29 Nov 2018

How to Set Up Successful Talent Acquisition: tips & tricks

By: Pieterjan Standaert

Make impact in recruitment and attract qualified candidates


Whether the labor market is tight or not: employers and staffing and recruiting agencies are constantly giving their best to attract and hire the best candidates. We listened to experts in the field who shared their secrets in recruiting the best man for the job. In this blog, we share four best practices on how to be successful in talent acquisition.

Tip 1: Be sure to have a Candidate Centered Approach

Still, too many employers and agencies take their own goals, technology, and processes as a starting point for recruitment. A sure loss! Especially now, when scarce and highly qualified candidates have the luxury of choosing their dream job from a lot of tempting offers. Sure, you must let technology work for you. And of course, you can profit by implementing an ATS or recruiting system and automate your workflows as smoothly as possible. But once you’ve optimized your recruitment processes, integrated all relevant software applications, implemented all kinds of smart apps and features, then it’s time for the real stuff. Engage with your candidate!

Step into the shoes of your candidate
Get to know exactly what the potential candidate wants. Investigate his needs and wishes, step into his shoes, and start your journey. Pretending to be your candidate surfing on the web, can you find your website or your job opening at all? And once you’re there, what’s it like for a visitor? Can you easily find relevant jobs? How persuasive is the content? Do you find all relevant content that will convince you to apply for the job? Can you submit your application in a pleasant and user friendly manner?

And after applying, what’s next? Do you receive a proper reply at all? How do you feel after being rejected? And if you are invited for an interview, how is the selection procedure? Do you feel special? Happy? Get a complete picture of your Candidate Journey, acknowledge every step of the way and every possible touch point you have with your candidate. Then, think about how you can make all points of contact special. Make the candidate feel precious, one of a kind, and exceptional. Because he is.

Tip 2: Be aware of the emotions

In a research done on behalf of job aggregator Indeed, respondents were asked to rank their emotions during different events in their lives. The results indicate that work related events are highly impactful for a person’s well being. In particular changing jobs is generally considered as very stressful. The period of looking for change and applying for a job (the candidate journey) can bring on a rollercoaster of emotions and stress for job seekers.

Source: Indeed Presentation TA Live - Mapping the Emotional Peaks & Valleys of the Hiring Journey

So, if you are trying to recruit a potential candidate, it’s essential to be aware of these emotions. Because then you can rise to the occasion. You know exactly at what time you must allay concerns and address uncertainties and when you can take up on the good vibes the candidate is feeling. Sara Couwenbergh, Recruitment Evangelist at Indeed, suggests that you map the complete candidate journey. Then, for each stage, determine the Peaks and Valleys your candidate is confronted with on his way to becoming your valued employee. Once you know what the possible obstacles and the highlights are, you can determine how you can seize every opportunity to address the questions and concerns he has and listen to the things he wants to share.

A perfect example of taking care of the emotions of your candidates is the Dutch Reinier de Graaf Hospital. They organize a  'sollicitantenspreekuur' , a special meeting in which they give rejected candidates tips and tricks for their next applications.  And that brings us to the next tip.

Tip 3: Conversation will replace Content

Content marketing is a hot topic in recruitment. Increasingly, recruiters become confident that inbound recruitment marketing and content marketing are key for every leading employer and Staffing & Recruitment agency. True, an attractive website with a good user experience, interesting and authentic content and tempting job offers are essential for successful hiring. Still, this year at Talent Acquisition Live, Recruitment Guru Bill Boorman stated: ‘Conversation will replace Content’. HR and recruitment is a people business. There is nothing more important than personal engagement and real one on one conversations. So, in your website content, always look for a way to interact with your audience. Ask candidates who have applied for a job how they experienced the candidate journey. Inquire how you can help them and how you can improve their journey.

The approach of our client TMC is a nice example of this trend. Their website is completely designed around starting the conversation with potential new employees. 

Alos, be truly social on social media. Act like a human being. Not only you will hire more and better candidates, but you will surely have more fun doing your work. To quote Bill Boorman one more time: 

“If you act like a robot, you will be replaced by a robot.” 

Tip 4: Personalize your e-mails

To keep in touch with promising candidates, you can let technology save you a lot of work. In your recruiting system you can arrange sending e-mails regularly to selected persons or target groups. Using templates with personalized fields can add a personal touch to each message. In this way, you can keep the conversation going during the whole candidate journey. Sending e-mails can really be worth your while, also for successful hunting and starting a conversation. At Talent Acquisition Live, Tech recruiter Sofia Broberger of one of the Nordic's biggest television companies, Bonnier Broadcasting, shared her best practice. She achieved a 69% reply rate from highly scarce developers she is hunting. Her recipe: well targeted e-mail campaigns, including relevant content and context. Sofia shared some valuable tips.

# Create a series of e-mails
Don’t hold back. Surveys show that it's worthwhile to keep trying. If your first e-mail doesn’t get an answer, try again. And again. And again. Sofia determined 4 specific touch points all with a different approach and different content. All e-mail rounds achieved fairly equal conversion rates. Noteworthy is her tip to send the 3rd e-mail from another person in the company, for example the hiring manager or a future team member. Make sure that each e-mail has a unique message and refers to unique content.

# Write a striking subject line
Your e-mail has competition from a lot of other e-mails in your prospect’s inbox. So get his attention and make your point. Include the USP of the job directly in the subject line.

# Get personal
In your outreach, introduce yourself and make clear why you contact that specific person. Don´t just add the link to the job ad. Give information about the role and explain why you think he is perfect for the job. And, even more important, tell why you think this job is perfect for that specific person.

# Include a CTA in each e-mail
Just like every e-mail should have unique content, it also must have a unique Call To Action (CTA). In every e-mail, offer the recipient different options so he can decide how to proceed. Does he want to hear more about the job over coffee? Or does he want to read more about job and the company first? Is he interested in your expert seminar? Or perhaps he’s not available but knows someone who might be interested.

How candidate centered is your approach?

Are you ready to implement a candidate driven online recruitment process? What’s your next step? Have you ever considered using a design thinking method? We’ve learned from experience that this is a very effective and inspiring way to develop a successful strategy. Reach out to us. We’d love to share our expertise. Let’s get together and explore the opportunities to boost talent acquisition at your company.