There’s nothing more satisfying than closing the perfect candidate. The reward comes when all your hard work culminates in a signed offer. For just a moment you can bask in the glory of a job well done.
But getting from job posting to offer doesn’t come easily. For each position, you’ve screened dozens, if not hundreds of applicants: research shows that 98% of job seekers are eliminated at the initial screening.1
Your Biggest Recruiting Challenge: Quality Candidates
It’s no wonder recruiting is still a challenge despite all the advances in applicant tracking systems, job posting options, and company career portals. In a recent survey of 750 U.S. and UK hiring decision makers, we asked for the top recruiting challenges that face talent acquisition teams today (in the context of attracting informed candidates).
Top Recruiting Challenges:4
Quality Candidates = Informed Candidates
If finding quality candidates is your number one challenge, it’s worth the time and effort to define who they are and figure out the best ways to reach them.
Nine in ten (88%) hiring decision makers agree that an informed candidate is a quality candidate, so let’s take a closer look at the characteristics and benefits of attracting and hiring informed candidates.
Section 1: Who Is an Informed Candidate
DEFINITION: An informed candidate is one that is prepared, engaged, relevant and knowledgeable — is a quality candidate.
Characteristics of Informed Candidates
Our survey proved that informed candidates are prepared, have the right experience, and understand the role and the company. They’ve done their homework, and they stand out in your initial screening all the way through the interview process.
Key Attributes of Informed Candidates:4
- Prepared for interviews and ask pertinent questions
- Demonstrate right experience Knowledgeable about the role
- Knowledgeable of the organization’s culture and values
- Prepared so that they have the right expectations about compensation and benefits
Informed Candidates Make Hiring More Efficient
Candidates who have done their homework on the company and understand the role make your hiring process easier, faster and less expensive.
Top Benefits of Interviewing Informed Candidates:4
- Improved candidate experience
- Reduced time to hire
- Improved hiring manager satisfaction
- Reduced number of interviews per candidate
- Reduced costs for sourcing and recruiting
While there’s no doubt informed candidates are easier to screen and interview, what’s the benefit of hiring them? Our survey revealed key reasons that impact your HR metrics.
Informed Candidates Make Better Employees
Higher retention rates improved productivity and increased employee engagement are some of the benefits of hiring informed candidates.
Top Benefits of Hiring Informed Candidates:4
- Better employee retention
- More productive employees
- More engaged employees
- Better team players
- Improved employee experience
Now that you know what informed candidates are why you should look for them, let’s look at ways you can target them in your recruiting efforts.
Section 2: Targeting the Informed Candidate
Targeting informed candidates is all about making sure they have the information they need at the crucial time when they are making decisions about where to apply. These steps will help you target them more effectively.
Step 1: Understand the Informed Candidate Journey
The first step in targeting informed candidates is to understand how and where they access information. Because 93% of job seekers today say it’s important to be thoughtful and informed about all aspects of a company prior to accepting a job offer,5 putting yourself in their shoes is a useful exercise that will enable you to give them the information they need, where and when they need it.
Job seekers today visit 7 different job sites during their search.5 In addition to job sites, informed candidates use a variety of sources to find information on your company’s mission, its culture, salaries, and business prospects.
Look at each of the following to see what candidates might find out about what it’s like to work at your company:
- Careers page
- Job descriptions
- Review sites, including Glassdoor
- Social media
- Press releases
- News media
As the only place where candidates can find job listings, employee reviews, interview information and details on salary and benefits alongside updates from your company, Glassdoor is a unique step in the informed candidate journey.
The majority of Glassdoor users read at least 7 reviews before forming an opinion of a company.6 In addition to reading reviews, informed candidates use a variety of tools available from Glassdoor:
- Job Alert emails
- Glassdoor mobile app and notifications
- Employer Profiles
- Know Your Worth salary estimates
- Follow Companies
Taken together, all these sources allow candidates to be more thoughtful and informed about where they apply.
Step 2: Deliver the Information They Need Most
Because informed candidates are going deep and carefully evaluating many jobs and companies at the same time, it’s important that the right candidates find the information they need so that they choose to apply to a role at your company instead of one at your competitor.
According to a recent survey of hiring decision makers, candidates are looking for a mix of practical information (such as compensation and benefits) about the job in addition to the human factors like company culture and mission.
Top Influences on Whether a Candidate Joins:7
- Salary and compensation
- Company culture
- Company reputation / Employer brand
- Interviews with managers
- Company mission and values
Knowing no company is without flaws, informed candidates look to all the information available to make their assessments. They look at employee reviews and employer responses:
Engaging with your Glassdoor profile gives candidates an opportunity to hear from you directly.
