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Acquiring Talent - Step 1: Attraction

In a previous post I gave an overview of my approach to recruiting. Admittedly, it was a bit of an overview, more than a comprehensive in-depth definition of a recruiting strategy. I thought it important to expand on my original post by providing greater detail into each step I outlined. The first step is: Attraction

The best recruiting strategy is a non-starter if you are unable to attract the right candidates. In this context I am using attraction to describe how candidates and companies are drawn together because each one possesses something the other wants or needs. In recruiting, the art of attraction involves clearly articulating what you need and what you have to offer so that those who can benefit from the relationship with your organization can be drawn to it. Essentially, you can allow potential employees to opt-in to your candidate pool if you have a well-defined employee value proposition. It's important to understand that attraction only lasts if the narrative used to attract is an accurate depiction of reality. Too many of us have fallen victim (on both the candidate side, and the hiring manager side) to overvaluing the first impression, only to find that "the real story" is far less than what we thought.

Tools of the Trade

The benefit of today's technology is that it allows us to scale our recruiting processes in ways that were not previously possible without large recruiting teams. Utilizing technology (most of which is cloud-based) as a leverage point can make you more efficient, and free up time for more high value activities. Creating a strategy that attracts candidates passively allows you to recruit candidates around the clock (It takes time to build a strong passive recruiting strategy though). This is different from "post & pray" strategies primarily because it is targeted and about much more than posting job descriptions. It's about sharing your organization's value proposition with candidates in an honest, transparent, and compelling way. In order to do that, an organization must have a good story to tell, and then a plan for sharing it with those who are most likely to be moved by it. Here are a few tools that I have found extremely helpful:

  • Company Website: Your company website is one of the first places candidates will go to begin the process of trying to understand how your company operates. Working with your marketing department is one way to ensure that your employer brand is cohesive with your company's brand. A seemless look and feel to your career page will provide the proper impression to candidates. A poorly designed career page (or not having one at all) is sending a message as well, just not the one you want to project.

  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS): Your applicant tracking system should be integrated into your career website so that you don't have to manage multiple sites. There are many types of applicant tracking systems which range from the complex (like Brassring and Teleo) to simpler systems (like the Resumator and JobVite). I personally prefer The Resumator, primarily because it so precisely meets the needs of our organization. No matter the system you utilize however, ensure that it is no more than, and no less than what you need (with an eye to future growth of course). Doing so will ensure that the expense, and the features align appropriately for your size of organization. Another key element to a good applicant tracking system is ensuring that it allows the candidate to apply for your jobs in as few clicks as possible. This has a significant impact on the candidate experience, and who will ultimately apply for your jobs.

  • LinkedIn Company Page & Recruiter: Expanding your presence on LinkedIn through a paid company page, and having a LinkedIn Recruiter account is another way to improve your ability to attract candidates. Both products allow you to tell your company story to a larger and more engaged audience than your company website. Not only does a LinkedIn company page offer exposure to a greater audience, it also has additional features that allow you to interact more directly with prospective candidates. A LinkedIn Recruiter account allows broader access to candidates, and improved tools for connecting with and communicating with candidates (even those who are not in your network).

  • Interview Scheduling Software: In the modern recruiting environment, talent acquisition specialists are usually asked to manage 30, 40, 50+ open requisitions. That many open requisitions generally means you can spend a lot of time playing phone tag with candidates. As a full cycle recruiter, I often have struggled to manage this part of the recruiting process because it can be frustrating for candidates and recruiters alike to try to get ahold of one another when the recruiter spends most of the day on phone interviews. A great solution to this issue is an interview scheduling software, like ScheduleOnce ( This allows candidates realtime access to the openings in your calendar (utilizing pre-defined slots) without sharing the details of your calendar with them. It offers an incredible amount of flexibility and customization at a very low-cost (and some options are even free).

  • Onboarding Software: After a candidate says "yes", they are at their most vulnerable. Top talent will inevitably have to face the decision of standing by their decision to accept your offer and fielding competing offers (You didn't think you were the only company they were interviewing with, did you?) or counter offers from their current company. That said, it is important to understand that the recruiting process does not stop once the candidate accepts your offer. The onboarding process is the next phase. Candidates who go through a structured, efficient, well-planned onboarding process are much more likely to stick through the offer period, and (some studies show) are much more likely to stay with the company long-term. Using onboarding software like the Talentwise platform ( to allow new employees to do their orientation and their new hire paperwork all from the comfort of their own home, is a great way to speed up a candidate's assimilation into your company culture. It also ensures a scalable, consistent process for onboarding your new hires.

The best talent acquisition strategy/message won't get you very far if no one is listening. In order to help your organization stand out, building a candidate pool through passive means can be very powerful. Candidates who have been successfully attracted to your organization are always "listening" and are MUCH more likely to apply for openings when they occur. This will ultimately lead to a very efficient recruiting process because it creates a highly active and engaged candidate pool who are ready to come to you when the right opportunity presents itself.

Happy Hunting!

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