Eight Employer Brand Essentials To Spice Up Candidate Experience

Secret sauce. Special recipe. If it sounds like recruiting has turned into a mystery cooking show – it has. The good news is that we’re honing this new global, multigenerational, myriad-channeled cuisine.  We’re finding scopey, tastier, far more effective strategies for recruiting tech talent and engaging our candidates. 

Here are the top eight ingredients:

  1. Start With Fresh Talent

More arenas acknowledge that talent is the basic commodity in tech recruiting, and considering individual talent as the basic goal of recruiting, and not just filling spaces, is what’s going to set companies up for successful hiring. Given the gap between more jobs we need to fill and less talent we need to fill them, tech candidates in particular are well aware of that. 

  1. Mix With Due Diligence

We’re getting better at due diligence when it comes to recruiting, doing a better job researching our candidates, and personalizing our approach. DICE’s 2015 Tech Candidate Sentiment Survey found that50 percent of tech candidates really wish HR recruiters did more homework on them and their backgrounds, which is well below the 63% who said so in 2013.

  1. Simmer In Human Contact

Despite mobile and social, despite video conferencing and (coming soon) holographic interviews, the face-to-face experience is still invaluable as the candidate moves up the ranks of vetting. One savvy tech recruiter noted that despite everything else lining up, chemistry is critical, and it’s certainly an ingredient we can’t keep refrigerated in the cloud until hiring time. Sometimes it really boils down to two people in a room.

  1. Set The Whole Table

Uber recently poached 40 top researchers away from Carnegie Mellon’s hallowed robotics department. South Korea’s app and tech industry is not only rivaling Silicon Valley, it’s proving to be more global and more innovative, pulling top talent from the U.S. as well as other major sources. The simplest way to think of the gap between talent and hiring is that it’s like a buyer’s market — to switch metaphors here, you just have to offer the prettiest, most awesomely tricked out house.

  1. Your Employer Brand Matters

Every employer has a different perceptible brand, but awareness of it starts well before the hiring process. Talent Board’s 2014 Candidate Experience (CandE) survey polled some 95,000 candidates who had applied to about 150 companies in North America: about 44% said they conduct two hours’ research before submitting an application. They’re not just looking at products and services, they’re looking at values as well. Given today’s pace of information, two hours can glean an entire universe of data and impressions, good to — bad.

  1. Brand ReallyMatters

There’s employer brand, and company brand. Another stat from the 2104 CandE survey found that attracting talent starts well before anystrategic

outreach: candidates form their own bias based on many different channels of content. 52.3 percent of candidates said they had a previous relationship with the company — as a customer, consumer, a friend or relative of an employee, or an advocate of the brand. Obviously that works for huge icons like Apple or Google, but big or small, legacy or shiny new, nothing related to brand is off the table, ever.

  1. Shop Globally And Extensively

From job sites to social media to global job boards, there are countless ways for candidates and companies to find each other, and using them all needs to be the new normal. Internship programs and workforce development opportunities often glean international candidates; heading to universities and colleges can pinpoint fresh talent. You need a steady pipeline for effective recruiting.

  1. Don’t Use Artificial Flavors

Remember the real estate analogy I sprinkled in here a few bullets back? Let me qualify: that awesome property had better be real: Facades and artifice won’t work, either with more seasoned candidates or the younger generations, who we know hold integrity, transparency, mission and values in extremely high regard — so high that they may simply walk out the door if faced with a profound “this is not what I thought it was” moment.

There are all countless terms for what we do wrong, such as spray and pray (which is more costly than effective). And there are tasty terms for what we get right, including that critical first contact, onboarding. Making the onboard experience rich and flavorful is part of any recipe for successful recruitment. At one Tampa Bay area tech firm, the CEO visits each year’s crop of new recruits. To attract talent away from traditional meccas, the company also provides a whole range of perks, from employee compensation for referrals to retreats to the Bahamas to a thriving, creative, active workplace culture.

We have a lot of cooking to do: one recent survey showed new hiring now falls short by 36% percent globally; and more than half (54%) of the firms surveyed said that shortage had a serious impact on their ability to fill client needs. But here’s the bottom line: talent knows where it’s valued, and that’s the table you want to set.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.