Applicant Un-attraction: How to deter candidates

19th April 2017

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One of the biggest challenges that recruiters face today is finding the right type of candidate to fill a position, or for that matter, finding top talent in general. Whether it’s an agency recruiter trying to attract the best candidates so they can retain or win new business, or an internal hiring manager wanting to find the best candidate out there to fill a role and take their company forward for the better, finding that right fit for a role is challenging.

With the times changing and roles reversing, recruiters are having to go that extra mile to find candidates suitable for positions. Where maybe 15 or 20 years ago, they would receive a flurry of enquiries from candidates keen to go on their books or wanting to work for them, that has all changed with today’s new crop of candidates. With them being slightly picky in their job choices, and having the skill set and influence to command certain work conditions, a recruiter really needs to go out of their way to attract a candidate, or even just incite interest from them in their role or company.

Attracting these new candidates is tricky but achievable. However, any recruiters or hiring managers looking to connect with today’s candidates should avoid these pitfalls which are certain to drive a candidate away.

Lack of Transparency

Speak to a group of candidates who have dealt with recruiters and you’re more than likely to have found a handful of people who have had some bad experience of dealing with a recruiter. We’ve all heard those alleged horror stories where someone has dealt with a recruiter who has bent the truth to their own advantage. Where it’s probably quite an unfair pointing of fingers to recruiters, there have probably been only small isolated incidents of this happening with people’s experiences.

Today’s top recruiters will stress that when dealing with candidates, honesty is really the best policy. And that goes both ways with candidates as well. Being open and transparent from the start ensures a better candidate recruiter relationship.

Scare tactics

Again when speaking to candidates, you’re likely to have heard someone talk about an experience with a recruiter where when they’ve advertised a role to them, they’ve put them off the position with their scare tactics pitch.

Again another likely to be series of isolated incidents, but using phrases like ‘not for the faint-hearted’ or ‘ for those only with a thick skin’, will repel candidates away from a role if advertised so negatively.

Remember this new form of candidate is looking to be empowered, engaged and excited by working for you or in a role you have. If there is a harsh element of ‘black and white’ that you need to paint to a candidate, do it in a way that is less patronising to them. Every candidate knows that not every role can be the dream role they’ve always wanted and can respect that some roles are just not a fit for them, but they’d rather just be told than instantly dismissed through scare tactics.

Get them excited! But don’t mis or oversell…

Another trend we’re seeing in modern candidates is their aspirations for growth and development. Roles advertised that show there being room for development in their skill set and there being opportunity to be challenged, will no doubt excite and attract them.

However, it’s important to strike the right balance when trying to tap into this mindset. Again this comes down to transparency. Be sure when advertising a role to not oversell it or even missell it and pull the wool over a candidate’s eyes. Misleading a candidate and giving them false expectations will not work out long term, so again it’s important to keep things clear, honest and simple.

No research and spamming

Candidates are long enough in the tooth now to know when a recruiter might just be prospectively sticking their finger in the air when e-mailing an opportunity to them in the attempt they might get a bite. This is usually because any opportunity that has been sent to them randomly is not relevant to their skill set and experience.

This naturally shows there has been no research made on the recruiter’s behalf and ultimately this will not bode well for a recruiter’s reputation long-term.

Recruiters, however time precious their day is, should always take time to research a candidate, rather than spam them without any initial thought.

Hurdles to jump

As mentioned before, today’s candidates are extremely picky in their job searching behaviour. Given this natural tendency, it makes sense that as well as being picky they are also impatient and precious of time. With technology such an instant enabler of life today for the modern candidate, they want things to be quick, uncomplicated and seamless. Giving them endless hurdles to jump; details to fill in, CV’s to upload, cover letters to write, references to acquire, will make a candidate today grow tiresome of their job application and they’ll no doubt look elsewhere.

Recruitment is very much like retail today in that recruiters, like retailers, should view the job hunting process like the path to purchase process. Removing any unnecessary barriers will be key to attracting the best candidates and ensuring they go all the way in their application.

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