3 Ideas for Winning Talent in a Candidate-Driven Marketplace

With unemployment down and turnover up, it’s pretty clear that the current recruiting market is candidate-driven. Because attracting top talent never stops being a priority for businesses looking to thrive, it’s important for HR professionals and recruiters to optimize their offerings. Here are a few ways HR and recruiters can leverage and improve their organization’s current candidate offerings to compete:

Evaluate and emphasize employer branding.

You likely have marketers dedicated to creating familiarity with your product and consumer brand. They’re experts at communicating what you sell or what you do and why it is excellent. One of the ways to make your organization more attractive is to put them to work marketing what makes your workplace attractive and improving your employer brand. To do that:

**· **Evaluate how your employer brand is currently portrayed by looking at online reviews on sites like Glassdoor, or survey employees to see what they think about their job and workplace.

**· **Analyze the good and bad aspects the reviews and surveys bring up. The negative feedback can help you improve your brand and the positive feedback will help you identify key areas to focus on in your brand marketing.

**· **Create a plan for highlighting and communicating the positive aspects of your employer brand to current employees, candidates, and the community.

With your marketer’s knowledge and your recruiting expertise, you’ll be able to create an employer brand that’s bound to catch the eye of talented candidates. If you don’t have an internal marketing team, there’s a wealth of online articles, webinars, and guides dedicated to employer branding that you can check out.

Create a great candidate experience.

Gone are the days of the “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” recruiting mentality. That being said, candidates who expect recruiters to roll out a red carpet and bend over backward might not be the ones you’d like to have as employees. Instead of catering to every whim, just provide an unmatched experience.

**· **Personalized contact: Developing a relationship with candidates is a great way to help them feel connected to your organization. Having personal contact with every candidate—whether that’s simply a personalized email or a quick phone call—can set you apart from the automated responses, or worse, unresponsiveness that are so common.

**· **Time consideration: Applicants often won’t tolerate lengthy application or interview processes because they have so many options. Be considerate when scheduling interviews, balancing the time you need with consideration of their schedule as to not drive away highly-sought candidates.

**· **Transparency: Establish trust with candidates by being transparent throughout the process. Be clear about next steps, upfront about what the job entails, and even give candidates a little taste of what it’s actually like to work at your organization with an office tour where they can chat candidly with employees.

By thinking through the candidate experiences, you’ll be able to improve and attract more of those candidates. Create relationships, make the process easy and comfortable, and give the candidates a transparent look into what happens at your company and they’ll be more excited about pursuing an employee experience, too.

Consider total compensation.

As recruiters, it can be frustrating when candidates don’t take the time to see the whole picture of what we’re offering. It’s often much more than your standard paycheck and benefits. But the truth is, we’re the ones painting the picture. Even if we can’t snap our fingers and magically create a Google-worthy benefits package, we have a lot of control over the way we communicate about our organization has to offer that others don’t. Here are some benefits you can emphasize:

**· **Company culture: You might not have a great company culture to communicate about yet, but HR professionals do have a lot of influence over workplace environments. So, you may start by gathering the stakeholders and nailing down a company mission or values, then communicating those. Or, if you already have a great culture, make sure candidates see how rich their work experience could be with your organization.

**· **Flexibility: Whether it’s the ability to set their own hours, work from home, or the workweek to 40 hours, flexibility can be immensely attractive. If your organization offers this, communicate it because it’s valuable to candidates. It can also set you apart.

**· **Unique benefits: You might have benefits that candidates never know about until after they’ve started the job. Any seemingly small benefit can make a big difference to candidates weighing their options. So be sure to outline everything from health plan highlights (like EAPs, company portion of the premium, etc.) to training or educational reimbursements to holidays and time off. Every single benefit matters.

While it’s important to advocate for valuable benefits, it’s just as important to effectively work with what you have access to. Take a look at every single benefit you offer employees—from the environment to flexibility and any other detail in between—and make sure candidates know about them. This will help you paint a more accurate compensation picture that goes beyond a paycheck and basic benefits.

Although the current recruiting market seems stacked against recruiters, it actually provides a great opportunity to prove how vital your role is to the organization. Create a positive employer brand, provide a winning experience, and be sure highlight everything you provide employees, and you’ll be able to attract top talent more effectively.