It’s no secret that recruiting talent isn’t easy.
Top talent won’t always find your job listing first. Heck, they might already be employed and not actively looking.
So, how do you make sure awesome candidates know about your job opening in the first place? Well, often they don’t — which is why it’s important to get creative when browsing candidates and reaching out.
Then comes the hard part: Actually getting top talent to take action and apply.
The good news is that it’s totally possible to get a good response — and yes, even from top talent… people who are normally SWAMPED with emails from companies wanting to hire them.
If you want to recruit top talent, read on to discover the top seven recruitment best practices (so that you can hire the best for your company).
1. Ask your employees for referrals.
Employees who have been referred by other employees are not only extremely productive workers, but they’re also less likely to quit.
I don’t need to tell you why that’s good for your company in the long-term…
Fewer employees quitting means less time, money, and training spent finding replacements down the road.
And chances are, your high-performing employees will know many other great people.
Next time you post a job, make sure your employees know you’re hiring (and what skills you’re looking for in a candidate). You can even ask them directly if they know anyone who might be a good fit.
Plus, your happy employees will be some of your best advocates. These are the people that won’t hesitate to tell their friends all the reasons why they like working for your company.
If you’re not already asking current employees for referrals, go for it — you’ve got nothing to lose!
2. When sending messages, mention the candidate’s accomplishments.
Who doesn’t like feeling special? Yes, it sounds cheesy (I can see you rolling your eyes), but one thing’s for sure: It’s true. People like to feel unique.
They’re not going to feel as good about the opportunity if it looks like your message wasn’t crafted specifically for them (or if it looks like you sent the same exact message to hundreds of others).
When reaching out to a potential hire, be sure to do your research by checking out their LinkedIn profile and work history. Take a look at their specific achievements.
That way when you do message them, you’ll be prepared. You’ll be able to highlight specific accomplishments and tell them WHY you were impressed.
If you do this, you’ll be far ahead of other companies who are recruiting. Most companies don’t take the time to personalize their messages.
Even worse, they often make the mistake of writing only about their company (not the candidate) and then pasting the job description.
If you don’t draft a message that speaks to the candidate, the message will come across as cold and impersonal.
People want to feel special and appreciated — NOT like one candidate in a sea of hundreds.
3. Keep your 1st message super brief.
The #1 mistake most people make when recruiting is that they provide way too many details in the first message.
It’s easy to think that the more you tell a candidate upfront, the more helpful you’ll come across.
It reality, it actually results in overwhelm and information overload.
Instead, provide them with just enough to peak their curiosity so that they hop on a call with you to learn more.
If you send a cold email to a candidate that drags on, they’ll stop reading.
Assume that anyone you contact is busy. Resist the temptation to go into too much detail. This will show them that you respect their time.
4. Let them know what’s in it for them.
If you’re in touch with a top performer, chances are, they’ve been talking to other companies too (as much as we’d like to think they’ve been talking exclusively to us).
You’ve got to set yourself apart because other companies are trying to sell them on their vision just as much as yours.
Or if a potential candidate is already employed, you’ve got to make a convincing case for why they should go out of their comfort zone and join your company.
You have to figure out what’s in it for them, and let them know what your company can offer them that others can’t.
It all comes down to this: You basically need to sell a total stranger on your company… then convince them why they should dedicate their career to your company.
Sure, it may not SOUND like sales, but in reality it’s a form of sales in its own way. You’re selling them on your company, after all.
When telling a potential hire what’s in it for them, be honest and upfront. Don’t offer them something unrealistic just to get them into an interview.
If you genuinely don’t think you can offer them anything better than what they have, it’s time to look elsewhere.
So, how do you find out what drives them?
As you can imagine, being able to properly answer “What’s in it for them?” involves a lot of active listening and creative questions.
To do this, the key is to find out what really motivates them. What do they value, and what can your company do to give them that? Maybe they want to be able to work from home. Maybe they’re looking for a salary increase or an awesome vacation package.
Whatever it is, the sooner you know, the better.
Hint: A lot of people tend to switch jobs when they feel there’s no room for advancement in their current role.
If the position you’re looking to fill would be a big step up for them in terms of career advancement, then by all means, let them know the importance of the role.
Tell them about the position and why you think they’d be a great fit based on their skill set and experience (and get specific).
Bonus points if you can point out a specific experience that’s unique to them, and why bringing that experience to your company would be a game-changer for you.
Whatever it is, be upfront about these benefits if you want to delight your candidates. Show them you’ve been listening and that you care.
5. Create a sense of urgency.
Urgency can sometimes be the push people need to take action.
It doesn’t hurt to add a little bit of urgency to your messages. Be upfront by telling the candidate when you plan on filling the position.
Not only will they appreciate the honesty, but they’ll know they have a limited amount of time to consider the opportunity.
It can be as simple saying something like, “Our goal is to fill this position by the end of the month.”
When someone knows a deadline is coming up, they’ll consider making a decision right away rather than putting it off.
6. Build an awesome careers page.
There’s no way around it: People are going to feel much more excited about applying for a job when a company looks, well, fun.
Create a careers page that reflects your company’s personality.
And by “personality” I don’t just mean using your company’s branding and official colors — I’m talking more about using your company’s voice.
Candidates want to know who you are and what you’re all about. Make your careers page personal and welcoming.
Talk about your company’s mission and don’t be afraid to write about your values. It’ll help your company get attention from the right candidates.
Luckily for you, many careers pages tend to be sterile. As you know, a robotic approach won’t attract great candidates (unless you’re looking for cyborgs).
You can use this to your advantage by creating an awesome careers page for your company and really separating yourself from other businesses.
7. Follow up with a CTA and continue delivering value.
If some time has passed and a potential candidate still hasn’t responded to your initial message, consider sending a quick follow-up email to show them you’re still interested.
Sometimes a candidate may be curious but undecided, and other times they might’ve read your message and let too much time pass by. Send another message a week later to express your interest again.
Remember that in your follow-up email, it’s important to deliver value.
Here’s one way you might add value: Remind them why you think they’d be an awesome fit for the role, and a few things that your company can offer them. If your company offers some great perks, highlight them.
Always be sure to keep your follow-up email shorter than the original message (no need to write a novel). If they’re interested, you can chat more over the phone or in person.
Another way to increase your likelihood of a response is to lower the commitment.
In short, don’t go in with a big ask. Avoid saying things like “let’s schedule a 60-minute chat.” A prospect will find it much easier to say yes to 15 or 20 minutes (at least initially).
In your sign-off, include a strong call to action or question.
This is vital.
If you don’t end your message with a call to action of some kind, they may not feel that a reply is urgent.
Here’s an example of a call to action that is likely to get a potential candidate’s attention:
“Are you up for a quick 15-minute chat to discuss? (No pressure, I’d just love to tell you more about what we can offer you).”
This call to action includes a question, delivers value, and doesn’t ask the prospect to commit too much time upfront.
Over to you: What’s your best recruiting tip?
Do you have a recruiting tip to share? Share it with us in the comments below!