In Recruiting, You Are What They Think You Are
Have you ever thought about defining your firm as a simple compilation of adjectives and descriptive phrases? Of greater importance, have you ever considered how prospective candidates and active job-seekers might characterize you or your company, if they were asked to complete this exercise?
Whenever I work with a client organization, either as a consultant or trainer, or while engaged on an executive search assignment, I inevitably attempt to depict the client entity via a series of adjectives and descriptive phrases. I do this for a couple of reasons: First, I’ve found that the process is a practical way in which to validate my gut sense, or first impressions of an organization; second, I’ve found that this process is a great way to quickly identify strengths, weaknesses, and themes so that I can better appreciate an organization’s existing selling messages, or determine whether there may be opportunities for new or improved messaging.
Recently, I delivered a recruitment training program for a mid-size technology consultancy, which I will refer to as “Company A.” I was looking forward to working with Company A’s recruiting team, because my sense, leading up to the training session, was that their recruiting practices were way ahead of the game, as compared to many similarly sized, and larger organizations. In my initial interactions with Company A, I was struck by what seemed to be a keen sense for detail, combined with a process that was both nimble and responsive (all good things!).
Prior to the start of my program, I began chatting with one of Company A’s recruiters, who, while a reasonably seasoned recruiter in her own right, had only been with Company A for about 6 months.
“So, after 6 months, what do you think about your firm?” I asked.
There was a slight pause as she absorbed my question, but then her smile brightened. “I absolutely love this company!” she enthusiastically declared.
“Wow,” I said, “It’s not every day that I hear such strong conviction – what is it about the organization that makes you feel that way?”
“It’s just that everyone here is so genuine. Everything associated with coming here was extremely straightforward and transparent. When I went through the interview process, each person I met couldn’t have been any more forthcoming or friendly. Everyone had a shared perspective, shared values, and a common sense for where the company was going. They were all SO enthusiastic, but also very candid and honest. At first I wondered, ‘can this firm really be as good as I’ve been led to believe?’ But, in coming here I’ve seen that everything I was told is absolutely true. It’s been such a refreshing experience.”
I’m always impressed by sincere testimonials, but evidently I’m not the only one. Company A’s Offer: Closing ratio is an impressive 1.05:1 (95% of extended offers are accepted). Annual attrition is less than 5%, and employee job satisfaction consistently hovers above 95%; impressive statistics, to be sure.
So, are you wondering what adjectives and descriptors I noted prior to my on-site visit to Company A? They ended up being pretty consistent with the observations provided by Company A’s internal recruiter, and actually looked like this:
Company A Adjectives/Descriptors: Nimble, Sharp, Smart, Engaging, Honest, Transparent, Forthright, Genuine, Sincere, Reflective, Confident, Candid, Real, Bright, Intellectual, Grounded, Upbeat, Growth, Progressive, Metrics.
Now remember, these adjectives/descriptors were noted before I actually presented my training program to Company A, and were largely based on several discussions that preceded my on-site visit, as well as some research that I conducted via the Internet. Needless to say, in the process of working with Company A’s recruiting team the descriptors that I had identified were only reinforced. It’s no wonder that candidates find the organization to be attractive. Company A is the epitome of an organization that has figured out how to differentiate itself in a highly competitive market sector. Simply put, Company A is a testament to the reality that there simply is no substitute for establishing a strong employment brand, for deploying solid and attractive selling messages, and for stewarding a recruiting process that is consistent and respectful.
If you’ve never done the adjectives/descriptors exercise, I encourage you to give it a try. You may find that you are better able to depict the essence of your own firm’s brand identity, and in doing so, you may discover opportunities to enhance what candidates are naturally deducing and concluding about you and your organization. After all, at the end of the day, you are what they think you are.
Wishing you ongoing recruiting success –
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