Recently, we launched our Guide to Creating Candidate Personas and we examined how they can help you attract and retain top talent. The takeaway? Understanding candidates is especially crucial in today’s labour market.

According to a 2016 MRINetwork Recruiter & Employer Sentiment Study, 86 percent of recruiters and 62 percent of employers believed the labor market was candidate-driven rather than employer-driven. This means candidates have their pick of employers and can afford to be more discerning when it comes to choosing a company that’s right for them.

Your candidates are hungry for information to inform their decision, and you can be the one to provide it. Here are three ways to stand out in a candidate-driven labor market:

Start in your own backyard

Want to know your candidates better? Talk to current employees in the roles you are trying to fill. Ask them about their online habits to see where your candidates might be hanging out: What email newsletters do they subscribe to? What sites do they have bookmarked? What communities do they actively participate in? All of this information will help you build your candidate blueprint.

Talk the talk

Once you’ve done some candidate research online, you’ll start to see who your candidates are and how they communicate. This will vary depending on the role but regardless, taking the time to learn their style will go a long way in building authenticity and ultimately their trust.

But beware of straying from your employer brand: This is not about appropriating trendy slang to serve your hiring needs. If you’re a cloud-based software company that’s never used the word “lit” before, it’s probably best you keep it that way. That’s not your brand, and that’s fine. What you have to do is find out who your people are and organically join the conversation when it makes sense to.

Be a (real) human being

Just because you are pursuing multiple candidates, or even 50,000, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide a personalised experience. One way you can do this is to steer clear of stock photos of employees. It’s possible to have polished photos that feature real employees. You won’t risk alienating candidates before they’ve had a chance to learn about you; candidates recognise phoniness and will move on.

If you don’t have a big budget, search your social media feeds and see if any employees have posted photos at work. Reach out to them and ask if you can feature their photo on your company’s career social handles or even on your website.

Want to better understand your candidates and hire smarter? Download our Guide to Creating Candidate Personas.

Senior Vice President

Steve is a fizzing, over-caffeinated whirlwind. And that's no bad thing. Just spend just five minutes in his company and you'll catch a dose of his infectious enthusiasm for all things digital. 

Steve works closely with agency teams around the world to explore, develop and implement strategic initiatives, leveraging social media, new technology and innovative employer brand delivery channels. Needless to say, he is a prolific tweeter, where his feed is split between news from the world of employer branding, recruitment, digital tech and Bruce Springsteen.