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There are many components of a recruitment process that can be tweaked, amplified or simply removed to give a company the best chance of securing their preferred hire. But so often just the simplest things can make the biggest differences, but they don’t happen, and as a result a recruitment process falls flat on its face.

There is much talk about this, that and the other advance in the ‘science’ of talent attraction and acquisition, but sometimes it’s just about keeping it simple and getting the job done. You can have the most appealing brand, the most incredible job, the most earth shatteringly fail-safe process of assessment, but if another employer is able to connect more effectively to the individual you want to hire……chances are you’ll struggle to steer them your way in a competitive situation.

Here are some of the simplest, but often most critical things to reflect on when trying to get your preferred candidate over the line to join your company.


Simplest of all, and appreciating this is always a battle employers face when balancing the day job and/or logistical factors – but in general, the company that moves the quickest is often more likely to see success. This is not to suggest short cuts to properly assess the suitability of the candidate. A failed hire is almost certainly worse than a protracted search. However, it is still quite rare (and refreshing when you see it) to witness a company or hiring manager that truly seems to prioritise the need to recruit above most of their other daily concerns, and then act with urgency, agility and dare I say it, humility, to make themselves available to ensure the recruitment process takes place as quickly as possible.

Make it personal

One very recent example springs to mind to clearly demonstrate this point. One candidate with two offers and a paper thin choice between them. Option one – a well-known, high-brow prestigious brand sporting a sophisticated in-house recruitment function (indeed a nominee for several in-house recruitment awards). Option two – a relatively unknown brand, no recruitment team. Both offer similarly attractive career opportunities, and similar packages. On asking the candidate why they finally settled for the un-known brand, among the key things they mentioned was being called three times by the hiring manager during the offer management process, where at the prestigious brand the people involved in the interview process had not once spoken to them since the interview, subsequent communication was only via email and from the recruitment team. The impression was one company really wanted and valued getting them on board. I’ve seen plenty of these examples over 20 years in recruitment, and from both the internal and external perspective – if you want that person, don’t fall at the last hurdle and abdicate yourself out of the job of helping to seal the appointment.

Keep things simple and outcome focused

Recruitment is often cited as not being rocket science. So in fact it’s not that hard to do it well regardless of the size of company you work for or are representing, as long as you’re giving proper, customised thought to each of the following.

Talent identification:

  • Think carefully who you want to attract today and why, not necessarily what you’ve got and had before.

Talent attraction:

  • Make sure what you’re communicating to the market is actually likely to be attractive to your target audience? Take time to create the right ad, engage the right recruitment firm, or deploy you in-house team on more value adding tasks.

Talent selection & assessment:

  • Will your process give you sufficient information to make a well informed judgement on the best hire to make?
  • Will the candidate feel it’s allowed them a fair chance to present their credentials and understand why this would be a good career choice for them to make?

Talent engagement:

  • The process doesn’t end when they’ve said yes……this is a new hire and a significant investment. Make sure you help to set them up for success, especially when you know the alarming stats are 1 in 3 new hires fail within the 6-12 months.

Talk to them, talk to them lots

More often than note, someone will need their heart to be in it as well as their head to accept a job offer. A conversation goes a very long way, and verbal communication is much more effective to build rapport than email, text etc. The telephone does seem an under-used tool these days! Appreciating the realities of a busy recruiter though, where a call may not be possible, proactively communicating with a candidate cannot be under-rated in its value in the recruitment process. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a survey into the candidate experience which doesn’t in some way place communication top of the list on what companies or recruiters should either do better, or must do well.