Imagine a world without failed searches. Dreamy, right?
Since the average cost-per-hire is more than $4,000, and it takes around 42 days to fill a position, you want a successful search. At the same time, if you can’t identify a solid candidate, you don’t want to force the decision—considering the cost of a bad hire ranges from $25,000 to $50,000.
How can you attract the right talent to your vacancies… the first time around? Here are three ways to attract your ideal applicants, before you ever say, “Tell me about yourself.”
Define what you want—and consult every decision-maker. Before you post a job, take time to clarify what every decision-maker wants, along with any deal breakers. Too frequently, search committees review applicants, interview candidates, and identify their top picks, yet fail to reach a consensus. Although the hiring decision may not be unanimous, you don’t want a committee that’s deeply divided in the final round of the process. And if the committee makes a hiring recommendation to the search and department chairs, you want that recommendation endorsed, not vetoed.
Before you post a vacancy, ensure that every decision-maker is on the same page in terms of ‘wants’ and ‘don’t wants.’ Defining the nonnegotiables—before you finalize the job description—strengthens the search. By establishing these parameters early, it’s easier to narrow down the pool and interview the right talent.
Move beyond recycled, run-of-the-mill job descriptions. If positions are standardized across your organization, you may have little control over the job description. Conversely, if you do have influence over the job description, use it. It’s common for HR teams to write job descriptions, but when the writer has no connection to the role, the description can be stale. When writing a new description, or updating a current one, ask the person who does the work to describe what they do. “Employees can vouch for what they actually do and should have input into their descriptions. However, the manager must also be a part of this process…” shares SHRM.
What’s more helpful? A bullet point that says, “Coordinate marketing strategy,” or “You will have autonomy over the marketing strategy, plus ownership of specific campaigns, initiatives and events.” When the job advertisement accurately reflects the work, organizations can avoid the dreaded, “This job isn’t what I thought it was going to be.”
Illustrate workplace culture with concrete examples. Now more than ever, candidates evaluate prospective employers based on workplace culture. In fact, Gallup “…found that eight in 10 U.S. adults who are open to a new job or who are actively seeking a job say they are at least somewhat more likely to apply to a company that has won a great workplace award.” When it comes to workplace culture, show, don’t tell. Help applicants visualize your workplace culture before they apply.
If an employee has a doctor appointment, can they flex their time? If a young professional wants to grow within the organization, can they participate in a coaching program or leadership training? Telling applicants you’re a people-first organization is nice, but illustrating what ‘people-first’ means is actually helpful. If your culture isn’t communicated within the job description itself, share these brand elements—like mission, purpose, and benefits—on your careers page.
Attracting the Best Candidates
No one wants a failed search. And no organization wants to attract and hire the wrong candidates. Consult every decision-maker to define what you want. When possible, move beyond template job descriptions. And work hard to illustrate your workplace culture with concrete examples. Your organization, and bottom line, will thank you.
You are well-equipped to find and hire the best candidates for your company.