How to Stand Out and Create the Most Effective Talent Recruitment Process

Job Interview
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As the Talent War morphs with COVID-19 we may want to take our guards down and breathe a huge sigh of relief, but should we?  Absolutely not. How can we leverage this time to ensure we have the best team of talent at our company?

First, you may start by asking: Does having high unemployment mean ample great talent at our fingertips? Yes, but that means this is the time to partner with your Human Resources team to innovate and speak directly to the candidates you want and detract the candidates you don’t want, not to put your guard down.

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Second, it’s time to ask: Is there a component that ensures your recruiting processes are efficient? Many companies struggle with a low candidate pool. Now with fewer recruiters on board and more candidates, things can be especially tricky, so it’s time to lock in and lean up to make sure time is spent on top candidates.  Your time is valuable and it needs to be spent wisely.

An Overview of Talent Acquisition

Talent Acquisition should never be about blending in, whether there is high or low unemployment. I always recommend automating and bringing extreme efficiency to the process, then layering on innovation. The challenge in many organizations is that HR may not want to try new things and may not even want to stand out—but, in the end, the goal is to differentiate ourselves from competitors so that the best candidates want to work for us.  

Talent Acquisition is marketing the employer to candidates and, to do this, there needs to be a compelling story. Many folks outsourced finding talent to external recruiters, which can cost them millions of dollars, even for small companies. Innovation can solve this, if done extremely well and coupled with effectiveness. 

To assess where you stand as a potential employer, a great place to start is to do a self-assessment by reflecting upon what the candidate sees. Look at your job posting compared to those who are recruiting for the same roles, check out job search sites. 

I recommend looking at—a job search engine that aggregates job listings from thousands of job boards and career sites. So, if your role is active online, it should show on Indeed. If your role doesn’t show up, and it’s an active role, it’s likely because you don’t have an Applicant Tracking System, which is discussed further below.

Self-Assessment Questions: Know Yourself and Your Company

To start the self-assessment, when you look at your open role compared to others on Indeed, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you stand out from your competitors?
  • Is there an emotional connection for the candidate?
  • Does the ad speak to the outcomes the candidate will achieve from being in the role?

Wondering how you can bring innovation and more efficiency to your processes, even if that’s not the sweet spot of your talent acquisition? It’s actually pretty easy if you and your HR leader know who you are hiring, and start communicating with them on a more personal level. Now get ready to develop your candidate attractions ads.  

Candidate Attraction Ads: Understand Your candidate and Speak to Them

You've ensured you have processes in place to understand how your company is attracting the best talent and have invested the time to learn the applicants’ language and interests ... now you are ready to  develop an ad that truly speaks to them.

Use the following steps to create a job ad that truly speaks to your ideal candidate.

Step One: Speak to the candidates' pain points and desires by telling them how this position can solve their challenges. Use questions in the ad. For example, try asking "Do you feel stuck behind someone,  like your career will be held back unless you change companies?"

Step Two: Breath life into the job postings by speaking to what will work in the culture. "Are you a good fit for the XX culture?" or "Would you enjoy working for a leader and a team that likes to change things up ... not for the sake of change but for adding value?"

Want to be bold? Try "Check your ego at the door. If that's you, keep reading. No superheroes needed."

Step Three: Social media is king when sharing roles. Don’t just say “I have a great role. Apply now.” Share the role, but with a compelling message that speaks to either the candidate’s pain point or her likely aspirations. For example, try something like "Do you want to work for a leader who will stretch your technical skills, but also your leadership skills? This XX role will do just that. Check it out."

Step Four: Turn your criteria into concrete examples. Stop with the tired lists—problem solver, good in ambiguous situations, etc. 

Punch it up: "Are you who everyone turns to when there is a new problem that has never come up, but yet needs to be solved immediately?"

Streamline the Backend of Recruiting 

Automation will save countless hours and dollars for your company. This also frees up time to be spent on assessing talent, all while helping ensure the employer brand building is taking place. This can be done through the following steps:

Step One: Consider the capabilities of an Applicant Tracking Systems, which you can do for as little as $35 a month. There are even a free few options.

Step Two: Go beyond typical HR screening questions to save time. Define two to three must-have skills for the role and solid questions. Ask the questions as part of the automated application process or as part of an artificial intelligence interaction.

Step Three: Create triggers to automate the stages of the candidate application process.

Step Four: Set yourself apart in communication with candidates by humanizing the thank you—and even rejection—templates.

Now that you have completed the initial company and self-assessment, learned the ideal candidates’ language and personal style, created an ad based around their pain points, and added automation to your system, you have a set process in place to best leverage your entire hiring operation.

Theresa Nordstrom

Theresa Nordstrom is a senior human resources and recruitment leader with a 20-plus year proven track record of start-up and pioneering roles. She  is the chief talent officer at