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Former Member

I was thinking about this the other day when talking to a friend about her decade-long obsession with “The Bachelor”. Of course, you know we’re talking about the television show that follows one special gentleman during his incredible journey to be a bachelor no more. With 25 or so available women (some of whom turn out to be “dream dates” and others complete “duds”) and one sexy, single guy all looking for a special connection, the road to true love can be very surprising – and often dramatic.

Which got me thinking…

Is this a similar experience for candidates? Of course, the process is not as salacious as the show. But is the basic premise the same? When they enter your office lobby, do they see a “dream date” or a “dud”?

Which one are you?

The best way to become a “dream date” is to follow those that are. Here are six qualities job candidates are looking for:

1.  They like the same things and hang out at the same places.

In other words, you need to be where your candidates are. LinkedIn and other social networks are okay, but they are not enough by themselves. You need to show presence at industry insider Web sites, associations, and other more specific target sites.

And you don’t have to guess at this. What are the key roles you are trying to fill and who are your best performers in those roles? Where did they come from? You cannot only track this with good sourcing technologies, but you can add depth by asking them. It’s really as easy as asking “So Bob, we know you came in from a referral from Sarah, but where else did you interact with us?”

At a former high-tech company I worked with, we had five times the volume of new hires by marketing at niche job boards for certain positions, compared to the previous strategy of a wide net across a bunch of generic boards.

After you know where to find potential candidates, be strategic in where you market your brand and your job openings. Also, don’t shout at candidates, use tactics to draw them in. Think of it like an online cocktail party. Don’t be that annoying guy who talks to everyone and does not have anything interesting to say.

2.  They are so easy to talk to.

Can a candidate easily engage with you without applying to a job? Give your candidates a variety of ways to interact with you without having to make a lifetime commitment.

Marketing 101 principles tell us that it takes seven touches to get someone to act. It’s the same with career dating. Let them join your talent community by just dropping off (via an electronic business card) basic information. Let them choose whether they want a second date. And give them options around how they would like to interact with you (for example, e-mail, RSS, and SMS text) and how often.

The fancy word for this is “multimodal communication,” but I like to think about it as just being appropriately friendly. Recruiters used to spend hours keeping in touch with candidates, this is an area where technology can really work for you.

3.  They want to know the real you.

Avoid sounding like a marketing brochure. Be authentic. If you aren’t Google or Twitter, don’t try to act like them on your career site. Candidates will find out anyway – Glass door and others make this astonishingly easy.

I recently worked with a company looking to revamp their 200-year-old brand. They wanted to use that iconic brand to show stability and longevity without sounding old. But, as this company found out, there are a variety of creative ways to do this. Don’t be afraid to spend some cycles here. Who are you and what makes you different? Can everyone in your company articulate this? How is your brand different than your top competitor?

Authentic branding that aligns with your value proposition and culture can be a key driver to building the workforce you need for your future growth. And your career site can be the ideal storefront for your dreamboat candidate.

4.  They are not afraid of commitment.

The number one thing candidates want to do on your career site is to find and apply to a job that fits them. This sounds trite, but can they find what is available in three clicks or less?

Can they see options by categories they care about? How many jobs in downtown Minneapolis or within 10 miles of my house? How many jobs with keywords “creativity” and “HR”? I’m ex-military; do you have a job that aligns with what I did in my old role?

If you’ve got a great career site that gives candidates what they want quickly, they will take the plunge (apply). If you doubt me, take a peek at this infographic with some great data on how effective an awesome career site can be.

5. They are open minded.

Show candidates that you are always looking for new talent, even if a job opening is not available. You are not being a tease. Really.

If your company sells a product and you are currently out of stock, do you stop marketing that item or offering it to your customers? Today, the only time when most companies are marketing their jobs is when there’s an opening. However, this is a missed opportunity.

Develop job profiles, and put them on your career site. Each one should have its own separate landing page and should have the jobs (if open) listed on the page. And if there are no open jobs, let the candidate enter their e-mail address on that page so future jobs can be marketed to them.

Also, ask the candidate to share their contacts with you. Functionality like our social matcher lets the candidate hook up her friends with your jobs. And who knows…sometimes blind dates are the best! Just another way to build engagement with candidates and add to your pipeline of talent!

6.    And they’re also OK with being just friends.

How frustrating is it actually put yourself out there and ask someone out, but your dream date never gets back to you? Be communicative, and kind to the candidates you reject. Also, don’t be afraid to keep communicating.

Your marketing department has automated communication to your customers. Why can’t you? Let the candidate opt out of this communication if they are just really not that into you. If handled well, even your rejects will like you and your brand. This is especially nice if your candidates are your customers (listen up, Williams Sonoma, Target, Starbucks, and Best Buy). Treat them well, they buy and tell others.

Want to learn more about best practices for acquiring new talent? You might want to check out the
2013 Talent Acquisition Technology Forum in San Francisco. Get a firsthand look at the latest technology and best practices available to sweep your job candidates off their feet.

Good luck!

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