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Casting for candidates in the talent pond

by Jen Wason

It’s summertime. For some, this season of reputed leisure means lazy days spent in pursuit of retrieving fish from their natural habitats.

Landing the right person for the right role can feel as elusive as the giant blue marlin that would award you with the greatest fish story of all time. Sometimes you get lucky with a great catch—or, once again, find yourself resigned to the disappointment of the one that got away.

But those in the know realize there’s more to being a successful fish finder than good old-fashioned luck.

Wouldn’t you rather be skilled than lucky when it comes to catching candidates worth bragging about?

Know what you’re looking for

Shaker’s Insights Team analyst—and resident fishing expert—Andrew Barsa insists that the key to hiring success is a lot like ensuring fishing triumphs: you must begin by identifying exactly what you want.

“Know what you want to catch,” he advises, explaining that he has zeroed in what kind of fish he’s after before he ever gets near a body of water. “Do you really know the kind of candidates you’re looking for?”

To determine which candidates you’re trying to attract requires thoroughly understanding the position for which you're hiring. Successful fishing is rooted in studying fish habitats, feeding characteristics, seasonal changes in behavior and natural food sources, common depth ranges, and ideal water temperatures. Rigorous job analysis means carefully evaluating the knowledge, skills, attributes, and other characteristics required for on-the-job success and direct observation of incumbents in the day-to-day performance of their jobs.

Understanding the position for which you’re hiring also comes from conducting focus groups with subject matter experts, managers, and current employees to describe, discuss, and document what contributes to superior job performance on the job.

All of this intelligence provides the framework for evaluating exactly the kind of candidates you want to hook.

Use the right tools

Barsa says understanding what kind of fish he’s trying to attract also dictates what he brings along in his tackle box and as bait.

“You can’t just show up to any spot without the correct equipment and expect to find what you want,” he counsels. A rusty hook may retrieve an old boot from a muddy pond, but that doesn’t mean it’s a serviceable tool for catching what you really seek.

Same goes for trying to reel in desirable candidates. Stale assessment systems, ubiquitous work style questionnaires, and one-size-fits-all profiling tools may not be the shrewdest methods for capturing what you want.

Stocking your recruiting tackle box with evidence-based decision-making tools will yield better quality of hire. A structured evaluation process such as what's offered by Shaker’s Virtual Job Tryout technology provides the basis for a more insightful candidate evaluation process. By capturing more than 300 usable data points from applicant responses, the VJT provides the insights you need to differentiate candidates and is backed by validation studies and talent analytics from millions of applicants and hires.

Scientifically based tools like the Virtual Job Tryout can keep you ahead of your competitors by providing data that identifies great candidates—and will make you feel like you’ve discovered a secret weapon for netting great talent.

Freshen up your bait

Are you losing out on desirable candidates because you aren’t offering something they want to nibble on?

“Sometimes the fish are swimming around my ankles, but they just don’t want what I have to offer,” Barsa laments. “If the fish aren’t biting, I go back to my tackle box and look for a different kind of bait.”

Attracting applicants with a positive candidate experience can be a way to get more of the talent you want swimming your way.

Offering a positive, transparent candidate experience is key to attracting the best talent and improving your employer brand. If you don’t deliver a good experience, you will struggle to attract top talent and build a reservoir of qualified candidates, and your reputation as an employer can be damaged.

For example, applicants know their resumes present a narrow view of who they are and want to feel they had a chance to show off their abilities. Talent Board research shows that candidates value being given sufficient opportunity to demonstrate their strengths. Prioritizing a realistic job preview that shows candidates what to expect from the job and your culture also have proven to contribute to a positive experience.

Reel them in

Approach hiring as a science, an opportunity to use proven methods to evaluate applicants and provide a meaningful and memorable candidate experience. In this age of big data and the accompanying insights available to discern between candidates and what they actually have to offer, you need not rely on a lucky catch to recruit successfully.

If your recruiting expeditions are coming up empty, adopting tools like assessments and job tryout simulations will help you collect the meaningful insights you need to net the great candidates you want.

Need a fishing guide?

Fishing guides are subject matter experts. Shaker’s industry-leading expertise in selection science may be the guidance you need to improve your hiring outcomes. Let us show you how to harvest talent from your candidate pool.