As search specialists all of our work is on either an exclusive or retained basis so we’re lucky we can invest time and money into helping our clients with this challenge. When passive candidates are approached by agencies there are usually 2 methods that will determine the candidate’s thoughts on not just the approach but also the company being represented;
1. Sorry for the direct message (via LinkedIn usually), however I am recruiting for a role that I think you’d be perfect for
2. A personalised message outlining why they have been contacted and what you perceive their skills match to be from your research
Candidates are an individual and want to feel like you’ve chosen them based on some sort of evidence rather than a generic search then a copy and pasted message.
Assuming the candidate is aware of your company (hopefully so or your agency has missed the mark to start with) then they’re going to have a pre-conceived opinion of your employer brand based on what they’ve heard, read or know. Their perception of your employer brand may be confused with your commercial brand and this is where a specialist search partner really earns their fee. There is a huge difference between selling a role, company or career path and outlining the company ethos, values, future plans or growth and how this role fits into it all which will help the candidate work out the benefits for themselves.
For a candidate to buy in and engage with your employer brand before they even meet you or the team, we need to go back to the beginning and understand how you choose your search partner and what they did during the briefing stage.
When choosing a search partner you need to look at their own brand and see if they have a consistent voice that resonates, this will indicate that they’re in a better position to promote your brand. If you chose a partner based on cost or promises to find a suitable candidate within a week, it is very unlikely they will take the time to act as a partner and represent your brand with candidates as they don’t have the time and due to being engaged on cost something else will pop up with a higher fee and their attention will wander.
A partner that comes in to meet you, the hiring team and relevant stakeholders, a partner that takes a concise brief and then requests sign off before they start their search, a partner who can prove to you they understand your culture and brand, a partner that matches suitable candidates against these as well as skills, ability and experience, that’s the partner you can feel confident will represent your brand during every conversation and meeting with prospective colleagues. This will help your employer brand resonate and permeate with the candidate so you know that when you receive your shortlist, they’re ready for your business and truly assists you in selecting the best fit with the team in place. Well we can’t do everything can we?