3 Ways to Attract and Engage Best Fit Candidates Before They Even Apply

How SHL helped a restaurant chain to narrow down their applicant pool and increase the quality of hire while serving up a great candidate experience.

With unemployment at historic lows, how to attract and engage top talent is a question that most leaders are asking themselves. SHL recently highlighted 4 areas of focus for companies to boost their candidate attraction efforts through prioritizing brand messaging, adding realistic job/culture previews, incorporating selection assessments, and updating their interview process.

A US-based restaurant chain partnered with SHL to effectively narrow down their applicant pool volume and increase the quality of their new hires. The National Restaurant Association projects sales of 863 billion US dollars in 2019 and the creation of over 1.6 million new jobs in the next 10 years. All of this is promising for the industry, but it also highlights the need for organizations to differentiate themselves in the market and take a more strategic approach to their recruitment and hiring processes; our client was no stranger to this success and challenge.

They had four main criteria in their selection process to determine a candidate’s fit for open job opportunities:

  • Does the candidate fit with the organization’s culture?
  • Does he/she understand the tasks that will be required of them?
  • Are they comfortable performing the required tasks?
  • Does the candidate have the skill set required to successfully perform the job?

In order to best position this client in the competition for talent, SHL considered the broader restaurant industry context, developed a deep understanding of the organization’s specific culture, and employed a scientific approach to understanding and assessing for the roles. This armed SHL with the tools necessary to provide our client with 3 ways to attract and engage the best-fit candidates for their organization:

#1—Design scenarios that reflect the organization’s culture

SHL worked closely with subject matter experts from the organization to better understand what makes their culture and roles unique. We collected answers to key questions, such as:

  • What excites employees about working for your organization?
  • What makes your organization unique from other restaurant chains?
  • What aspects of the organization surprise people the most when they are first hired?
  • What is most enjoyable and least enjoyable about working in this role?

The information that SHL gathered informed the creation of four scenarios to narrow in on this client’s key cultural attributes. We packaged the scenarios together for the client to share on their career page, including images and audio, for interested candidates to gain insight into the client’s organizational culture before applying for a job. SHL can also provide animated videos or live footage to showcase a client’s attributes.

Whether it was illustrating the top-notch employee experience or emphasizing the family dining atmosphere that is central to the organization’s identity, each of the four scenarios shares unique aspects of the restaurant’s cultural values.

#2—Give real-time feedback to the candidate through a set of questions attributed to each scenario

SHL incorporated a short set of questions in each scenario asking candidates for their candid reactions to the cultural themes presented. These questions serve as the foundation for the real-time feedback that candidates receive upon completion of the realistic preview. This feedback allows candidates to make an informed decision, based on their own responses, about how likely they are to be a good fit for the culture of the organization. This allows candidates the opportunity to self-select in or out of the assessment process.

#3—Create tailored assessment tools for the client

SHL’s engagement with the client did not stop at ensuring that the right candidates are continuing to apply for a role in the organization. The next step was to help the client make data-driven hiring decisions. SHL collected job-relevant data from subject matter experts to create a tailored assessment tool that would help the client understand if candidates have the skill set required to successfully perform the job. This assessment triggers tailored interview guide questions based on a candidate’s responses, allowing recruiters and hiring managers to dive deeper to understand how the candidate would fit in a role at their organization.

SHL helps our clients win by concentrating on the candidate experience. We work closely with organizations to build realistic previews that attract the right candidates to apply for the right jobs, and we further that partnership by providing our clients with the right assessment tools for each job. In today’s economy, it is not just about screening low fit candidates out of your selection process but attracting quality candidates into the selection process in the first place is just as critical.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your organization enhance your candidate experience and attract quality candidates into your selection process. 


Author: Morgan Robertson