Despite changes to technical hiring practices, related hiring practices have been slow to catch up—especially when it comes to filtering candidates through the top of the funnel. Companies typically set up hiring processes to gate-keep rather than sell. But the demands of the market dictate that technical hiring be more about selling than filtering. The difficult part for companies isn’t sorting through a sea of candidates to figure out who’s “the best” or who’s worth engaging with.* Rather, technical hiring is a sourcing problem. A successful effort begins with getting candidates interested enough to talk to you in the first place and remain engaged as they go through the hiring process.
At a high level, selling is no different in the context of recruiting than it is in more traditional sales of goods and services. You talk to your customer (the candidate), ask questions, listen closely, and learn about their past, what their pain points are, and their hopes and dreams—and then you weave a carefully crafted narrative about how working at your company can actually deliver on those things.
Selling starts with writing great job descriptions that focus on how the role will improve the candidate’s life. This may include learning new things, gaining more responsibility, helping to fix problems in the world that matter to them, and so on. Selling ends with compelling offers tailored to the candidate’s needs. And in between, a good process will treat every candidate like a unique individual, never taking for granted that they have plenty of other options.
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