Its Valentine’s Day and everywhere you turn there are hearts and flowers and messages of love. I think that its also the perfect opportunity to revisit Candidate Attraction and the challenges that many employers – and recruiters – are facing in finding, attracting, recruiting and retaining talent. After all, in many ways recruitment is a lot like matchmaking!

Digital Platforms shouldn’t mean that Romance is Dead!

Technology has certainly provided a plethora of channels to source people. In the realm of dating, Internet dating has been usurped in many instances by apps like Tinder, which all promise a fast, efficient and “relatively anonymous” way to assess talent before deciding whether to swipe left or right. In recruitment, the digital environment has taken over much of the process, from advertising, sourcing, application and even assessment.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t boded well for real connections and long-term success, either for love or corporate hiring. Whilst technology might provide the tools to manage some of the administrative processes, it really can’t replace the art of wooing – seduction, attraction and getting to know someone well enough to consider a long-term monogamous relationship.

Many companies have come to realise that the introduction of technology into their recruitment processes has had the unintended consequence of reducing candidate engagement and creating a candidate experience that lacks any personal attention or opportunity to assess the individual candidate beyond the forced “tick box” data collection fields.

Talented individuals want to be wooed. They expect to be treated as an individual, with respect and to be provided with information about why they should choose to “date” a new organisation, to allow insightful consideration of pros and cons of a new employment relationship.

Have you ever gone through your own recruitment process in the candidate’s shoes?

What do they experience?

How could this be improved to ensure that there is at least a little wooing in the process?

Both Parties need to show off on a First Date

In any blind date situation – and a first job interview is just that, two people who’ve not met before, meeting for a coffee to determine if there is a possibility of a future together – both parties must make the effort. In days gone by, organisations would sit in the driving seat, expecting candidates to do all the showboating to impress them, assuming like those of Bachelor fame that everyone just wants to marry them. No! Candidates have choice and they want the organisation to share more so that they can weigh up the opportunities and accurately assess mutual compatibility.

Are your hiring managers equipped to handle interviews considering that they too need to sell themselves, the opportunity and the organisation?

Does the candidate feel special when they arrive for their “date”, are they expected, greeted by name and treated with respect when it comes to timekeeping and attention?

They don’t want to feel as if they’re just one of a number

Granted, recruitment is far from a monogamous dating process. The organisation is looking for a suitable match and must expand their search far and wide to consider as many people with potential as possible to ensure the right fit. But, that doesn’t mean that candidates should be made to feel as if they’re just one in a long line of “possibles”. When you’re engaging with an individual its not appropriate to discuss others you’re courting, or especially to play one off against the other. Rather, you should focus conversations and interactions individually, providing the candidate with treatment and a personalised journey that makes them want to commit to the organisation.

Do you consider the candidate’s schedule when you arrange interviews? Or do you give extremely short notice and just expect them to turn up?

Do you line up the interviews in such a way that candidates end up bumping into one another or worse still, sit waiting together? This would be as bad as arranging a series of dates in the same restaurant and where your girlfriends lined up waiting for turn, watching from afar how long – and how well – the date is going.

Break Ups are hard but that shouldn’t be a justification for Ghosting

Ghosting, a term coined in recent years, refers to the practice of ending a relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing all forms of communication, including “unfriending” on social networks. If one considers the recruitment industry, then we’d have to concur that many recruiters – agency and corporate – are master Ghosters. A title we should be ashamed of. The number one complaint from many candidates is the lack of communication in general, but the failure to close a process by providing finite feedback of success or failure in a recruitment process hurts worse. For many, “ghosting” by the organisation and/or recruiter is assumed to be normal and implies that the individual was unsuccessful.

For organisations who are serious about maintaining their reputations as employers of choice and attractive talent brands, ghosting is never an acceptable practice. Clear communication – throughout the recruitment process – and particularly when the individual has been deemed to be unsuitable, is imperative.

Do you provide clear feedback on the status of the relationship with the candidate?

Do you officially break up, once it’s clear the candidate is not suitable for the role? And if you do, is this break up done in such a way that you could “stay friends” to reconnect in future should circumstances change and allow for a reconsideration of a mutually beneficial employment relationship? This is especially important for scarce skilled talent.

Is there any part of your process that enables ghosting to happen – even unintentionally? If so, utilise technology to set up reminders, issue automatic replies/rejections so that at least there is formal closure for all parties involved.

In a nutshell, getting candidates to love you doesn’t really take much. Treat them with respect, don’t forget the human touch, show them why they should consider being in an exclusive relationship with you and if things don’t work out, give them closure.