7 Candidate Problems and How to Get Ahead of Them

December 20th, 2016 Comments off
Candidate problems

If you’re like most recruiters, you have more on your plate than you did a few years ago. So, while you know there are certain candidate-related issues that should receive your attention, you’re just not able to focus on them as much as you’d like. But if you ignore them, they could end up blindsiding you – and causing you to lose out on top talent.

Here are seven common candidate problems and how you can get ahead of them – before they get ahead of you.

Problem No. 1: Candidate ego is out of control

In today’s candidate-driven market, candidates believe it’s all about their needs, not yours. How do you respond in an environment like this?

Solution: Candidates may come to interviews with outlandish requests related to benefits, comp, paid time off, career pathing – you name it. How do you respond to these requests? By adapting to the ego and expectations of the candidate. Ask yourself if you can afford to be picky in this market – because if you ignore the candidate, you may lose out on great talent. If you don’t have a strategy to tackle this, find a way to answer their questions without giving them what they want. That way, you’ll give yourself time to come up with an answer that’s beneficial to both parties.

Problem No. 2: Candidates value transparency

There’s no doubt about it – we live in an era of transparency. Candidates want to know the good, the bad and the ugly about a company. They use social media sites to get real, honest reviews. They don’t just want to hear all of the positives of working at your company – they want to know what some of the challenges are, too.

Solution: As a recruiter, you must be prepared to have robust and honest conversations with candidates. They will Google this information anyway, so you might as well be transparent. It’s also important to remember that your employer brand is made up of both employees and ex-employees. Your brand is a reflection of how you treat those currently working at your company and those who leave – willingly or not. Ex-employees are the ones sharing their fond memories – or horror stories – so don’t forget about managing alumni relationships, too.

Problem No. 3: Candidates want actionable feedback

We often try to get through as many candidates as possible, but favoring quantity over quality prevents us from having valuable candidate conversations.

Solution: We must talk to fewer people and have better conversations. Get down to a number that’s manageable so you can actually communicate with every candidate who applies – whether or not they are right for the job. If they have a bad experience, it will leave a bad impression. You want to build up a solid talent network, which includes people who may have been rejected for one job but may end up being a fit for another. Don’t sour candidate experience by slacking on communication.

Problem No. 4: Candidates want brutal feedback

Candidates aren’t made out of porcelain. If they suck, they want to be told they suck. They want to know what else they need to do to help them get the job.

Solution: Be honest with your candidates. It goes back to transparency – candidates will appreciate constructive criticism. That’s how you’ll build loyalty and help your employer brand.

Problem No. 5: Candidates have a ‘What’s next?’ mentality

This is one of the relatively new candidate problems. Twenty years ago, you wouldn’t see this. But we are now in the business of career development.

Solution: You must be able to explain internal mobility – however that is defined within your organization. The most talented candidates will have many options, so they will expect to know what’s next for them. You’ll lose top talent if you aren’t good at promoting them from within. It’s a new way of looking at HR and recruitment – it’s not just about getting them in the door, it’s getting them to stay.

Problem No. 6: Candidates demand career development

If you don’t have a compelling career development story, how can they grow their skills? And why would they want to work for you?

Solution: CEOs often think if their candidates are trained, they’ll leave the company. Yet, don’t we want the best version of our employees while they’re at our company? That’s why investing in training and development is so important. During the hiring process, you must be able to delve into the specifics of a training and development plan so candidates know they’ll have a chance to broaden their skillset once they’re employed.

Problem No. 7: Candidates expect text messages

In this candidate-centric market, candidates expect you to meet them where they’re at. This means they want you to communicate with them in their preferred way – not yours.

Solution: Voicemails may be your preferred mode of communication with candidates, but if they aren’t voicemail-oriented, you’re going to lose them – just on medium alone. If you don’t care about their communication style, they’ll think you just don’t get it. Don’t force the communications pathway that you’re comfortable with, because it’s not necessarily what the candidate prefers. Show them that you’ll do what it takes to get them to take the job by focusing on what’s important to them – even if that means sending them a Facebook message or connecting via Skype.

