Of course, you want the best, but what is the best? How do you define what looks good, how do you differentiate between good and great? It always depends, so many factors determine the balance needed on any one team for them to performance with excellence. There’ll be times when you’re hiring to accommodate increased demands; required improvement in delivery; healthier team morale; improved diversity and inclusion quota’s; and lots more variations.

Your people are important, in fact central to being triumphant in today’s modern work force, as the digital workforce and global markets are quickly changing. It’s hard to keep up with all the demand’s.

Course of Action

The job description (JD): concentrate equally on the personality, your story and the required skills. Begin at the beginning, everyone loves a good story, so build your numbers into a narrative. Why was the company or the business unit formed? What are you trying to accomplish, what is your mission? Always showcase how your company is having an impact and making a difference, substantiate your purpose with data and numbers. Validate.

Add some colour, inject soul and character, it is the human nature that needs to resonate. Describing “fit” is hard, hiring personality is difficult, so work together as a team to display your culture and your values as succinctly as you can. Choose criteria that you can interview against, help your interviewers refrain from making gut decisions and remove all bias. Try not to use terms like “fun” unless you can align these during a selection process, better with “synergy” where you can elicit examples of sharing.

Whatever your culture, values and personality, reveal it and be proud of who you are and where you are going. Paint your picture and let people hear your narrative.

The outreach, the hook, your message

An overwhelming number of companies overlook the value of the “hook”. How many approaches do you think a candidate receives every day, every week? It is an awful lot, so you must create a unique, memorable and engaging message that stands out.

The formula for your first outreach, the “hook”, is short, bold and precise. Most candidates read short form on their phone when they catch a few minutes, the intention of your first outreach is engagement.

Pay attention to the headline, spend time crafting a strong statement in your subject line. Think more like a newspaper headline writer than someone writing a job description with a job title for a subject.

Follow this with three sentences addressing the audience as you (the people you are hoping to employ):

  • Compelling reasons that you (the candidate) would join the company/team/department.
  • Attractive description of the work you (the candidate) will perform.
  • Reasons for the approach to you (the candidate), personalised data referencing the history and interesting experiences relevant for the work on offer.

Personalisation is key – candidates are consumers – they expect an experience more like Netflix than Blockbusters!

The follow up

Being part of a community and fitting in makes us feel good, human beings by nature are social and crave the notion of acceptance. Build trust into your ecosystem and networks by consistent messaging, tone of voice, and follow ups. People warm to familiarity, if you have a strong message it will be heard and it will resonate, but it may take time.

Plan a content calendar baking in your plans and ambitions deep into your audience offering a range of interesting data points: the first hooks and their iterations; the following job descriptions; your company playbook; funding and VC news; product launch information; events you and your team are hosting or speaking at; social events; CSR and charitable activities; key facts and trends in your industry and projects; etc.

Work together as a team to foster trust and show your close working collaboration, have messages and approach sent directly by you, your people, culture and talent team, your leads, your trusted partners. Set out a hiring and recruiting feature team and work as one to get your voice heard in your community.

Listen, learn and clarify what is working well, simple metrics can provide percentile ratios on outreach versus response and beyond into your hiring numbers. Much more compelling insights come from asking those candidates what made them respond.

Hiring is competitive, as Matshona Dhliwayo says “Don't run with the crowd; fly with the stars.”