What Message Are You Sending Your Candidates?

Wooing job candidates is a lot like dating. If your company is sending the right signals, you'll be pretty popular. Get it wrong and you'll be doing the business equivalent of sulking at home every Friday night.

What Message Are You Sending Your Candidates

"While every company is unique with regard to its hiring process, it's clear that most consciously or inadvertently send a message to job candidates about their business," says Deep Patel, the author of "A Paperboy's Fable: The 11 Principles of Success" and founder of Owlmetrics, an Instagram analytics company. Some of those messages are good and some are, well, not so good.

Today's companies need to keep in mind the messages they send might not be the only information job seekers see. Candidates today have access to far more information than in the past. If your company isn't living up to its chosen image, chances are candidates will find out. "Sites like Glassdoor make it very easy for people to see what actual employees think about working there," says Jacob Morgan, author of the "Employee Experience Advantage." "If your company says everything is amazing, and on sites like Glassdoor everyone says it's terrible, well then you have a bit of a problem."

So how can your organization get it right when it comes to crafting a message that truly reflects your business and helps you attract candidates? Below are several tips to help get you started.

Know yourself

You don't have to be perfect to attract good candidates. Don't promote your organization as something its not, but sell yourself effectively with a message that squares with reality. Got a weak spot? It's okay to admit it, but you should also be working to fix it. The best way to give your candidates a positive, but real-world view of what you offer is to back up and take a clear look at your business. Ask what message you want to send to your potential candidates and then work to craft that message. Ultimately this message should convey who you are, what you do and what you expect of, and offer to, your employees.

Understand your market

Look at how your organization compares to others in your industry. What message are those companies sending to potential hires. What are your employees saying about your organization, compared to others in the same industry? If you find a disconnect between the message you want to send and what your current employees actually experience, you either need to change your message or fix the problem.

Train staff members

Staff members who interact with candidates also send a message about your business. Make sure they aren't running off their own script. This is not only a messaging problem, but may raise legal issues as well. "Studies have shown that approximately 20 percent of companies have asked illegal interview questions," says Patel. This could lead to a lawsuit that costs the company millions of dollars, he says. Training is critical. Make sure employees understand what questions they can and cannot ask in an interview. Also ensure that they have a good understanding of the message you want them to convey to potential hires. If you don't take the time to communicate this information, your candidates may be receiving a very different message than you want to send.

Taking the time to assess your organization and crafting a careful message for candidates can not only provide numerous insights about not only how you appear to those outside your organization looking in, but in some cases give you a valuable opportunity to use those insights to make improvements. This can not only help ensure that the message you are sending is one that will attract candidates, but also that your organization is also one they will truly want to work for once they arrive.

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