You only get one chance to make a first impression, which is why recruiters always stress the importance of dressing for success and staying positive. It’s not impossible to overcome a first impression, but you’re putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage if you skulk into an interview wearing a Tommy Bahama club shirt and complain about your last boss. It’s an important lesson for candidates, but it’s just as important for our clients and anyone that wants to land the top talent.
Just like the candidate walking into your office should be putting their best foot forward, you should be putting your A-game on display. People will make assumptions about your organization based on everything from how the interview develops to what kind of candy is on the receptionist’s desk. That’s not an invitation to roll out the smoke and mirrors, but you should be aware that the candidate isn’t the only one under the microscope during the hiring process.
This assessment starts long before candidates decide to send you a resume and, if you’re not creating the right impression, you could be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Granted, presenting your company in the best light is more complicated than choosing which shirt to wear to an interview, but identifying your strengths and thinking about your audience will go a long way.
If your brand has a unique voice, don’t write your job postings in standard business-speak. (In fact, avoid that whenever possible.) If you’re looking for a creative graphic designer, a standard text job ad might not be the best bet. If the opportunity you’re looking for has a broad mandate, sell the candidate on the possibilities! As long as you keep it consistent with reality, you’ll get a lot more traction with your target audience.
If your website, social media presence and branding support the story you’re telling in a job posting, fantastic. If not, you can own the fact that things are a little different behind the scenes. If you keep it honest, focus on the positive and inject some personality into the process, people will connect with your company. Once they’re invested, they’ll start to sell you on why you need them. This makes your job easier and can help you hook the candidates that are looking for more than just a job.
The next step is to make sure that whoever is doing your interviews is on the same page as the person doing the job postings. Nothing will kill a candidate’s energy faster than walking into an inquisition when they thought they were going to the circus. If the HR person doesn’t smile much, a wingman with a sense of humor can reassure a candidate that the office is as welcoming as it sounded on the website.
If you focus on honesty, consistency and personality, you’ll find more candidates come knocking and it won’t be so hard to convince the good ones to make the switch. Your organization has something unique to offer, so don’t hide that behind a job description template and a careers page. Let your culture come through and reap the benefits of employee engagement.
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Cody Pierson is the Marketing Manager at Martyn Bassett Associates, Toronto's premiere executive recruitment firm. If you're working in the GTA and need help staying connected to your industry, get in touch with us at www.mbassett.com
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