Seeking the best talent to present to hiring leaders is the #1 shared goal for those in the talent acquisition business. And, earning the respect of candidates by creating a positive and memorable candidate experience is the forefront of most recruiters’ minds. Whether you’re an NFL Talent Scout, a Talent Acquisition Partner for adidas, or recruiting for your small business, finding the best talent and offering the best candidate experience is at the top of the list.

What determines a positive and memorable candidate experience?

1. Plan your draft

Mapping out your recruiting strategy is the key to identifying your next draft pick. Having a well thought-out plan with activations, talent requirements, and hiring leader buy-in is essential in kicking off an award-winning candidate experience. Ensuring a thorough strategy meeting with the hiring leader to understand the nuances of the role requirements is essential to maximizing your time and potential candidates.

Talents having a conversation at a recuiting event in a relaxed environment to network
A relaxed conversation in a welcoming recruiting environment helps make valuable connections.

2. Get them at “Hello”

While football talent agent Jerry Maguire is ficticious, we can learn a great deal from his ability to win others over with “hello!” Jerry was a connector. His character traits were magnetic to both athletes and to eventually his love interest. Jerry knew that there was a certain “humanity” and “transparency” necessary in connecting with others.

3. Ongoing positive engagement

This positive engagment continues throughout the process when the recruiter extends warmth, sincerity, and a pragmatic approach. The art is a balancing act of these behaviors, while also peppering in active listening, empathy, and openness.

4. Expand your fan base

A woman receives an HR award for quality recruitment on a red carpet
Planning a quality hiring strategy brings top candidates to your organization and can win you an award or two along the way.

Candidates will remember how they felt long after they are hired. And, for candidates who do not make the cut, it’s equally important to leave them feeling fantastic and respected. Simply put, treat candidates as you would like to be treated. While a candidate may not be a fit today, he/she may be a fit for the future. Timing is everything. In the meantime, candidates who are not selected for the role, or who opt out of the process, may become brand advocates and refer others to you from his/her network.

Professional NFL and NBA scouts have this skill buttoned up, as they know the value of continuing to treat coveted talent with respect while assessing their skills. Today’s running back may not be ready for the season’s draft but 12 months later he may be. Offering a great experience also instills a fan and extended fan base for the coveted team. Respect goes a long way.

5. Listen to expectations

Genuinely discuss the environment of your company and ask questions such as “what do you expect from the culture of the company” or “what do you expect from the person you are reporting to?”

The more a talent scout or hiring manager shares about the culture of the organization, the better the candidate can determine if the environment is an appropriate fit. Sharing your organization’s employer value proposition or differentiators, you are letting people know what your employees value and appreciate by working in the brand. This also lets top candidates determine if the culture is aligned with what they are seeking.

6. Make that call

Following up in a timely and ongoing manner by phone is perhaps one of the easiest and yet underutilized actions today. Top talent scouts and talent acquisition gurus know that the phone is the best method of keeping the connection going. Sure, it’s great to use email or text if we’re on the run, but the voice-to-voice connection separates average connectors from exceptional.

These tips are just a few of the many that help top scouts in all industries seek, find, and retain top talent from the initial greeting to keeping talent warm on the bench.

What other tips do you use? How do you create a winning talent team?

adidas North America Talent Aquisition team earns the CandE Award for Top Candidate Experience and presents it in a group picture
Congratulations to the adidas North America Talent Acquisition team on earning the CandE Award for Top Candidate Experience in 2017!

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