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Candidate journey: 8 trends for a candidate oriented recruiting process

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Yay! The crisis is over. More and more companies are investing, shifting their boundaries and taking new initiatives. The demand for labour increases, while the supply is permanently shrinking. The labour market is getting more and more tight, illustrated by several phenomena. Quite a few important domains suffer from a scarcity of manpower. Employers struggle to attract and bind the best talents for crucial positions. The employee is again in the driver’s seat. Putting the candidate central in the recruitment process will be essential in 2017. What does your potential employee want? In this blog I will describe 8 trends that recruiters cannot avoid.

What does a candidate expect from an employer in 2017?

#1 Meaning

People are more and more searching for meaning. Both in private and business life. Simon Sinek describes in his bestseller ‘Start with WHY’ that successful businesses with a clear and appealing goal are significantly performing better than their competitors. In this video he explains Apple’s success according to his Golden Circle.

If you want to win the war for talent in this challenging market, you have to make use of this knowledge to attract new employees for your organisation. The WHY is central in the candidate journey. Why does the organisation exist? What are you all working for? What does this entail for every individual employee? Why would you work for this organisation? What do you miss out on if you don’t work here? This approach is definitely essential for the generation Y, but surely applies to other age segments as well.

#2 Cultural fit

Career, power, salary. It seems like these things are getting less important to certain labour market segments. More important is for instance, besides the meaning and significance of a job, the culture of the organisation. People want to feel at home and relate to the core values, characteristics and ambitions of the organisation for which they are working. Employers and recruiters also recognize the importance of a Cultural Fit, and that is reflected in the recruiting process.

Seems logical, but did you know that around 10 years ago, barely any employer was concerned about this? And that while research has proven that this increases the involvement and decreases the decline. Some respondents even indicate that they would be willing to turn in some of their salary in exchange for a better Cultural Fit.

#3 The story behind the supply

Content is important. Prove for this can be seen in the rise of storytelling in marketing. People attach less value to commercial expressions, advertising, sales pitches, etc. Instead, they rely more on other people’s stories and visible proof of the effect of products. These findings can be used in recruitment by implementing storytelling in your organisation. Let your own employees do the talking, show how it really is to work in your organisation, and what the potential employees can contribute themselves. Explain in vacancy descriptions what the function specifically entails.

#4 Be found, instead of searching yourself

Post and Pray; forget it. This is the time of outbound sourcing. We know that Millennials do not want to search for a job themselves, but rather want organisations to approach them. Being seen. Being recognized. Being in the spotlights. Of course this also applies to other talent. The best candidates are simply not always actively searching for another job, though they could be open to an attractive offer. Smart searching and sourcing remains extremely important for successful recruitment. Convenient tools in your ATS, like talentpooling, Textkernel Search & Match!, but also LinkedIn, boolean search and Referral Recruitment all contribute to find and approach that one perfectly suitable candidate. But that is not everything.

#5 Be well-known

The time of cold acquisition is far behind us. In marketing as well as in recruitment. Searching a high potential, sending an email, having a conversation and closing the deal; this is not how it works anymore. Candidates desire a warm approach. They want to be addressed by someone who know what they want and what them motivates. It is thus essential to get to know your candidate before you approach them. Define your labour market segments and describe them as detailed as possible. A good way to start is to conduct a labour market research, an extensive profile examination, and an investigation into motivations and pull factors. Take this procedure to a higher level and get to know the potential candidate personally. There are many possibilities to do so. Through your own employees (referrals), relations, activities on social media, behaviour on your own website or blogs, in personal meetings etc.

#6 Form a relationship

In order to really get to know someone, you must commit to a sustainable relationship. Know your target group, discover what interests them and start the communication in an early stage. Content marketing has become vital in modern marketing and also recruitment embraces this concept in 2017. It helps you to be visible and relevant for your potential candidates from your target group, at the right moment, in the right place. This way you are and stay top of mind with your valuable potentials. In our whitepaper Contentmarketing for Recruitment, we provide many practical examples, tips and a checklist to help you implement a content strategy in your recruitment.
A personal approach is important in all stages of the candidate journey. Content marketing assists you in this process, but obviously does not come close to ‘the real thing’: personal contact. So send that personal email, make a phone call, go for the personal meeting.

#7 Personal and meaningful contact

Attracting a candidate for a function is one of the most crucial contact moments. Corporates in charge of their own recruitment have an advantage in this. Research has proven that potential candidates often prefer not to speak to an (external) recruiter. They rather wish to have direct contact with the employer, or even better, the direct manager. Potential talent wants to speak with someone who is completely on top of the nature of both the function and the organisation. Who is not familiar with the stories of talented IT-professionals who delete their profiles on social networking platforms. Purely because they are fed up with constantly getting approached. Do you want to awaken the interests of real scarce talent, then your challenge lies in offering the right proposals, at the right time, in the right place and via the right person.

#8 Fast and smooth application procedure

Once a candidate shows interest in a certain function, it is essential to take quick action. In an overloaded market with a fierce war for talent, opportunities are easily missed. Put the candidate central in the application procedure, and not your process. Determine per candidate what the essential stages are and which can be skipped. Make sure the trajectory flows smoothly, without getting tied up in red tape/unnecessary burdens. Investigate where you procedure can be simplified, for instance through a good mobile accessibility, video applying, or online testing.

And essential: make sure every stage is a pleasant experience. Think about how every step can contribute to deliver a positive candidate experience. Give the touchpoints a personal twist, provide useful information, offer nice extras and make sure the candidates feel they are important to you. Everyone knows the importance, yet not many employers measure the Candidate Experience. Measurements should be conducted in various phases of the candidate journey, just like customer satisfaction in the sales process. A handy tool for this is the Net Promoter Score NPS from Growpromoter, with whom we have organised a webinar last year. But conducting research can of course easily be done with tools like SurveyMonkey as well.

What will you be dealing with in 2017?

This blog provided some insights to improve your candidate experience. Are you fully focussing on your candidate? What issues will you address in 2017? What lies at the heart of your recruitment? Do you have any more tips? I am looking forward to hear your input. Would you like to know more about how Connexys can aid to boost your candidate experience? My colleagues are pleased to inform you!