To attract talent in the tightest employment market Australia has seen in over a decade, employers need to think differently and recruit differently. It’s not a question of tweaking here and there to become an employer of choice. Seismic shifts are needed.
The reality is that too many employers are stuck in old and ineffective ways of recruiting, focusing on themselves and what they want, not on candidates and what they want. Many employers ignore the reality that the generation entering today’s market have hugely different priorities from candidates even a short decade ago.
In this article, face2face Chief Executive Officer, Kate Prior, shares insights from more than 30 years in the industry on a) understanding what modern candidates want and b) recalibrating recruitment marketing to meet those needs.
Understanding what modern candidates want
Candidates are no longer driven solely by money and don’t feel obligated to stick with an employer out of loyalty. Kate says today’s candidates are most attracted to inspirational leadership, learning and development, wellbeing, and the ability to work independently under a flexible, hybrid model.
Leadership is at the top of the ladder for candidates, and much research bears this out. In today’s work world, employees aren’t content to put up with poor leaders in any organisation, whether public, private or not-for-profit.
“Qualities sought in leaders vary, but definitely include two-way communications, solid listening skills, ability to motivate, and flexibility to solve problems without laying blame,” says Kate. “Inspirational leaders openly recognise employees and teams for their amazing contributions.”
Nurturing learning and development
Candidates crave opportunities to grow professionally. Training and upskilling are key to avoid stagnation. If an organisation doesn’t invest in growing its staff, and isn’t driven to develop career opportunities and pathways, they’ll soon suffer the repercussions.
“A learning culture is critical,” says Kate. “Continual education, to be rewarding for candidates and employees, must focus on in-demand skills for the best take-up. Tailoring learning opportunities is paramount and so is the ability to learn in a mix of ways, such as one-on-one sessions, online, in small groups, and at conferences.”
Candidates take a company’s approach to wellbeing seriously. It’s not a nice-to-have but a must-have for many. COVID-19’s mega impact on the workforce has highlighted this even more. And candidates aren’t looking for token initiatives, either. They want evidence that wellbeing is ingrained in an organisation’s ethos, modus operandi and even physical design.
“Today, wellbeing is so much more than just flexible working arrangements, although these are important,” says Kate. “It’s about offering employee assistance, mental health programs, activities that support wellness, and respect for work-life balance. It can even go into the design of the workplace, with candidates loving inviting décor and layout.”
Balance of teamwork and independence
Teamwork is a priority for many organisations and candidates typically get that. But candidates also appreciate and want the opportunity to work independently – without a micro-managing boss breathing down their back. Candidates want to know what is expected of them and they want the satisfaction of being allowed to get on with the job.
“An autonomous working style is important not just for employees but employers,” says Kate. “It tends to be a more efficient approach and can have the ripple effects of greater creativity and overall performance.”
Kate says candidates do also focus on salary (and aren’t afraid to ask for pay increases) and job security but these aren’t the top attractiveness features.
Recalibrate recruitment marketing
Now that you know what candidates are looking for, it’s time to recalibrate the way you market your recruitment, so you stand out in the crowd.
Better writing, sharper focus
If job ads don’t incorporate leadership, learning and developing, wellbeing and the ability to work independently, they’re not hitting the mark. Ads focusing only on what employers want are weak by comparison.
Enhance your website
Back up job ads with website content that shines the spotlight on the top attractions that candidates are looking for. Give examples of leadership in action, learning and development opportunities, and your wellbeing initiatives. Also promote case studies or profiles of employees rewarded by getting to work in both teams and independently.
When recruiting, seize the social media moment. Develop strategic posts that showcase how your organisation pays more than lip service to what candidates want.
Brief your recruiter
Whether you’re working with in-house or external recruitment experts, brief in detail on what you want to achieve by recalibrating recruitment. Solicit their ideas and work together on how to proactively promote your organisation as an amazing place to work.
Want to learn more?
Best recruitment techniques, part 1
Best recruitment techniques, part 2
Work perks employees will love
Reasons to care about culture add
Workplace hybrid model