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How Does Your Company Sell Itself to Win Over Your Ideal Candidates? Part I: The Conceptual

swimmersLast week, The Hiring Site ran a contest in which we asked you, “How does your company sell itself to ensure you win over your ideal candidates? Honesty, Family, Growth, Culture, Reputation, Respect, Listen, Communicate, Relationships, Understanding, Connect, and Fun — These are all words that, when reading through the near-600 comments to write this post, I came across more than once. In fact, you all talked about these concepts quite a bit when describing your companies — and that’s a good thing. This post focuses on the value-related responses I received; I’ll cover the more tangible ways you sell your company to candidates in Part II of this series.

You are fiercely proud of your companies — that is evident — and you have many ideas about how you’re getting an edge over your competitors, and what you think is important to candidates. Some of you even called out your competition in the comments themselves (we won’t mention any names).

There were so many great responses that it would be nearly impossible to talk about them all — but here are some highlights:

Honesty.

“We are honest with our candidates and don’t make outlandish promises. As one of my candidates said the other day, ‘You are the first recruiter to call me and actually tell me real information about a position.’ We also get to know our candidates, not as a candidate, but as a person. We want them coming back to us in the future.”
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“We use one on one conversations that are truthful and forthright to let our candidates know the true market they are facing.”

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“We make a point of being upfront and honest about our expectations for the position and who we are as a company. Starting with everyone on the same wavelength is absolutely vital.”

 

Family.

Prior to a job offer, the candidate is invited to visit any of our six locations and talk with any crew members and/or manager, to experience our family oriented philosophy in action.”

 

Growth.

“Salary/benefits are black and white comparisons. It is the way a person perceives their place in the organization that will create a desire for them to be part of it.”

Culture.

“Our culture promotes a relaxed atmosphere that stimulates creative thinking, which leads to empowerment.”

 

Reputation.

“Even in times when we are not actively hiring, we continue to market ourselves in our community to keep the pipeline of interest open. Good community relations, name recognition, and good reputation are all very important in the efforts to continue to attract quality talent.”

 

 

Respect.

“We remember that all candidates have the potential to be or may already be customers. We treat all candidates in exactly the same way we treat customers – respect, gratitude and never taking them for granted.”
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“Every candidate receives a response to their job application – ALWAYS AND WITHOUT EXCEPTION.”
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“If we treat our candidates with respect and really listen to them — and find the right position for them — our company ‘sells’ itself.”

Listen.

“We strive to change the negative image so many people have of the staffing industry. We are able to do this through creating a culture of responsiveness and empathy with our candidates and clients.”
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“Success begins by hearing the candidate first.”

 

Communicate:

“We’ve held several focus groups with diverse sorts of employees and engaged them in interactive discussions to understand what they like and dislike about our company, what keeps them here and what may cause them to leave. The information gathered was very consistent and defines our employment brand. We win over our ideal candidates because we have a very good self awareness and clearly communicate to candidates our strengths and weaknesses. It all adds up to new hires who are great cultural fits.”
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“We only use the internet and search engines for initial contact, after that we “go old-fashioned” and actually talk to our candidates. We build relationships as we’re in business for the long haul. You’d be surprised how many candidates make comments such as “I can’t believe I’m actually talking to a real person!”

Relationships.

“Simply stated, its about building a relationship with your candidate/customer.”
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“When we’re not hiring, we always conduct informational interviews to reference back to when a position opens up matching their skill set.”

 

Understanding.

“It is important to convey to the candidate that they are now your customer. In any good customer relation experience, the sales person/recruiter/etc. will seek to gain and understanding of what the customer wants and will seek to build a solution to satisfy that want.”
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“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the last couple years to understand our employment brand. The key here is to truly understand the brand – not what HR thinks we are, and not what we want to be, but what our current employees think we are.”

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“Most of us have been where our candidates are in terms of being out of a job. We can directly relate that to them if necessary.”

 

Connect.

“We win over ideal candidates by making sure the opportunities we present them with are a strong match for them technically and personally. It is one of the most basic expectations, yet is rarely done by most recruiting firms and wastes candidates’ time.”

Fun.

“We strive to keep our workplace a fun place to be. We constantly benchmark ourselves to other similar companies regarding benefits, compensation, and morale boosting activities. We actually do more “off-the-clock” get togethers than the norm to thank our employees and their families. One of my favorites is our annual truck rodeo. The winners go to the state competition. While they are competing, their bosses, including the President, is on the sidelines grilling and waiting on the employee’s family.”

 

Reality Check

While these are all excellent examples of how to set your company apart from your competition and reach your ideal candidates, it’s all for naught if you don’t first know who who and where your competitors are. Once you are armed with this knowledge, you can tackle your competitive gaps head-on and more effectively employ your candidate “sales” strategies. How do you find out this information, you ask? Check this out.

One Last Word…

I think this, from one commenter, really sums up the essence of a strong workplace — a workplace that cultivates candidate attraction from the ground up:

 

“No company can successfully run without happy employees.”

 

Agree with comments above? Disagree? What elements do you think are essential to win over your ideal candidates?

Amy McDonnell

About Amy McDonnell

Originally hailing from Ohio, Amy is the creative services manager on the content services team and has been with both CareerBuilder and the city of Chicago for nearly a decade. She writes on a range of recruitment topics on The Hiring Site, striving to bring a dose of clarity and humor to sometimes complicated issues around employee attraction, engagement and retention. When she's not working, Amy spends as much time as possible reading, pretending to be a chef, writing short stories, eating Nutella out of the jar, waiting for CTA buses and trains, going to see her favorite bands live, and spending time with people who inspire and challenge her.
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