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How to find your ideal candidate

Ilinca Draganescu


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Your company is growing. Like, a lot. And your team of recruiters is working their collective fingers to the bone in the effort to fill all of the seats you have open. Thing is, it’s just not enough. For every seat you fill, it seems like 3 more become available. Add to the confusion the proliferation of job boards and recruiting platforms that seem to come online every day and it can be difficult separating the wheat from the chaff.


Never fear! We’re here to help. With a concerted effort and some good old fashioned research, you can narrow down your search field and focus your hunt on the sources that are the most likely to turn up the high-quality candidates you need. Bonus points awarded for finding the ones who are also great cultural fits for your company.

Recruitment Marketing: Not Growing Without Cause


Recruitment marketing (RM) takes the best pieces from inbound marketing and puts them to work in the HR realm. RM uses tactics to attract, engage, and delight potential candidates rather than the customers targeted by traditional marketing techniques. These techniques revolve around creating engaging content, interacting with your audience where they already spend their online free time (social media, forums, networking sites) in order to ensure that when they’re ready to jump ship and find a new employer—your company is top-of-mind.


By building this ready and willing talent pool to draw from when you have an opening to fill, you can drastically cut the time, energy, and expense generally associated with conducting a full-on candidate search. You may not even have to post the job to standard job boards, you can email the right segment of your contact list, knowing that the job description you send out will be seen by a pre-sorted collection of the best quality candidates out there.

Social Media: Targeted Interactions


We mentioned social media above as being part of a recruitment marketing strategy, but it’s an important enough piece of the puzzle that it warrants being called out. The key to successful social media recruiting is knowing where to put your focus.


Where do your candidates spend their free time online? Chances are, they’re on one or more social media platforms. Do your research here and determine if you should be focusing on the mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter, or if your audience is more likely to be found on niche sites like Github or Stackexchange.


It’s important to understand going into any RM strategy that these are long-term practices. You need to do your research carefully, then create and nurture presence on the sites you determine to be the best bets. By building up your following organically, you’ll gain the reputation for being a company that cares, and your followers will begin to trust you to say it like it is, and they’ll want to join up when the chance arises.

Employee Referral Programs are Back in a Big Way


The simple, underlying concept here is that “like knows like.” If you have a team of awesome UX designers, chances are they know other excellent UX designers. So, when you have an opening to fill, using your available resources should be a no-brainer, right?


Create an institutionalized program where existing employees get some sort of swag for referring someone who ultimately gets hired. Spa days, extra PTO days to use as they desire, or even something as simple as a free lunch can be all it takes for someone to refer your next perfect hire. 


Then, shortcut these referral applicants so they bypass the normal ATS channels and have a human be the first to read their application. This way the candidate knows right off the bat where they stand and that you take their friendship with the referring employee seriously. In a roundabout way, this shows the trust you have in your employees and by extension shows the applicant the care and trust you’ll put in them when they come on board.

Gamified Recruiting Platforms are Making Themselves Known


Gamified recruiting tactics aren’t new. 800-pound gorillas like Google and Apple have been using them for years. What is new is the power these platforms bring to the recruiting process in the form of AI-driven assessments and the ability to rate applicants on factors that include the so-called “soft skills” like teamwork and creative thinking.


The new wave of gamified online recruiting solutions combine modern recruiting standards with learning opportunities, assessment tools, and more to provide you with pre-screened candidate options that eliminate the need for initial sorting and sifting out those who just won’t be good matches. 


You have the ability to post custom made challenges that test potential applicants hard skills, as well as creating entire academies that can lead candidates through learning the skills you want, and award them with certifications to prove they know their stuff. All of this feeds the AI-powered algorithms that run behind these platforms, which in turn send you the people determined to be not only the strongest in hard skills, but also the best cultural fit for your company.

Don’t Overlook the Classics


With all this talk about the shiny newness of recruitment marketing and gamified platforms, please don’t overlook the old standbys: job descriptions, career portals, and emotionally intelligent recruiters.


A solid, well-written, and thoughtfully crafted job description is still the best tool at your disposal for giving potential applicants the rundown of your open positions and a summary of what your company has to offer. Remember these basic points when creating your descriptions, and you’ll be off to a great start on any job search:


  • Stay in brand voice
  • Include the soft skills you’re looking for
  • Have the hiring manager provide input to ensure accuracy of hard skills needed
  • Include employee testimonials from current team members to encourage cultural fit


Next to the job description, your company career portal is of paramount importance. This is where the potential candidate who hasn’t reached out or responded to a social media post is going to look first to get a handle on your company and the jobs on offer. It needs to be constantly updated with current openings, should include more testimonials because people trust people, and can even have video tours of the office and other media to help people learn more about your company. Lastly, install a chatbot to handle incoming questions from these potential new hires 24/7.


And finally, your people. Recruiting is all about people, so your team of recruiters should all be able to describe themselves as “a people person.” Offer training in emotional intelligence and other interpersonal skills to solidify their ability to judge people fairly no matter how anxious they may be come interview time. The more personable and relaxed your recruiters are, the more relaxed the candidate will be in their presence. And that’s the only way to get a complete picture of their personality and how they’ll fit into the team they’re interviewing for.


The best recruiters also understand at an innate level the importance of staying in touch and keeping people up-to-date throughout their entire journey through your candidate funnel. An when it comes right down to it, finding the right candidate is only the first step, keeping them interested through their entire candidate journey is the key to getting the right people in seat.

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