Advice from HR Pros: The One Thing You Need to Do to Get Great Candidates

What’s the one thing HR professionals need to do to get great candidates? We asked a variety of HR and recruiting professionals. Here are their responses:

Improve Job Postings

Too many people copy and paste the job description into an online posting, says Julie Desmond, Talent Acquisition for Tennant Company, a 3000-employee organization that provides cleaning products and solutions.  

“They forget that there’s a difference between a job posting and a job description,” says Desmond. “A posting should just include the key responsibilities and requirements. A candidate has to see the entire job description during the interview process, but not up front. You wouldn’t try to sell a car by handing out the owner’s manual.”

Move Quickly

Consolidate your hiring process as much as possible so that you can move through it as quickly as possible, says Kari Scanlon, Director Human Resources, Finance and Administration for Touchstone Mental Health, a company that provides holistic mental, social and physical health and wellness services.

“Great candidates will be courted by others and you don’t want to lose out,” says Scanlon. “One way to consolidate your hiring process is to ensure you have several managers ready to interview and let them fill in for each other. Then, you wouldn’t be stuck trying to coordinate calendars.”

Woo Candidates

It’s an equation, says Jennifer Bensusen, Technology Lead/Recruitment Partner at Decision Toolbox, a national recruitment firm that works with companies large and small across the country.

“The first thing HR needs to do is come up with a compelling message to woo talent,” says Bensusen “Candidates are now faced with lots of choices in the marketplace, just as they are trying to differentiate themselves, and so should the employer.  The strong, A-list talent, want to know what’s in it for them? Skills are a match, so why should they leave a current role to come and join the ranks at a new company?”

Make the Interview Process Fantastic

Top candidates are reviewing many different organizations and will make a decision based on their experiences and the individuals they meet, says Elizabeth Morris, Recruitment Partner at Decision Toolbox.

To make the process great from the candidate perspective, consider the following, says Morris:

Be honest: While it’s important to sell the opportunity and the company, top candidates will be interested in and inspired by the challenges they will have the opportunity to solve.

Be interesting: You don’t want to hire robots, and top candidates certainly don’t want to work with robots so show them the real people they are going to be collaborating with and excite them with the team.

Be clear: Make sure all the stakeholders in the hiring process are on the same page as far as the expectations for the position.

Be respectful: The hiring process is the first taste a candidate gets of what it will be like to work at your company and the current team quality.  Be sure to respect candidates’ time, be responsive, and treat them the way you would want them to treat your best customers.

Be transparent in all aspects of the process

Finally, be transparent all aspects of your project, says Andre Lavoie CEO of ClearCompany, a talent management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A Players.

“Use transparency upfront by communicating the timeline of the entire hiring process,” says Lavoie. “Candidates hate being left in the dark and wondering when (or even if) they will hear back on an application or interview. Be proactive and let them know when they can expect feedback and what the next steps are.

Being transparent demonstrates that you respect the candidate’s time and effort. It is the best method for attracting top talent and for improving your quality of hire. When you respect them, they respect you. When your message is clear about what success looks like, they’ll know how to succeed. This one change in your company results in unlimited rewards both in your hiring efforts and in your organization as a whole.

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Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via resumesbymatt.com, connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/mattkrumrie/) and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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