Follow these steps to give informed candidates a more complete picture of what it’s like to work at your company:
- Update your Company Overview section
- Put a plan in place to respond to reviews
- Post photos, videos, and links to social media channels
- Update benefits information
- Post company updates
- Ensure consistency between messaging on corporate careers page and Glassdoor
Step 3: Post Jobs Where They Are Already Looking for Information
A one-stop shop for accurate information about companies and job postings is an informed candidate’s dream. Glassdoor gives candidates both in one place, eliminating the need to go back and forth between job sites and review sites, in addition to the process of checking company careers pages and social media channels.
The Power of Self-Selection
Self-selecting your position and company after seeing a variety of reviews alongside employer responses and company photos and videos is the first indication that a candidate could be a good fit.
A variety of advertising packages available on Glassdoor will help you get your positions in front of informed candidates and stay within budget. But that’s not all you’ll need to do. Read on to find out how to attract informed candidates with your job descriptions and keep them engaged throughout the interview process.
Section 3: Tailoring Job Descriptions to Informed Candidates
Three in four hiring decision-makers say it’s easier to attract top talent when they know of or about your organization (specifically when it comes to your company’s name, product and/or services).4 However, if you’re not in the top tier of well-known companies, your job descriptions will have to work a little harder to attract informed candidates.
Once a candidate clicks on your job listing, they look for information that will help them decide if the opportunity merits further investigation. Remember not all informed candidates fit the same mold. Some care most about location, some are more mission-driven, and others are looking for personal career development. Take time to put yourself in the candidate’s shoes for each role, and then start from there.
List city, state, and country if appropriate. Be sure to note if the job will be located at company headquarters or in a satellite or regional location. List transportation options to your office and/or remote working policies.
Get as specific as possible when it comes to describing the responsibilities of the role without creating a laundry list of tasks. List specific projects this person will work on, who they’ll work with and report into, and what technology or resources they’ll have at their disposal. Keep it to 3–5 key points to keep the description skimmable.
MISSION AND VALUES
Describe how the role ties into your company’s mission and values. Candidates will want to understand how they will be supporting a mission that aligns with their personal values.
Describe your company culture and the team culture as accurately as possible so candidates know how they will add to it and whether they’re likely to thrive. Show how working for your company is a unique experience, differentiating your employment brand.
BENEFITS AND PERKS
State your available benefits and any unique perks such as transportation subsidies, employee discounts, and wellness offerings.
Don’t just tell candidates about your company, go the extra mile to show them. Include links to videos, pictures, employee testimonials, news stories or your Glassdoor profile to make it easy for them to collect more information.
Section 4: How to Interview Informed Candidates
Once you’ve defined your short list of applicants, the work of interviewing begins. The interview is often a candidate’s first in-person experience of your brand and can make or break the recruitment process. The initial screening can help you determine if a candidate is indeed informed, well-researched and ready to not only fill the role but stay for the long haul.
Here are five key areas of questioning that will help you find out how informed a candidate is, and a few questions for each. As you ask these questions, listen for how educated the candidate seems on the role, your company, and its culture.
- What are two things about our company that stand out to you?
- What prompted you to apply for this job?
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES:
- What skills or prior experience would you draw on in this role?
- Name two things you would need to learn to perform at full capacity in this role.
MISSION & VALUES
- What excites you about working for a company that (your mission)?
- How do you feel that your skills and experience would contribute to our company’s goals and mission?
- What about our company culture would help you thrive?
- How does your work style align with our company culture?
FUTURE PROSPECTS & BUSINESS CHALLENGES
- Why would you want to work at our company over one of our competitors?
- What excites you about the future of our company?
Listen for Questions
Because they know a fit is a two-way street, informed candidates ask pertinent questions. As you speak to each candidate, look for clues on how engaged and informed they are.
Here are a few telltale signs of an informed candidate:
- Mention of a recent project or initiative your company released to the public
- Knowledge of your product and the way it works
- Mention of specific internal events or employee engagement activities
- Questions about your Glassdoor reviews
- Specific questions about your company culture
- Mention of news articles, blog posts, company updates on Glassdoor or other materials they used to research your company
- Asking for clarity on anything they came across in their research
- Talking about industry trends in the field and how they would make improvements at your company
Interview Best Practices
When interviewing informed candidates, it’s critical to be well prepared and aligned with hiring managers so the process can move quickly. Competent high performers will expect efficiency and want to be treated with the same regard that they have given your company.
