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Are you getting into your candidates’ heads?

Blog inside candidate head content

As we go deeper into a recruitment boom that sees employers fighting for the best talent in almost every industry, could a little bit of psychology be the differentiator when it comes to becoming the employer of choice?

We don’t need to spend too much time discussing this — if you’re a recruiter, you’ll know exactly how tough it is to find and onboard people right now. Where we’re going to spend most of our time looking is at the psychology behind hiring in its current form, and two takeaways that could help you convince that great candidate with five other offers on the table elsewhere that you’re their best bet.

What does the candidate want to know?

It’s time for some role play. As a recruiter, or HR professional, rewind the clock to the last time you applied for a role, and think about the basics you needed to become interested in the role. Note them down.

Under a second category, list out the nice-to-haves that enticed you to go through the recruitment process and eventually take the job. Jot those down.

Then, think about the reasons why you’re still there, and of course the things that would make you leave. Get those written down too. Once that’s done, go and do the same with colleagues from the different departments where you work.

Before you know it, you’ve got a gigantic list of information that could inform your job adverts, job descriptions, welcome brochures, onboarding documents, introductory training and anything else that the candidate interacts with from the first job advert to signing on the dotted line.

This ‘real world’ shopping list now makes it much clearer for applicants to understand what to expect, and if what’s on offer matches their needs, wants and aspirations. And the clever psychology part? You can create an excellent story that helps the applicant relate to your own journey, tapping into trust, security, hopes, and expectations before they’ve even thought about salary. Ask them if the other companies they’re interviewing with are so transparent and honest.

Focus on the long game

If there’s one thing humans love, even if we try to deny it, it’s stability. Why do you think our workforces are made up of primarily permanent candidates?

The current climate, with its shortages and displays of desperation (300% salary increases for ‘low skilled’ workers in some sectors) feels very dog-eat-dog, and this carries onto the candidate experience.

Yes, the big welcome bonuses are exciting, and the new hourly rates soaring into the stratosphere make it an interesting time to be hunting for a new role in, say, hospitality. But what happens when we go back to being sensible and level-headed?

The ‘desperate measures for desperate times’ will quickly go out the window when employers realise that short-term boosts are unsustainable.

So which psychological trick can we use here?

Remind candidates that the current boom will be short-lived, and that security isn’t guaranteed just because others are fighting for their services now.

Create a concrete development plan, with transparent salary increases, bonuses, milestones, training and a bright and positive outlook. A long-term project is attractive to us as a species, and as long as the rewards at the end of the journey are far superior to what’s being offered now, we’re more likely to wait a bit longer if it means we get more in the future. Aren’t humans smart...

Ditch the panic mode and provide candidates with a realistic, attainable journey with great rewards along the way and you’ll seriously stand out from the highest bidders desperately clawing at the job market, reinforcing the awful contractual nature of work in the process — they’ll only ever be able to offer their current highest bid.

Do you think these quick tips could make an impact on your hiring? Or do you feel that when it comes to sink or swim, money talks above all? Try them out – they’re free – and see if it makes a difference. Let me know on LinkedIn or Twitter if they worked.

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