You’ve heard about the ‘skills-shortage’ in the market, right?

It means there are more jobs than candidates. Which has created an interesting landscape for hiring managers and HR.

Right now, we’re all working extra hard to contact the people who have the skills we need.

And when those calls (or emails, or LinkedIn messages) happen 59 times, between the hours of 9-5 every day, you start to see these three things:

●   Candidates get annoyed.

●    Your job gets harder.

●    People assume you’re just playing for numbers, and you don’t really care.

Want to stand out? Change your mindset.

When you’re hiring, you’re not selecting or ‘purchasing’ a person. You’re selling your opportunity to them.

Most people don’t necessarily ‘enjoy’ their job. It keeps a roof over their head and money coming in.

The right job becomes a comfortable part of a person’s routine. If a good opportunity presents itself, they might be up for it.

But when companies are selling those jobs badly (or not at all), it’s not surprising when candidates choose to play it safe. You’re supposed to entice them to want to leave.

Your adverts are probably rubbish.

Look at adverts from other industries. Anything you like, from watches to burgers.

They’re made to appeal to their customer’s desire. Each advert is targeted to a pre-existing emotional need.

Maybe they want to be attractive, fun or clever. Or maybe, they don’t want to be lonely anymore.

Sound familiar? It should do. When you go deep, you’ll find out our emotional needs are quite similar.

But not always identical. And that’s OK.

If an ad doesn’t speak to you – it’s probably not for you.

Good ads answer two important questions:

●    So what?

●    Who cares?

If your ads only talk about your own wants and your needs, no one will care. Not even you (if you’re honest about it). It’ll get lost in the ether, with all the other bad ads.

Where’s the excitement?

This job could fulfil someone’s career dreams. It could give them security, abundance and purpose.

Not by saying ‘this is exciting’.

No one will believe you.

Why should they? When you read that, did you believe it?

You must show, not tell.

Imagine reading a candidate’s LinkedIn profile or CV – and all it spoke about was what they wanted.

You’d be annoyed, right? Or at least, you’d decide they weren’t worth your time.

You want to know what skills and experience they have. That’s why good candidates tailor their profile to your needs and expectations.

So, why aren’t you doing this with your adverts?

Write from the perspective of the reader. Consider what they value and want to know.

Then show them that.

You’re not GCHQ.

So, why’s it so hard to find good company information?

Picture this, you’ve read a half decent job advert and you want to apply.

You get online to research, but find their company website has a ‘Contact us’ section buried under 4 pages of ‘Lorem Ipsum’ and a ‘Meet the Team’ made up of stock photos of business-people high fiving.

Consider your reader. Candidates want to know things like:

●    “What’s the management style?”

●    “How does a typical week look?”

●    “What’s the office environment like?”

The decision to move jobs is huge. Frustrating a candidate on their first tentative step away from the security of their current role is silly.

Of course, not everything should live on the public domain. So, it should be easy and stress free for candidates to find contact details and information when they need it.

Every action and interaction the candidate has with you, your business, your colleagues or your brand is marketing.

That’s right, all of it.

Probably more than the things they dress up as marketing. The stuff they allocate budget to.

So, isn’t it time we started acting like it?

The end to end (to end, to end, to end) process is slow and sloppy.

Recruitment is an important business process. You’d be surprised how far simple etiquette and common sense will get you.

And yet, listen to the anecdotal evidence. It’s clear many haven’t mastered that.

Here are the headlines:

Time keeping.

How often are candidates kept waiting ‘just another ten minutes’ for their interview?

Show some respect for their time. You aren’t doing anyone a favour by having a job vacancy, in fact, they’re doing you a favour by considering it.

Of course, stuff happens sometimes. And a courteous apology in those situations will come in handy.

But this should be the exception, not the rule. Otherwise, you aren’t considering the candidate.


Teaching you to suck eggs, maybe, but this still needs to be said.

Make sure whoever’s conducting the interviews has taken the time to prepare.

For those who are unclear – that’s reading their CV in advance, being able to answer questions, providing enough info beforehand, and even considering the little things like whether there’s a jug of water on the table.

It can make all the difference.

Cheer up. Or at least, fake it.

Interviewing is a nerve-racking experience, and a smile can go a long way.

Being met by the cold, steely demeanor of the White Witch of Narnia will do nothing for the candidate’s impression of the company.

No one wants to work with a hostile robot.

Make your mind up.

If you’re interviewing someone, there’s something about their skills and experience that made you think, “We could hire this person.”

Do you know who else is thinking this?

Your competition.

So, if you take two weeks to make a hiring decision, that’s enough time for them to interview elsewhere and accept an offer.

All while your four-person, fifth stage interview panel struggles to find time in their diaries to arrange a meeting.

Be smart. Plan your review meetings with every decision maker in the process, ahead of time.

That way, you’ll beat your competition and deliver a great candidate experience.

Assess does not mean stress.

Skills based assessments have their place. But does your role really need one? Or are you just going through the motions?

If your panel knows about the role specifics, you can find out if a candidate’s up to the job by asking good, situational questions. These allow them to showcase how they think, as well as their soft skills.

But sometimes, it’s necessary to run assessments. Especially with technical roles.

Just be sure to approach it with a ‘sales’ mindset.

The assessment should be quick and painless to minimise candidate resentment or boredom.

Make sure you start with a call or telephone interview – to build their interest and rapport.

If you’re coming across like a stranger with limited social skills, candidates will resent doing homework for you. And often, they’ll just choose to give it a miss.

All aboard!

Pat yourself on the shoulder. You’ve read this far, you deserve it.

Now imagine this article is littered with missing words, spelling and grammar errors, and personal insults.

It would ruin the experience a bit, wouldn’t it?

But that’s often what happens when you onboard candidates.

For them, this is the home stretch. They’ve had the job offer, they’ve accepted and they’re probably excited or anxious to start.

And then, things happen. Pay gets messed around, laptops don’t arrive in time, or there’s no induction.

Map out everything your new starter needs. From their first meetings, to their welcome lunches. Tell them whether they need to bring their own mug.

Anticipate their needs and deliver on that basis. Make a candidate ‘welcome pack’ if one doesn’t already exist.

That way, you remove many first month frustrations, so your candidate feels comfortable and looked after.

Wear their shoes, and walk off with them.

Recruitment is a business process, so it’s easy to lose that human touch.


You’re dealing with someone’s fears and desires. You have a stake in their future, and they have a stake in yours (do this badly, your job is harder).

This isn’t a tick box exercise; it’s about finding the best fit for everyone. The best way to do that, is to feel what they feel.

Realise you want to hire, just as much as they want to be hired.

That way, you’ll truly start thinking like a seller.