Before starting an interview, make sure every interviewer is prepared with these essentials:
- Re-read the job description and the candidate’s resume
- Determine questions specific to the role of each interviewer
- Check room availability and test any technology you’ll need
- Read recent Glassdoor reviews of your company
- Differentiate between need-to-have versus nice-to-have skills
- Details on how to submit feedback
- Time and date of candidate debrief
Informed Candidates Like a Challenge
Because informed candidates have done the work of finding out about you, they like knowing that you’re doing your due diligence in finding out about them. According to Glassdoor research, more difficult interviews are statistically linked to higher employee satisfaction.
Remember, difficult should mean rigorous, not deflating or confusing. Candidates want to feel as though their experience and intelligence is valued.
Here are a few ways you can make your interviews more difficult without turning candidates off.
- Ask behavioral interview questions
- Give skill-based assessments
- Assign a project or a presentation similar to one that would be performed on the job
- Include members of cross-functional teams in the interview loop
Be Transparent About Glassdoor Reviews
Addressing questions about negative Glassdoor reviews in interviews may be uncomfortable at first, but informed candidates will appreciate your honesty in responding to both the good and the bad experiences reported by reviewers.
Here are some sample comments and responses to guide conversations around Glassdoor reviews. Be sure to tailor your conversation to the review in question.
How to Close the Informed Candidate
Lucky you! You’ve found the perfect fit for your open role and you’re almost ready to bask in the glow of your sweet victory — but not before you get them to sign the offer letter.
Here are a few reasons why an informed candidate may decline or counter an offer and how you can address them constructively:
- They had doubts during the interview process. Informed candidates are curious, so the best way to close them is to make yourself available to answer any and all questions they have. From communicating next steps to going over transportation options and providing email addresses for thank-you notes, these interactions contribute to the candidate experience and leave a lasting impression.
- Your interview process took too long. Although informed candidates typically move through your process faster, it may not be fast enough. Identify and remove any unnecessary bottlenecks to speed up your process.
- They were counter offered. High quality informed candidates are also in high demand. If a candidate is offered more money or a higher title at another company and you can’t compete, try to leverage all the unique aspects of your company. Culture, career growth, and benefits programs all have the power to draw candidates to work for your organization.
Section 5: Always Be Optimizing
To ensure that you aren’t losing out on informed candidates, track key recruiting metrics like cost-per-hire and time to hire. Segment these key stats by the source of hire so you can find out where your best candidates are coming from.
In addition, it’s important to track candidate activity on Glassdoor. Establish a schedule to share Glassdoor reports with key stakeholders in your company’s talent acquisition efforts.
Monitor these Glassdoor metrics to optimize your informed candidate recruiting strategy:
- Monthly pageviews of your profile
- Job clicks
- Company rating trends
- Interview trends
- Company update views and clicks
- CEO approval rating
- Candidate demographics
- Competitor comparisons
- Top companies candidates viewed before or after your company
- Track followers and the companies your followers also follow
Act on Feedback
As you look at your Glassdoor stats, you’ll get a more complete picture of the candidate experience. Discuss employee and candidate feedback with key stakeholders and put a plan in place to make necessary changes. Be sure to share your wins with the team!
Informed candidates make your recruiting process more efficient and result in more productive and engaged employees. To attract more of these quality candidates, satisfy their thirst for information by giving them the information they need on Glassdoor. A best-in-class Glassdoor profile, engaging job descriptions, smart interview questions, and a smooth interview process will help you identify and hire these top candidates. Finally, keeping track of Glassdoor metrics in addition to standard recruiting stats will help you optimize your talent acquisition strategies.
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1. Source: Workopolis, 11/10/16;
2. Source: How Long Does it Take to Hire? Interview Duration in 25 Countries, 2017;
3. Source: SHRM Human Capital Benchmarking Report, 2016;
4. Source: Aptitude Research Partners, 2017;
5. Source: Survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from March 30 - April 3, 2017;
6. Source: Glassdoor.com U.S. Site Survey, August 2017;
7. Source: Aptitude Research Partners, 2017;
8. Source: Glassdoor.com U.S. Site Survey, August 2016;
9. Based on app-to-hire ratios in a 2015 study of 30 million applications from a leading third-party recruitment agency;
10. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research, Do Difficult Job Interviews Lead to More Satisfied Workers? Evidence from Glassdoor Reviews, October 2015;