Giving candidates a reason to apply. In today´s highly competitive job market where candidates are choosing the companies they want to work for, where, and how they want to work you need more than just a job opening to attract top talent to your door.

The strong talent brands reduce cost per hire by over 50% and lower turnover rates by 28% (LinkedIn). But it´s more than just creating pretty pictures and using emotive language.

To truly understand and deliver a brand experience where top talent knocks at your door, there are 4 fundamental questions you should be able to answer.

1. Why should I work for you?

If a candidate asked you today, why should I work for you? What would you say above a competitive salary and great benefits?

Candidates today have a say in who, where, how and what they dedicate their lives to. Enjoying what you do has become a mantra to many. Of course, money and medical benefits have always been a key driver and will continue to be a key decision point, but as society seeks fulfillment and a greater balance between work and play, candidates want to know whether there is a match between a company, their interests, work ethic and personality.

Many employees are no longer looking for a job for life, they are looking for an experience where they can gain as many skills as possible. They want to connect with the company they work for, the people they work with and the tasks they are asked to do.

With this in mind, it´s important that you are clear on who you are, what you stand for, why you do what you do and your aspirations. The goal is not to attract everybody on the job market, the goal is to attract the right people who believe in what you believe and who embody who you are. Make it easy for candidates, share your guiding principles and inspire candidates to join you for reasons above and beyond a paycheck and medical benefits.

People who don’t believe what you believe work for your money” – Simon Sinek

2. What is our brand saying about us? Who are we? What is it like to work for us?

Culture to recruiting is what product is to marketing. Customers are more easily attracted to a great product. Amazing people are attracted to a great culture. So what is yours?

Whether you planned it or not, you will have one. It happens with or without you. Your culture is the collective energy, behavior, and beliefs that already exist in the hearts and minds of your employees past and present, their friends, families, and anyone who has ever applied for a job, or even considered applying.

What you need to know is whether what you project as your employer (talent) brand, is actually aligned to the living, breathing culture that exists. So go out there and ask your employees what it´s like to work at your organization, discover what are your strengths and weaknesses. By knowing your culture foundation, you can build on it, refine it, influence it and make it come alive.

3. Does your candidate experience stand out from the crowd?

It´s no secret that candidates are thinking like customers. Candidates today expect a seamless experience that covers the entire recruiting process from job search to employment and beyond.

Did you know that:

  • 55.9% of candidates do not receive any feedback following their interview
  • 80% is the typical drop-off rate during an application process
  • 32 seconds is the average time spent reading a job description
  • 45% of job seekers say that they use their mobile device specifically to search for jobs at least once a day
  • 64% of candidates who have a bad experience will never buy your product or service ever again

A great candidate experience is determined by how a company attracts and engages candidates. All it takes is one voice, one moment, one missed opportunity to change everything, from recruitment, to customer and employee retention, to the overall business success.

Can you name all the ways you welcome, connect, inspire, excite, make it easy and take care of your candidates?

4. Do you know your audience?

If we take a quick peek into Google´s recruitment activities you can see the effect of a strong talent brand for yourself. Last year alone, they created 3,000 new jobs, and had no problem filling them from 750,000 applications.

Their employment experience (brand) speaks volumes, it talks directly to the type of people they want to attract. They know who they are, what they stand for, who they want to attract and more importantly they know how to engage with their desired audience.

Do you?

Consider these the next time you’re in search of top candidates:

  • The candidates’ current job title
  • Where do they currently work
  • What do they do
  • Their experience
  • Their personal details
  • Their goals and challenges
  • Their values and fears
  • The marketing messages
  • Your pitch (see question 1 and 2 above)
  • Where are they

My advice to you would be: Don’t try and be all things to all people. Know who you are, what you stand for and what you aspire to be; know your audience and then speak to them directly. Check in on your culture, discover the good the bad and the downright ugly.

Change what you don´t like, promote what you love. By adopting a marketing mindset you can take your candidates on a journey that goes beyond the recruitment process and turns them into brand ambassadors.