If you're in charge of hiring new marketing, digital and creative talent then chances are you're experiencing the highs and lows of the current candidate-driven market. Some organisations are brilliant at nailing their recruitment process and others do it less well. Here are some of our thoughts based on what we've learnt from the companies who get it right.
Set a CV deadline and get the job brief right
Speed is the key. We're not saying that you should rush your decisions or hire people who aren't right, but keeping your interview process tight will prevent candidates from being taken off the market before you get chance to make them an offer.
When setting out to fill a role it's a good idea to set a tight deadline on CV submissions. If you're working with a decent recruiter then it's perfectly reasonable to expect CVs within a matter of days - provided you've spent a bit of time at the beginning to give them a good brief on the job, you've explained how to sell the opportunity, and you've spoken about the skills and experience required. Of course you need to choose a recruiter who knows the market too!
Commit to an interview timeline
As well as setting a tight deadline for CVs you will get better results if you set aside time to interview. You should aim to stick to these interview slots. A good recruiter will be able to send you each candidates' availability when submitting CVs which will mean your interview timeline is achieved. The sooner you can get your candidates to first stage interview, the earlier they feel engaged with your employer brand and screening process. The sooner you reach the final interview stage, the more likely you are to be the employer that takes that amazing person out of the job market.
Sell your opportunity at interview
Nobody can sell a job opportunity better than the person who is hiring. Employers who hire the best talent are employers who get the candidates excited about their role at every step of the process - keeping candidates engaged throughout the process is very important.
Whilst it might be your primary objective to get the info you need from the candidate, a successful interview should also result in the candidate leaving the meeting wanting your job over any others that they're considering. Sell the long-term opportunity, tell them about your ace your working environment, talk about how amazing your team is, and highlight all of the great projects that they'll get to work on. If you invest in people long-term then explain this to them. It's also about chemistry - employers look for good rapport with candidates and vice versa.
Provide prompt and detailed feedback
A good candidate will put lots of time and effort into preparing for your interview. Providing quick and constructive feedback will again keep candidates engaged with your interview process and help your job opportunity jump to top of their list - particularly if you think they're 'the one'. Be specific with your feedback; tell them exactly why you think they're a great fit, and if there are weaknesses that you'd like to explore further then it's fine to highlight these, delivering the feedback in a positive way.
Be thorough, but keep the process as short as possible
Waiting weeks between first and second interviews is likely to mean the candidate is gone and you're back to square one. If possible, make sure that all of the necessary decision makers get together to meet the candidate at that 'final stage interview' so that decisive action can be taken if things go well. An unexpected additional interview stage could mean that the candidate goes elsewhere.
Make your best offer and provide good feedback
In a candidate-driven market you can expect your desired employee to have other offers, so it's best to make an offer that is both competitive and fair. We're not suggesting that you pay over-the-odds or disrupt you internal pay scale unnecessarily, however it's worth being aware of the market rate for salaries as things change from one year to the next. It's a much safer outcome for you if your candidate accepts the offer as soon as it's made, instead of attending other interviews whilst you go back and forth negotiating over a couple of grand or a day's holiday.
Not only is it important to make the right offer, but also worth noting that the feedback a candidate receives could be the thing that ultimately sways them towards your offer. If you've identified them as the ideal candidate for the role then it's worth telling them why they’re so special at offer stage. The candidate may have two identical offers, or it may not even boil down to the money for them - a good candidate will often decide on their next move based on where it'll take their career, what they're going to learn along the way, what they're going to be working on, and how welcome they feel at your organisation. Get your feedback right at offer stage and it will make a positive impact on the candidate's decision-making process.