And no, organisations aren’t the buyers, talent is!

For the longest time organisations have believed that candidates need to sell themselves to convince the employer why they’re the right person for the job. And, while there absolutely must be a process of determining the candidate’s suitability, if you’re looking to hire scarce skilled individuals, you’re going to need to do the selling.

Recruitment is, after all, a form of selling. You’re selling the opportunity, not the job. The chance to work within your specific organisational environment with the challenges the current role presents and the career prospects that could be available for the right individual.

During the hiring sell, the hope is that your best prospective buyers – top talent – choose you.

In an environment where the talent you want to buy your opportunity has myriad of choice, you need to ensure that your hiring managers are equipped to balance the selling of the company, the opportunity and the environment and the requirement to accurately and fairly assess the individual’s fit.

If the Talent is the Buyer, how do you make your offer most attractive?

Employee Value Proposition

The unique combination of benefits an organisation offers employees in return for their work can be described as the Employee Value Proposition, or EVP. An EVP should encapsulate what it means to work for the organisation and why individuals – particularly those in high demand and short supply – should accept and initial offer of employment and remain employed.

A well-constructed EVP, one that is adapted to meet the changing priorities of today’s talent, is a critical component of Talent Strategy, helping to retain top performers and attract the best talent the labour market has to offer.

In our experiences with talented candidates, it is increasingly clear that whilst remuneration remains important, for talented individuals earning good money, the EVP is a definite decision-making factor.


Compensation remains a key decision-making factor for all candidates, specifically talented scarce skills individuals who have choice and who are likely to be well paid in their current role. Even though total Employee Value Proposition will influence this decision, if the money isn’t there the candidate won’t accept your offer no matter how good the rest of the “sell” appears to be.

In an ideal world, organisations would pay top talent whatever they wanted to, to get them and keep them. Of course, budgets need to be maintained and with Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value legislation, the need to maintain tight pay scales is heightened.

Remuneration decisions are not arbitrary but the rationale behind the offer made to a candidate is rarely communicated to the individuals in the process. A 2017 Pay Scale report stated that 82% of employees were fine receiving a lower salary so long as they knew the reason why. The same would arguably be true of candidates as well.

For many candidates there is a disillusionment when it comes to salary offers because common practice includes asking for a current payslip and making an offer based on an increase on this amount, rather than considering the role and the individual’s skills, experience and capabilities against their internal pay scales. We’ve noticed a definite upswing in the number of individuals, particularly those with in-demand skills, refusing to provide current payslips.

Present the reality, warts and all

We live in the age of transparency and it’s important that organisations realise that, in their attempts to seduce talent, they should not upsell to the point that realities, once an employee starts, differs significantly. A survey by, one of the world’s largest job boards, illustrated that 61% of candidates said that the reality of the job significantly differed from what was sold to them in the hiring process.

It’s interesting to note that forward-thinking companies are beginning to introduce experiential opportunities into their hiring process. A leading publishing company, based in Cape Town, invites short-listed candidates to spend a day at the company immersing themselves in the culture, talking o employees and getting a feel for the environment. Only once they’ve invested the time do they meet for a final interview to determine whether the individual and the organisation have mutual understanding of expectations and, if there is a match, to finalise the job offer.

Candidate Experience

Most companies pay careful attention to customer experience, with many organisations plotting the journey and creating opportunities to delight, turning consumers into brand ambassadors. Organisations that utilise this methodology within their talent acquisition strategies gain advantage in the war for talent.

Talented individuals mostly require enticement to change jobs and if the recruitment process becomes overly laborious, administratively tedious or time-consuming there is a very real risk of them not only withdrawing their consideration for the current vacancy but losing interest in the organisation as a prospective employer into the future.

A positive candidate experience doesn’t mean foregoing process or governance, but it does mean cutting unnecessary bureaucracy, shortening time to hire and making attractive offers.

AI and clever technology are essential recruitment tools, particularly aiding in the management of large amounts of data and streamlining administrative processes. However, recruitment remains a people-centric process and should contain touchpoints with real people who can answer questions, recognise the unique career journeys individuals have taken and to make assessments that aren’t founded on keyword matching algorithms.

Partnering for Success

The opportunity to hire the best and brightest often hinges on the organisation’s ability to tap into the passive candidate marketplace. Many organisations find that partnering with a specialist recruiter helps them to keep a close eye on the market without creating expectations with prospective employees until an opportunity arises.

TSR works closely with our clients to understand their ongoing talent requirements and to research the marketplace, mapping the talent pools for future contact. Instead of starting the recruitment process from scratch, running an advert and waiting for responses, our clients get the benefit of our network and market insights to know who the right people are, and what they’re looking for, to develop a shortlist of suitable candidates to fast-track the recruitment process.

And, just as home staging in the property market has been proven to sell houses 50% faster and with an average 10% increase in selling price, managing perceptions and staging the opportunity in recruitment can increase chances of success.

In the complex hiring environment, organisations and talent are both buyer and seller simultaneously and a great recruiter understands that their role is that of stager. Providing expertise to both on how to present their best features and illustrate the potential that exists, a recruiter is well positioned to help facilitate mutually beneficial matches. At TSR we like to believe that we’re able to act as ambassadors for both our clients and candidates – finding the opportunities for both.