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Get into the head of your ideal candidate to recruit the best talent

Let’s begin this by laying out some background context and set out some basics that are often forgotten about in the world of work and employment.

A contract of employment is a mutual agreement of services between 2 parties, the employer and the employee. An employer requires certain expertise and skillsets for the benefit of their business, the employee requires regular financial income. This relationship should be kept in steady equilibrium for the ongoing benefit of both parties.

Seems pretty straightforward, because it is.

This dynamic doesn’t start when an individual commences work with a new employer, it actually starts before that, when a company is seeking their ideal candidate, and a jobseeker is looking for their next employment opportunity.

It is unfortunate that when a vast majority of organisations are recruiting they look to gain the services and talent of their perfect candidate by making a list of what they need from someone and offer very little information in return. This is an ineffective strategy, and doesn’t reflect the balanced dynamic listed earlier.

How often do job adverts contain things like this:

  • Must have experience of ‘X’ system
  • Must have worked on ‘X’ projects
  • Must be willing to travel
  • Must have minimum of 5 years experience

And then follow up with this:

  • Salary competitive (translated means we’re only prepared to pay average with mediocre benefits, and we’re not prepared to tell you any more.)

This does not make good reading for their perfect candidate. Onto the next job advert they go.

Flipping this around, imagine if a candidate’s CV just contained a list of demands (I want a high salary, excellent benefits, flexible working options, generous pension, fat bonus etc, etc..) but didn’t contain any information on what their expertise is, their employment history, achievements or what makes them a great fit for the organisation.

Any company with any sense would just skip past it to the next candidate CV.

If a job advert is a shopping list of what is needed from someone, without articulating why they are a great employer, the expected remuneration or any of the great benefits the individual can expect, why would a jobseeker with any sense apply?

For the perfect candidate to want to work for you they need to see what they really want out of a role and place of work, and it needs to sound great if they are going to commit to spending 10 hours a day there for the next considerable chapter of their life.

As per the title of this piece, you need to get into the head of your ideal candidate.

When writing a job advert or job specification, of course you need it to contain all the key requirements so the individual fully fills the brief, but always be mindful of the way it is composed so these are made to sound appealing too.

A job advert needs to be in positive balance, then the applicant can understand how you can work together for mutual benefit, and everyone wins.