Blog Candidate Quality How to Attract Talent: The Complete Guide
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Want to make better hires? This guide walks you through how to attract talent, and retain applicants once they enter your pipeline. 


The recruitment space is becoming more and more candidate-driven, with the very best candidates typically already being in employment, and needing a good reason to move onto another role. Businesses are now looking for innovative ways to attract and retain talented individuals, beyond simply sending out a simple job specification.

Talent Attraction definition

But first, what exactly IS talent attraction? Talent attraction refers to parts of the recruitment process that support attracting prospective candidates, up to the point of application.


It is a small part of what should be an overarching talent acquisition process, which is everything that happens in the recruitment timeline from attraction all the way to offer on employment.


The stages of Talent Attraction

There are a number of different stages involved in how to attract talent, from job advert writing, to advertising channel selection. We will cover some of them here.


1. Job advert writing

How you write your job adverts is an integral part of the talent attraction process. This is because many businesses make the mistake of writing a simple job spec, with their essential requirements for the role and little else to excite and engage a prospective candidate.


With the best candidates often passively searching for a new role, your job advert is the perfect place to really sell the role and opportunity to them.


2. Job advert optimisation

To make sure your job advert actually gets seen by talent online, fully optimising your advert is important. This means writing it in a way that guarantees it will be seen, clicked on, and applied to online.


75% of internet users never actually scroll past the first page of results, so you want to increase your chances of appearing on the first page of your chosen job channel. Optimising your advert helps with this.


3. Advertising channel selection

Getting your role in front of the right candidates means selecting the right media channels that these candidates will be searching on. This may involve some research to select the appropriate channels for your business.


You also want to be present across a large enough number of these channels, as this naturally means you will attract a higher volume of talent.


4. Job posting

Once you have selected your job advertising channels, actually posting your jobs on your selected channels is of course a key part of the talent attraction process.


5. Applicant capture

Actually capturing applications from talented candidates is what you want the final outcome to be of the talent attraction stage. You don’t want potential applicants dropping out of the process, overwriting all of your hard work.


Why is Talent Attraction important?

A good talent attraction process is the key to finding the right quantity and quality of applicants for vacancies at your business.


This is important because making the wrong hire can cause a huge financial strain on your business, from issues with under-performance to poor cultural fit that impacts the wider company.


Getting talent attraction right at the beginning of your recruitment process will help you make better hiring decisions, and bring employees into your business that match your needs.


How to attract talent

There are several steps in how to attract talent, and optimise each stage of the talent attraction process.


Each technique should be well researched, and influenced by data, and tried and tested methods. There are 3 key outcomes making these changes will achieve:


  1. Maximised views of your job
  2. More applications generated
  3. More applicants retained


Below we cover some of the ways you can achieve these outcomes.


1. Maximise views of your job

When you get your jobs in front of more candidates, you increase the likelihood of talented individuals seeing and applying to your roles. This depends on two factors: advertising media range AND selection.


Media range

Media range is the breadth and range of job advertising media channels your job actually goes out to. While being present on numerous job boards and advertising channels naturally increases your visibility, buying advertising credits can become costly to your business.


Using a recruitment service (such as an ATS) with access to a job multi-poster is a very cost-effective option. You can simply purchase credits, and post your jobs onto multiple job advertising channels at the click of a button, saving you valuable money and time.


This ultimately helps you increase your reach, and improve your brand visibility online.


Media selection 

Media selection is all about ensuring you are selecting the right job advertising media channels, where your ideal candidate is likely to be. This means taking an evidence-based approach, researching which channels are best for you, and will give you the best return on investment. There are a few ways you can do this:


  • Search Engines: Search engines like Google and Bing are the fastest way to see where relevant applicants are likely to be present. Simply Google the job title and location you’re advertising for, and review the top 3 results as a starting point.


  • Job Boards: Checking job boards for the level of competition can help you decide whether to advertise there. High competition indicates you’re in the right place, and if you need to apply advanced keyword optimisation techniques to ensure you appear in the top spots on these boards.This is also a good way to establish what your competition are offering to attract the best talent.


  • Seasonal Trends: Consider seasonal trends when advertising your roles. Although job search activity dramatically rises in January, competition for the best talent drives up costs. If you were to advertise for the same role in December, you could pay £5k less for the same hire.