Is it time to rethink candidate experience? Learn how to make better hires.

7 Ways Recruiters Will be Blindsided in 2016

December 23rd, 2015 Comments off
How Recruiters Are Going to Be Blindsided in 2016

What’s the future of recruiting in 2016? I don’t have a crystal ball (officially), but I do host a show called DriveThruHR, where I talk to people on a daily basis about their recruitment challenges — and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Based on what I hear day in and day out from recruiters and job seekers alike, here are seven ways I believe recruiters will be blindsided in 2016.

1. Candidate Ego is Out of Control.

Today’s job market is eerily similar to 1999. Recruiters have to understand the candidate ego. It is massive, and it’s becoming a mainstream phenomenon to ask for everything. Expectations in areas where there is scarcity are crazy. Conversations with candidates harken back to the day when we paid $80,000 for someone who knows HTML. Recruiters need to understand that the game has changed. Candidates have all the power, and the egos will run amok.

2. Transparency Means Something.

Candidates in 2016 want to know about the CEO. They want to know about the hiring manager. They’ve got to know everything. Recruiters are used to searching for candidates on the Web. Now these candidates are doing it to us, and it’s a bit uncomfortable. They want to know what the job, the company, the culture, and the values are about. Recruiters must be prepared to have robust and honest conversations about every aspect of the job. If you can’t handle this, you’ll lose talent.

3. Actionable Feedback.

There’s no shortage of talk about the candidate experience. Anyone who applies for a job is a potential customer of yours and a potential advocate in the marketplace. However, in 2016, candidates just don’t want status updates. They want actionable feedback. Turns out it’s hard to give actionable feedback if you talk to 100 people each day. Time to start improving your screening process and implementing assessments to do some of this work for you.

Talk to fewer people, and have better conversations. If a candidate doesn’t get a job, offer four ways he or she can improve and potentially land this job the next time you have this job open. That kind of interaction is so much more rewarding than an email that says, “You were considered, but you’re not worthy.” Those days are over as a recruiter.

4. Brutal Feedback.

If actionable feedback is required, brutal feedback is mandatory. Candidates will demand it. Recruiters can no longer be situationally honest and create white lies to avoid lawsuits. If a candidate doesn’t fit, tell them why it’s not going to work out. Also, if the position scope changes, which happens all the time, be honest about that, too. Just be honest with your candidates. Do right and fear no man.

5. Careerpathing.

Candidates of all ages are coming to the table with a demand to know more about the future. They’re looking at the entry point, but they want to know what’s next. Recruiters must talk about the current opportunity, but also what lies ahead if a candidate does well and continues to grow. Careerpathing doesn’t have to lead to a discussion about job titles, either. It can be about travel, projects, or new teams. Recruiters will drop the ball if they can’t help candidates see themselves embedded in an organization in 2016 and beyond.

6. Training.

Many recruiters paid lip service to learning, development and training — all of the experiential things we overlooked during the recession. But if you’re not growing an employee’s skills, why would she stay? Employees are no longer just happy to have a job. They want a better job. They want a better life. If recruiters can’t have the discussion around substantive training and development with a specific plan, they’ll lose every time in 2016.

7. Texting Beats Email.

Recruiters have a one-directional mentality toward candidate communications. We’re going to communicate to you whenever we want to communicate to you, and you’re going to like it. In 2016, candidates get to drive the frequency and medium of communication. They expect text messages and regular status updates. If you can’t do that, or worse, won’t do it, you’ve already shown yourself as someone who’s slow to the game. Recruiters should ask, “Where do you want me to meet you? You’re what’s important here, and I’ll defer to your communication style.”

The big question is, now that you know what to pay attention to, what are you going to do about it?

Agree/disagree with my list? Think I missed something? Let me know in the comments, and let’s have a conversation.

This month, our team is sharing ideas on how to make the most of your remaining days in 2015 and set yourself up for success in 2016. Sign up for our newsletter to get the best recruiting insights delivered right to your inbox.