If you're like most, however, the reality is much messier. Many companies leak candidates, and their process looks like this:
You may be thinking, "Wait a minute. The whole point of recruiting is to exclude people while narrowing down to just one lucky person." You're right. But sometimes we can lose good candidates, or miss out on engaging with them at the outset.
Good recruiting is about engaging with the most strong candidates in the first place, and engaging with them in a process of mutual learning, until a successful outcome.
A Diagnostic: How Leak-Proof Is Your Recruiting?
Below are 10 approaches that help to retain the right candidates.
To what extent do these apply in your case?
Defining the role
1. We're clear about what we're looking for at the beginning. The more we change our target as we go, the more we'll miss out on the right people.
Marketing the role
2. Our job specs and other branding messages make our company and opportunity sing. We've even market-tested them.
3. We go beyond "post and pray." We also approach prospects in a proactive and personalized way to surface more good people.
4. Our interviewers are good at selling the opportunity. And we train the interviewing team on how to conduct a predictive, strong interview. We know that "go interview this person and tell me if you like them" is poor guidance.
5. We evaluate candidates not just with interviews, but also through other assessments.
Closing the deal
6. We seek to understand a candidate's goals and job acceptance criteria from the beginning of the process. This is helpful when crafting and closing the deal.
7. Our conversations with references are as productive as they can be. In fact, these reference calls often surface new candidates or new business for our company.
Process and feedback
8. We maintain an institutional memory of good prospects we've talked to in the past, so we get a running start for each new search.
9. Our speed is like Goldilocks: fast enough to not lose candidates to other opportunities, but measured enough to make good decisions.
10. We give prompt and sensitive feedback to candidates, so they leave with a positive impression of us. And we actively solicit feedback from candidates to improve our process.
If you see many areas where you lose people, you're…. normal. Many companies struggle to have efficient, transparent, authentic, and predictive recruiting processes.
And that means that you have an opportunity:
Optimize each step and you will have a bigger and better funnel. Or optimize one step and your outcomes will still improve.
If your process is just a tad better than your competitors', you will differentiate your company. And you will win a higher quality and quantity of candidates.
If your process is a LOT better, you will substantially differentiate your company and engage with even more good candidates.
My challenge to you: Pick one part of the process. Just one! And improve it.
Maybe it's the area where you are losing the most candidates. Or where you risk missing out on the best candidates. Or the area that will be fastest to fix.
• Look for an opportunity to delight. Delight and recruiting are seldom used in the same sentence. But again, opportunity abounds here. I read about one company that sends cookies to people on their dream list on their birthday (real, yummy cookies – not browser cookies!) to stay in touch. It's a delighter that can jump-start searches.
• Attract more attention at the top of the funnel. Increase the proportion of people you reach out to proactively. This is what retained recruiters do, and it takes time, but it tends to work.
• Identify a key moment of truth where you can make or break the candidate experience. For instance, you could do a mutual feedback session with candidates, to show your willingness to improve and give them an understanding of how their candidacy struck you. (Consult your lawyers first!)
There are several other moments of truth that you can 'own.' For instance: The moment when someone arrives for an interview. The moment they receive a job offer. The time between them accepting an offer and starting at your company. How will you make those moments count?