How to Sell Candidates While Assessing Their Fit
We get it. You’ve got roles to fill and you needed butts in seats yesterday. And when top candidates are only on the job market for about 10 days, the race to fill roles is even more competitive. Which is why when it comes time to select the right candidate, you need to be comfortable doing each of the following tasks simultaneously:
- Assessing whether the candidate is right for the role and company
- While selling your company as a top choice employer
Back in the day, it was assumed that when it came to the interview, it was up to the candidate to sell themselves as the next greatest employee. But that’s no longer the case. Nowadays, both employers and candidates need to prove their worth while assessing the value of the other.
And in a candidate driven market, job seekers have a leg up, meaning employers are working harder than ever to sell their company as a top-notch employment opportunity. In order to reduce time-to-fill and acquire top talent fast, employers need to sell their company and simultaneously assess the candidate. Here’s how:
- Step 1: Review Your Recruitment Metrics
- Step 2: Know Your Candidate Persona
- Step 3: Establish an Employee Value Proposition
- Step 4: Tailor Your Recruitment Marketing Efforts
- Step 5: Optimize Your Candidate Experience
- Step 6: Sell, Sell, Sell
Review Your Recruitment Metrics
Before you’re able to sell your company as a choice employer and assess candidates for open roles, you first need to thoroughly review your current recruitment metrics.
The purpose of selling and assessing at the same time is to help improve your recruitment process efficiency and optimize time-to-fill, quality of hire and ultimately lower cost-per-hire. However, it will be impossible to accurately gauge your selling and assessing strategies if you don’t set a baseline to measure your efforts.
To measure your selling and assessing efforts, keep close tabs on the following metrics:
Time-to-fill helps you identify how long it takes candidates to move through the pipeline and how long it takes to fill a vacant role. Ultimately, by improving selling and assessing tactics, you’ll be able to cut down on time-to-fill because your recruiters will identify the right candidate faster and candidates won’t hesitate to accept your offer.
Offer acceptance rate is a significant indicator on your team’s ability to sell your company. If candidates are not accepting the offer, reevaluate your pitch or look into opportunities that will enhance the offer so candidates can’t say no.
Cost-per-hire encompasses a lot of different factors that can benefit from a well thought out selling and assessing plan. When you’re able to improve the other metrics on this list, cost-per-hire will simultaneously improve.
Quality of hire reflects your team’s ability to accurately assess candidates. Ideally, you want to hire high quality candidates quicker, so if this number is low, focus efforts on your assessing tactics.
Employee retention rate is similar to quality of hire in that if you hire quality candidates and understand the expectations of your offer, they should stay at your company long-term. At the same time, if you don’t continue to sell your company and provide team members with the promises and benefits offered during the interview process, great employees will leave and you’ll have to start the search all over again.
These metrics will ultimately help you determine where your team needs to focus their selling and assessing efforts. While you can certainly improve on all of your recruitment metrics, it’s helpful to allocate resources accordingly so you’re considering your recruitment strategy holistically.
Know Your Candidate Persona
Now that you know where your team needs to focus its energy on selling, assessing or both, it’s time to create a candidate persona. In short, a candidate persona is a fabricated profile of your team’s ideal candidate that is unique for each role and is backed by data.
Once you’ve created a clear candidate persona, you are equipped to establish a selling strategy. The persona you create should include information on where and how you will source the ideal candidate. This will help you tailor your recruitment marketing efforts, which we will discuss in a bit.
As candidates file into your talent pipeline, the candidate persona will help with your assessment strategy because you can compare real candidates against the persona until you find an ideal match. If you haven’t created role-specific candidate personas yet, you can’t move on to next steps until you do.
Establish an Employee Value Proposition
Different from a company’s mission statement or core values, the employee value proposition (EVP) establishes the reciprocity between employers and candidates in which both parties assess the mutual benefit and value to the employment opportunity.
More specifically, there are two parts of an EVP:
- The value (skills, experience, personality, etc.) a candidate has to offer an employer.
- The value (growth opportunities, culture, benefits, etc.) an employer has to offer candidates.
When developing your EVP, think about creating a sales pitch about your company. The pitch should highlight everything your company has to offer that makes it a competitive employment opportunity. Here are a few things to consider as part of your EVP:
When considering an employment opportunity, 66% of job seekers view company culture and core values as the most important factors that contribute to their decision. Communicate the details of your culture to prospective employees. You can do so by creating company culture videos and accurately describing your company culture in your recruitment marketing and employer branding materials.
If you’re not satisfied with your company culture or unsure if you have a bad company culture, learn how to change your company culture in five simple steps. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out these 41 easy company culture ideas from real companies.
Money definitely matters to job seekers. Before you even post a job description for a new role, conduct extensive research on what a fair market salary is for the role. Factors that contribute to that number include: industry average, economic conditions, company size, location, cost of living, commission, skills, managerial responsibilities, experience, seniority and average salaries at the company.
Also, consider additional elements that contribute to monetary compensation, like performance bonuses, severance packages, commission and relocation assistance. In addition to compensation, calculate the value of each of your perks and benefits, which will be critical assets to your selling process.
