The workforce is changing. Gone are the days when a competitive salary, decent benefits, and job security were enough to convince a candidate to take a job. Today’s top candidates want more.
They want workplace flexibility, jobs with a greater purpose, mentorship and a myriad of other things that don’t fit nicely within a job description, and it’s not only your job to sell candidates on the actual role but the intangibles that go along with it.
For internal recruiters, it’s simple. They know the people, the opportunities, and the culture. They are able to translate their own experiences into selling points and are able to talk about the company with credibility.
But, what about third-party recruiters? How do you recruit for culture when your experience is limited to brief encounters with a hiring manager?
It’s not a simple task. However, if you’re are proactive early in the recruiting process, you can acquire the knowledge and resources needed to build an enticing narrative to attract top performers. Here’s how.
The intake meeting is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the company and its culture. Use this as an opportunity to go beyond the traditional scope of the meeting. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and ask the same questions that they would. Ask the hiring manager to describe the culture and the growth opportunities available. If you’re finding it difficult to get meaningful responses, frame the questions differently. Ask them for examples of their own experiences to support what they previously told you.
A lot companies of tout their culture but fail to deliver. An easy way to see if the claims live up to hype is to observe the office and its employees on an ordinary day. If you get the opportunity to observe the office in person, take a look around and note what is happening. Are people socializing or heads down in their work? Does the office layout promote collaboration or do people keep to their own space? What are the common facial expressions and how do employees interact with each other? Fifteen minutes in a client’s office will tell you a lot.
For the most accurate perspective of the day-to-day culture, talk to other members of the team aside from the hiring manager. Bonus points if you can talk to the hiring manager’s direct reports. Talk to them about their personal experiences at the company. Ask them to describe their experiences with the hiring manager, motivations for taking the role, professional growth since joining the company, and anything that may help you successfully recruit for this role.
If during this process you have a standout conversation, ask the hiring manager to include the employee in the recruiting process. They could serve as brand ambassador and make a lasting impression on a top candidate.
Job seekers are always advised to do their homework before commiting to a role, and so should you. While recruiting, check out the hiring company’s online presence. Review their Glassdoor page, careers page, social profiles, and anything else that may be relevant.
Take note of stand out reviews or notable accomplishments that could later be used to sell a candidate on an opportunity and identify anything that may hinder your ability to recruit for the role. If you have the misfortune of identifying something unfortunate, don’t ignore it. Instead, be prepared to address the top if the candidate asks.