiences in their lives.

Candidate engagement amounts to the sum of all the critical “little” things you do throughout the hiring process — the ones that make people feel valued and respected and enable you to successfully compete for their talent.

Despite all the talk about the Great Resignation, most people want to work, but not just for any company. They want to work for the right kind of company. A definition that has dramatically changed in recent years.

It seems everything related to work is challenging and uncertain these days, making it difficult for any employer to feel in control. Don’t revert to past practices — my advice is, to lean into those things you can control. One of them is how you go about engaging with candidates. Put your focus where it matters most, on attracting (and retaining) the right people.

Despite all the talk about the Great Resignation, most people want to work, but not just for any company. They want to work for the right kind of company.

Here are the essentials for successful candidate engagement:

Positive employer brand. You cannot control how your employees describe you, nor can you hide the impressions you make on vendors and customers. This means you can’t just say who you are as an organization, you have to be it. A strong employment brand clearly communicates your workplace culture, mission, and values. It gives potential candidates a compelling reason to consider you as their next employer, and a reason for current employees to stay.

Watching trends and expectations. Today’s candidates have moved from having to accept whatever employers used to mandate, to demanding more humane environments. They want cultures based on empathy, flexibility, purpose, safety, work/life balance, transparency, inclusiveness, and fairness. Trends are leaning toward remote and hybrid work, well-being, and personal accommodation. Pay attention to them.

Personalize the experience. While there is a definite trend toward automation in recruiting, the human touch is still powerful and important, and increasingly valued by candidates looking for human-centered workplaces. Develop relationships with candidates in over 10-12 touchpoints. Send those cards and letters!

Communicate effectively. There are many ways to communicate with candidates; find the right balance of timeliness and relevancy for individual candidates so you don’t risk turning them off by not keeping them updated.

Trends are leaning toward remote and hybrid work, well-being, and personal accommodation. Pay attention to them.

Lead with empathy. Empathy requires a willingness to take yourself off center stage, be vulnerable, and not judge. Empathy is now considered by many to be the most important trait of the best leaders. Make candidates aware that in your organization, you dare to care about your people, creating the kind of human-centric culture candidates and employees everywhere are looking for. Don’t just say what you aspire to be as an organization, you have to actually be it.

Talk in stories. Storytelling is the best way to get to the truth. When both organization and candidate are putting only their best foot forward, they forget that it takes two feet to get where they want to go. By inserting storytelling into the interview process, you elicit greater authenticity, make stronger connection, and are the one who is remembered. Storytelling should not replace your normal interview questions and assessments; but it helps you look beyond skills and experience, to attitude and cultural fit. It gives you a broader and deeper look at each other, leading to better, more lasting employment decisions.

Streamline recruitment. If your hiring process stretches on for too long, you risk losing candidates to a competitor who acts more quickly. Ensure that your process is speedy and highly responsive, and that there are no roadblocks for hiring managers.

 

Consider your hiring practices and processes both thoughtfully and strategically. You’ll never have trouble engaging top candidates if you remember that everything about your business begins with people, not profits.

 

Kathleen Quinn VotawKathleen Quinn Votaw is Founder/CEO and Speaker/Author of TalenTrust and KQV Speaks. Her first book, Solve the People Puzzle: How High-Growth Companies Attract and Retain Top Talent, debuted in February 2016; with the second book, Dare to Care in the Workplace: A Guide to the New Way We Work and related Podcast launched between 2021-2022.
Kathleen and her firm have achieved many recognitions from many well-known organizations, including ColoradoBiz Magazine, Vistage Worldwide, and the coveted Inc. 5000 for two consecutive years. Kathleen is a regularly published columnist and popular speaker on topics related to HR strategies and workplace culture. Reach Kathleen at kvotaw@talentrust.com or (303) 838-3334.
Categories: Business Insights, Management & Leadership