2. Generate more applications

Naturally, the more applications you generate, the more talented candidates you have to choose from. Luckily, there are some ways you can guarantee improved visibility and conversions from views to application completions.


Improved visibility

75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of results, so you want to improve your visibility on your chosen job advertising media channels. You can do this by taking advantage of their algorithm for displaying results. A few simple techniques improve the chance of your job appearing higher in the results, thus generating more views.


Some ways to do this are:

  • Use the most effective or searched for job title for your role
  • Ensure you use this job title in your advert copy, page title, and URL 
  • Use relevant keywords/synonyms your ideal candidate will be searching for in the advert copy


Increased conversions

To increase conversions from views to actual applications, the focus should be on your job advert copy. You want to include more than a simple job specification, as the highest quality candidates are usually already in employment, and need a good reason to leave their current role.


You need to really sell the role and opportunity to these passive candidates. A few tips for doing this are:

  • Avoid dictatorial language e.g. you MUST have
  • Avoid too many ‘essential’ bullet points
  • Avoid unconscious bias
  • Refrain from putting the needs of the company until the ‘essentials’ part of the ad
  • Appeal to the reader on an engaging and emotional level
  • Bring your company values into the ad e.g. if one of your values is you’re a ‘fun’ company, write the ad in a fun way
  • Describe the benefits of working for you


For more details on writing job adverts that improve your visibility and conversions, download our eBook on this topic.

eBook download banner on how to write the ultimate job advert


3. Retain applicants 

Once you’ve attracted your talent, retaining their interest is a vital part of the process. This again comes down to the fact that many of  the most talented candidates are only passively searching for a new role; you need to continue to impress and engage them throughout each stage of the recruitment process to avoid drop offs.


Improved capture

Improving your applicant capture means avoiding the loss of any applicants in the first stage of the application process. Keeping your recruitment process as simple and efficient as possible is a primary way to achieve this.


  • Avoid platform redirects: Redirecting applicants from your chosen job advertising channel to a careers or pre-screening page interrupts the flow of their experience, and can lead to drop offs. Avoid this by keeping your initial application phase on the same platform.


  • Avoid lengthy pre-screening: Few candidates want to spend too much time filling in pre-screening forms and completing lengthy tasks. Avoid losing candidates by simply having them submit a CV in the first stage, and use automated CV parsing software to scan these for relevance. Any pre-screening questionnaires can then be issued after their application is received.


Improved engagement

Once you have received you applications, avoiding drop offs involves improving the candidate experience through a good nurturing strategy. You want your applicants to feel valued and retain their excitement about the role.


  • Candidate communication: Ensure you communicate quickly and regularly with candidates. Automated communication technology can help with this, so you can set up workflows at vital points in the recruitment process, such as acknowledging applications, screening and interview requests, and even rejections.


  • Be courteous: Consistently thank candidates for their applications, time, and completion of any additional tasks. Reply politely if an applicant drops out of the process, as you still want to leave a positive impression.


  • Access to information: Supply candidates with adequate information on your company, role, and recruitment process to eliminate any doubts or questions they have. Provide a website and social media links, company brochure, job advert and specification, company groups, and information on key team members. Give details on the interview process, and a tour of the site on the day, and leave your line open for any additional questions they may have.


  • Humanise the experience: Humanise your recruitment process where you can, with personalised communications, video content on your company background, phone calls, and use of a human email address (rather than a basic info@ or careers@ email).


Get started

So that covers how to attract talent to your business. Getting talent attraction right for every job isn’t easy, and many online recruiters get this very wrong. If you’re stuck with where to start, there is plenty of recruitment technology out there to help.


The Smart Recruit Online talent acquisition platform is designed to help with talent attraction and beyond. From job advert creation and optimisation, to advertising channel selection, the ability to post your job across multiple channels at a discount, and tools that enhance your candidate experience.


Interested? Book a demo and improve your talent acquisition today.

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Mark Stephens

November 12, 2021

Mark has worked in and researched the HR & Recruitment landscape for over 20 years. His key focuses are how recruitment technology, evidence-based processes, and human behavioural science can be used to optimise recruitment performance. He is a serial entrepreneur, previous winner of the prestigious Chambers of Commerce 'Innovation in Business' award, and founder of Smart Recruit Online Ltd, and Corporate Wellness & Mental Health UK Ltd (Corpwell).

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