Perks and Benefits
With the monetary portion of your compensation package established, take into consideration other aspects of compensation, like the perks and benefits your company has to offer, which include but are not limited to:
- Insurance: medical, dental, disability, FSA, life, pet, vision
- Retirement benefits: 401(K) & 401(K) matching
- Time off: paid holidays, paid sick days, sabbatical leave, unlimited vacation
- Stock: employee stock ownership plan, stock options, vesting options
- Paid food and beverages: beer on tap, daily meals provided, happy hours, stocked kitchen
- Parental benefits: adoption assistance, child care, generous parental leave
- Family benefits: family medical leave
- Education: conferences, training, continuing education stipend, online course subscriptions, paid industry certifications, tuition reimbursement
- Wellness: onsite gym, gym membership
- Allowance: parking, computer, phone, car
Perks and benefits will play a large role in your ability to sell job opportunities to top candidates. In a candidate's market, everything counts as employers vie for the attention of highly skilled job seekers. If you’re not sure which perks and benefits are pertinent to candidates, look back at the candidate persona, which will provide you with some helpful insight. You can also survey current employees to identify which perks and benefits they use most and which ones they would like to see more of.
In addition to salary, perks and benefits, candidates greatly consider their growth potential with a future employer before accepting a job offer. In fact, 42% of millennials report learning and development are the most important benefits they consider when offered a job. Consider opportunities for mentoring, promoting from within as well as growth and education opportunities within the role. Even these non-monetary benefits can help tip the needle for candidates considering multiple job offers.
While professional development opportunities are key players in selling your company to candidates, you should also be assessing a candidate’s desire to learn and grow, as those are additional factors that indicate a strong candidate with growth potential at your company for years to come.
Tailor Your Recruitment Marketing Efforts
While selling and assessing are often associated with the interview, you actually start selling your company as a choice employer much earlier in the recruitment process. In fact, you start selling your company the moment you post a job description, design your career page and share content on social media.
For starters, your employer brand should emanate cohesively throughout all of your recruitment materials. In short, creating and maintaining your employer brand will help influence your reputation among job seekers and key stakeholders as an employer of choice. While you can’t control everything that is shared about your company on the internet, it is crucial to make a concerted effort to create an employer branding strategy with a voice and objective that resonates with top candidates.
Once you’ve created a cohesive employer brand, utilize recruitment marketing strategies to reach and attract job seekers on the platforms they use most. If you have any interest in connecting with the 80% of candidates who search for jobs on social platforms, you will certainly want to build out a thorough social media recruitment strategy as well.
Optimize Your Candidate Experience
Now that you’ve done the initial selling and you’re bringing candidates in the door, it’s game time. Now more than ever, you'll need to put your selling and assessing skills to the test to not only keep great candidates in your pipeline, but quickly identify which ones are your top contenders for the role.
And since you’ve been selling candidates from the get-go, they should already be jazzed about the opportunity you have to offer. At this point in the recruitment process, it should be pretty clear which candidates are both qualified and committed to the role, and which ones aren’t. The quicker you can differentiate between the two, the sooner you’ll be able to meet with candidates one-on-one.
The interview process should very much be a two-way conversation, during which both the candidate is assessing your employee value proposition and your team is assessing the value the prospective employee has to offer your company. During this process, evaluate how a candidate will add to your culture (rather than simply fit in) and gauge how closely they match the candidate persona your team created.
Regardless of where the candidate lands in your assessment of their fit for the role, it's important to provide every applicant with a stellar candidate experience. Not only is that courteous, but if candidates have a positive experience going through your pipeline, they will be more excited to join your talent community and become an employee or at least a brand ambassador for your company in the future.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Before extending a job offer, brush up on how to negotiate salary with candidates. If you’ve been selling all along and remained transparent about your company, the role and your expectations, negotiations should be smooth sailing.
During negotiations, remind the prospect of everything your company has to offer as part of your employee value proposition from salary to perks & benefits as well as the distinct characteristics of your culture that make your offer unique from competitors.
Remember, top candidates are only on the job market for about 10 days, so once you’ve selected your ideal candidate, sell the offer hard and fast in order to keep them from accepting another offer.
If in the end the candidate either doesn’t accept your offer or your team ultimately decides they are not right for the role, don’t fret. All of your efforts up until now are not wasted — or at least they don’t have to be. If a candidate made it this far in your recruitment process, they’re likely a good match for your company in some capacity, which may make them a good fit for a role later down the road.
Keep these candidates in your pipeline by building a talent community. In doing so, you’ll continue to sell your company to them and ensure they are the first people notified when a role opens up on your team. Doing so will shorten your time-to-fill and lessen your cost-per-hire. You’ll make up for the initial expenses from the first round of recruiting when they return for another role and are able to bypass the initial stages of the recruitment process because they’ve already been through them.
Plus, if they remain in your talent community, they are more likely to act as brand ambassadors, sharing information about your company and its open roles with friends, family and colleagues. Yet another reason to make the candidate experience memorable — even if a candidate doesn't receive an offer, they will still have positive things to say about your company as a prospective employer.