Identify Key Psychological Components of Candidate Attraction

By Jim Coddington on MARCH 15, 2017

To Attract the Best Talent, Be Exceptional

Does your company want to attract the best talent? If the answer is yes, you should take steps never to give uncommon candidates the impression that you offer a common opportunity. Exceptional people will quickly lose interest if they feel they are being “herded” through a standard job application process. That standard approach will not attract the imagination of the best. You will need to tailor your hiring process and the presentation of your opportunity to the unique psychology of the talent you are trying to recruit. Here are three tips that will help you evaluate your hiring process right now:

Never Use Standardized Online Applications

Do not make your opportunity feel “common” by sending a candidate a link to fill out a standardized online job application. This approach will cause top talent to lose enthusiasm for the position before they walk into the first interview. A cookie-cutter application form gives the impression that an opportunity is one-size-fits-all. Standardized language and processes can make sought-after candidates feel “herded.” If you want to hire from the herd, that approach is fine. Otherwise, your organization should develop a more personalized approach.

Do Not Post Boilerplate Job Descriptions

Unless you can afford to hire the average candidate, get out of the ad writing business. If you want to recruit and attract the best talent, do not publish ads that contain generalized descriptions and specs. As a general rule, standardized job specs make people feel either underqualified or overqualified. Generalized ads are likely to diminish the allure your opportunity ought to represent in the marketplace. The strongest solution is a true recruiting campaign. Any ad should emphasize attributes of an opportunity that differentiate your organization and develop benefits of the role, present and future.

Standardized ads can hamper a recruiter’s efforts to bring you top talent. After your recruiter presents the opportunity, the best people typically do their own independent research into the distinguishing characteristics of the position. Most often, the best talent is open to a quality move, even if they are not seeking a new role. The strongest professional recruiter should be adept at engaging these candidates. The goal is to convince the candidate of the true value and distinction that your career opportunity represents. Show them that value outweighs the risk of leaving the security of their current position.

If the candidate should suddenly find a boilerplate ad posted online, it may make the position seem unexceptional. That is a psychological barrier that can prevent exceptional people from being attracted to your opportunity. This is especially true in the case of passive candidates being drawn in by a professional career consultant.

Set the Right Tone

Throughout the interview process, set the right tone by emphasizing the remarkable nature of your opportunity and by speaking directly to the unique strengths of each individual candidate. Go after each candidate as though there is no better talent out there in the marketplace. Resist the temptation to make presumptions based on their resume alone. If the candidate is worthy of your time for an interview, then the candidate is worthy of your presumption that they are the best potential candidate for your company.

These three tips are only the beginning. The psychological components of candidate attraction should guide your approach throughout the process. Identify what motivates the candidate’s heart and mind. That insight should shape how you approach recruiting so you can always attract the best of the best.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Jim Coddington

Jim Coddington

Executive Vice President

Jim began his career at Kimmel in 1997 and has played an integral role in the success of our firm. He created a vast network of contacts and clients in the Northeast market and has dedicated his career to serving this market.

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