In today’s market place attracting the ‘right’ candidate to your growing organisation will be vital for your success; yet making that happen consistently is one of the biggest challenges in the current market place.
Many sectors are experiencing a worldwide skills shortage and Mckinsey went into depth on this very topic with its global themes report, which ahead of its time in 2012, seems even more valid today.
In recruiter speak many recruitment agencies (rather than specific search consultancies) will talk to you about the challenge of finding the right passive candidate for your software sales role.
In other words, the highly skilled software sales pro that remains hidden; only coming out to play for the right opportunity in the right organisation.
It might be logical therefore to leave this in the hands of your internal recruiter who with a well-placed advert and Linkedin campaign will attract the exact candidate you are looking for; wouldn’t it?
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
The all-important candidate experience
The challenge is an in house recruitment team is under huge pressure to advertise every single role, follow up referrals and find that needle in haystack; whilst in theory giving a good impression to the candidates about the organisation they are applying to-and also on a tight time deadline.
All a recipe for a potential poor candidate experience.
Picture this scenario.
A ‘brand’ hoping to build a presence across the EU, though known in the US not everyone has heard of them in Europe…or vice-versa.
An attractive branded advert is commissioned with applicants encouraged to apply directly, all great PR, in theory until you consider the candidate experience.
The downside is the role is specialist. The likely hood is the majority of candidates are rejected upon application or after a first interview when unfortunately, the initial ‘hype’ has done its job in making them emotionally invested in working for that company.
The standard ‘no thanks’ email does or doesn’t get sent (often the latter) and the impression of the new ‘brand’ literally goes down the toilet.
This isn’t an exaggeration. Have a look at how candidates communicate their experience to each other on Glassdoor. The conversation down the pub over a glass of wine or pint of beer will often stray into our latest positive or negative experience in our working life.
We are human after all and like to ‘warn’ our friends and family about ‘poor’ organisations based on our personal experience.
What does make a good candidate experience?
The truth? Attention to detail and a process. This is where using the skills of a specialist search consultant aligned to your sector comes in, either working specifically for an organisation or working hand in hand with your internal recruitment function.
When this happens the majority of the potential pitfalls listed above can be avoided.
A specialist agency has the luxury of picking battles because it’s less of a volume based game and one in which they have significant experience.
A classic example is screening. A key advantage of the candidate not knowing who the hiring company is until mutual interest in progressing to a more in depth discussion has been established, makes for a totally different experience.
Above is a screen shot from the Teem LinkedIn account in response to an individual who had applied for a specific role we are recruiting for. A timely response from ourselves made all the difference to this one individual, whilst at the same time maintaining the integrity of the organisation we were recruiting for.
Which leads me onto what specifically contributes to a great candidate experience.
Coaching through the process
An important aspect that many general recruitment agencies forget.
There is now a whole global industry that has sprung up to help people develop their careers. Though who better placed to do this than an experienced search consultant? A conversation with a prospective candidate about their career goals and aspirations can save everyone time, money and disappointment.
Commitment to the whole process is vital if you want a candidate to be totally bought into your organisation. Time is a huge factor and this is where your preferred search partner will add value to the delivery of your recruitment process. Internal recruiters often don’t have enough hours in the day to keep everyone in the loop, happy and informed.
Positioning, expectation and over promising
There is a saying that ‘the truth hurts’. I disagree, truth hurts when its’s either not delivered or communicated far too late in the process. One of the reasons we have continued to be successful at Teem, for approaching 20 years is the fact that we tell the truth and set expectations about what may or may not happen for both our candidates and clients.
Tailoring applications and CVs
Over that last 18 + years we have helped many stellar software sales people tailor their application and CV. All too often experienced pros don’t appreciate that their past experience in a specific area or project is exactly what the client is looking for.
Even great sales people can undersell themselves. By the way if you need a great step by step process to create a sales CV you can download ours here.
An obvious point but communication happens at many levels from; active listening to what the candidate and client really want, through to the common decency of stay in contact throughout the process; especially if the news isn’t as good as the candidate or client was originally hoping for.
Professional candidates want constructive feedback because that way they can do something about it. In many cases your search consultant is best placed to deliver this as a professional and experienced ‘go between’.
If you’re a hiring company wanting to attracting the best, whilst still ensuring good candidate experience, then do get in contact.