Capitalist Note: This post is part of a series on Building/Reinforcing Company Culture Through Great Recruiting and Talent Acquisition Practices.
Let's face it people, "company culture" is a loaded phrase. Some of it is real, some of it is aspirational, but one thing on my mind recently is that as we try to build the culture we want at our companies, we forget about the messages we send in our recruiting process.
So you're proud of your culture - cool! Let's dig in and see if you're reinforcing that culture in all the gritty details of your talent acquisition/recruiting process. Remember - if your TA/Recruiting process doesn't match and promote your culture, you're not going to get the fit/matches you need in the candidate marketplace.
Every wonder if you have the right team and recruiting processes to support the communication of the culture have or are in the process of building – across the recruiting/TA team, interviewing approaches with hiring managers, application processes and more?
You can have a culture that's one of the best in your industry - Googly even! - and if your recruiting team and the TA process don't support that culture, you're going to miss on the talent you need.
Conversely, if you're currently building your culture to a desired future state, getting some of the aforementioned factors right can help you get talent you might not yet deserve in the food chain of how candidates rank companies in their minds.
Here's some key areas to look at if you want your recruiting team and processes to support the communication of the culture you have (or are in the process of building):
1--Look to build a team of recruiters who look and sound like salespeople.
Say it with me - Recruiting is sales. If you have low energy recruiters who are transactional in nature and can't/won't sell the value proposition of your company, you're never going to get your fair share of the top talent you need to drive business results. Notice I said top talent. Recruiters who don't want to sell can get you average talent, but only those who are willing to sell will help you get talent beyond what your brand and market position deserve.
The best way to spot a recruiter who is a sales person is to use a behavioral assessment with a cognitive component. Markers of a salesperson look like this:
--Low to Mid Sensitivity
--Mid to High Extroversion
--Low Team (means they want an individual scoreboard that resets monthly, not that they are a bad teammate)
Find this profile with recruiting experience and you've got someone who will routinely sell your culture with the right tools and motivation from your leadership.
2. Match the length and intensity of your "apply for an open job" process with your culture.
Who are you? Are you the uber-serious company that requires a top secret clearance to make a hire, or are you pitching progressive workplace policies and a chill atmosphere? Somewhere in between perhaps?
How long it takes for a candidate to apply for a job should match your cultural intention. It's all about expectations. You can't have a 30-minute apply process and expect to exude an "it's all about the people" cultural vibe.
There's no mandate you have to have an apply process that takes 2 minutes. You do you - but remember you're signaling who you are as a company and what it's like to work for you. Keep in mind your design in this area is a choice - and generally not mandated in a legal way. Items like "definition of an applicant" are more subjective and open to your positioning than you realize - even if your lawyers are telling you something different.
3. Post-Apply Messaging to candidates matters a lot.
You work hard to attract interest to your company's employment brand. You spend money to drive traffic to your career site/job openings and convert that traffic to applicant flow.
Then something magical happens. Candidates who applied for a job at your company get an automated message from you, and that's the moment of truth.
"Thank you for your interest in Acme Industrial Products. Your credentials will be reviewed and we will contact you if there is an appropriate match with an open position. Due to the quantity of responses received for each job posting, a personal response to each candidate with further status updates will not be available. Your resume will be maintained in our files for one year and your qualifications will be considered for any future openings.
Does that initial response to the candidate match the culture you're trying to build? Of course not. Most ATS messaging can be customized, so there's no reason NOT to sound like a human who is actually interested in the candidate who's taken the time to apply when these automated messages go out.
Rewrite the messaging provided by your ATS provider. Sound like a human without overpromising, have some fun and if available, share links to great content on your career site that gives candidates a look into a day in the life at your company.
4. Have a plan when it comes to interview day - and create a high quality experience.
Momentum is key when it comes to a recruiting process that reinforces your culture, and interview day is a test of sorts.
A test for your culture as well as the candidate.
To pass this cultural test, you'll need organization and quality. Organization is the easy part, with agendas going out to the candidate before they arrive, warm greetings, tours and most importantly, qualified, empathetic interviewers who can sell your company and the culture you've built.
Qualified interviewers are generally trained and have a methodology (think behavioral interviewing, etc.), as well as empathy during interviewing sessions. That design is all about making the candidate feel like the process is a conversation - even as you get exactly what you need as an interviewer. Natural interviewers can do it all - including selling your company, culture and the opportunity. For everyone else, you're going to need a training plan to get most of your hiring managers and interviewers up to speed.
We send signals on culture with every contact we have candidates (personal and automated). Make sure your messages match the culture you have or the culture you're in the process of building.
Views expressed are the product of the school of hard knocks, which includes watching my team at Kinetix represent great companies and brands on the RPO recruiting trail. Reach out if you ever need recruiting help while you build something great.