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Earning the Trust of Talented Candidates in 2022

During the ebb and flow of resignation and recruitment, valuing applicants is important more than ever.

Kathleen Quinn Votaw //February 23, 2022//

Earning the Trust of Talented Candidates in 2022

During the ebb and flow of resignation and recruitment, valuing applicants is important more than ever.

Kathleen Quinn Votaw //February 23, 2022//

Pandemic recovery and The Great Resignation are continuing to cause challenges and uncertainty for business leaders at every level. In 2022, an increasing concern is: how to recruit and retain talent.

You know you need to compete for high quality people with the right skills and cultural fit to achieve your business goals. However, in our current job market — it’s the candidates who have the upper hand — and even if you choose them, they may not choose you. That makes this a good time to revisit how you win the talented people you seek.

What is it that candidates want from you? What can you do to become a best-choice organization? Understanding that recruitment is a priority equal to all your other top business priorities, is one answer. With each measure, a strategy is required.


In this case, your strategy can be to treat recruitment like a valued sales process. For most leaders, that requires a different mindset. The three overriding principles that should guide your strategy, are:

1. Treat every candidate with the same care you do customers, cultivating relationships from your first ad to onboarding. Integrate that same level of care into your culture, because retention is part of your recruitment process.

2. Be genuine and truthful in your communications, from employer brand to one-on-one interviews. Don’t just say it, be it!

3. Remember, it’s not one thing, it’s everything you do that makes a positive impression on candidates. Pay attention to the small things.

Recruit Like a Top-Notch Salesperson

Like sales, strategic recruiting is a constant, every day, full-time effort. Keep the three principles above top-of-mind as you create a feeling of excitement and belonging that wins quality candidates to your team.

In the end, candidates decide to work for you for the same reasons customers buy your products or services: largely because they’ve come to trust or like you based on how you make them feel.


Pay attention to your communication. Job seekers notice whether your job postings are enticing or boring. Make them compelling, interesting, and fun.

Candidates evaluate how they experience you as an organization throughout the interview and assessment process: Do they feel like an afterthought, or do they feel respected and valued at every step of the way? They see on your website how you describe your culture and values and measure them against your reputation. Why do you do what you do — have you expressed it clearly? And what’s so special about your leadership — why should people follow your vision?

Consider all of this and more, in creating a well-defined and essential sales strategy toward recruitment.

Your Recruitment Sales Process Should Look Much Like This:

Rather than waiting until you have an opening, build a pipeline of qualified candidates so you have a broad choice of “right” people for critical roles. Use the many tools available to create strategies that add speed, quality, and diversity to your recruiting efforts. 

Broaden your hiring efforts to include internal candidates who are already a cultural fit and can be trained to take on new responsibilities. Many are looking for opportunities for growth, and you risk losing them altogether if they aren’t considered.

The majority of candidates check out your website before applying for a position. Make sure your employer brand is positive and comes across in a clear and compelling way. Check Glassdoor to make sure that company and employee messaging are consistent.

Don’t simply post ads in the usual places. Use a mix of employment branding, marketing, and selling geared toward telling both active and passive candidates why they should want to work for you.

Instead of thinking of recruiting as a one-time thing, use a CRM tool and text messaging to drip-market to candidate pipelines, and allocate resources to contact candidates often to get them engaged.

Keep the application process fast, flexible, and intuitive. In this tight job market, speed is critical. Candidates won’t wait for you or suffer the indignity of slow- or no-response after spending their time and effort applying. Promises of “we’ll get back to you” with no follow-up can make a mockery of your brand.

Don’t just hint at what your purpose and culture mean to you; tell it in a story so that candidates “feel” what it’s like to work for you.

Interview time is critical; interviews should be a two-way street. Make it a conversation, and offer interviews outside regular hours.

Recognize and embrace the reality that the majority of today’s employees prefer to work in a hybrid model, and a significant percentage want to work remotely. Offer candidates choices and flexibility whenever possible.

Embrace technology; automate but don’t replace the human touch. If you use technologies like chatbots, make certain they don’t create endless circles of frustration instead of providing answers. Include an optional mobile application process. Tech tools, done right, are especially important in attracting younger generations.

Appreciate that hourly-pay positions are typically customer-facing roles. Employers who show they value their hourly employees — enhancing both, their recruiting practices and working conditions — will be the ones that win and retain these essential workers.

Today’s top candidates want to know what you’re doing to ensure Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). It has become a business imperative that your brand and reputation include a strong commitment to DEI, as well as an employee base that’s congruent with your customers. Companies lacking diversity are losing candidate interest, tenured employees, and business opportunities.

Don’t stop with successful recruitment. Make retention part of your recruiting strategy and put equal effort into both finding and keeping your people. Replacing employees is much costlier than keeping them.

All in all, how you make candidates feel as they experience your recruiting process indicates to them how you’ll treat them as employees. It doesn’t matter whether you’re recruiting an hourly worker or your next EVP — every candidate deserves to feel valued.

When your process is respectful and personal, and communication is frequent and thoughtful, candidates become excited about working for you over a competitor who hasn’t made a similar investment in building candidate relationships.


Kathleen Quinn VotawKathleen Quinn Votaw is Founder/CEO and Speaker/Author of TalenTrust and KQV Speaks. Her first book, Solve the People Puzzle: How High-Growth Companies Attract and Retain Top Talent, debuted in February 2016; with the second book, Dare to Care in the Workplace: A Guide to the New Way We Work and related Podcast launched between 2021-2022.
Kathleen and her firm have achieved many recognitions from many well-known organizations, including ColoradoBiz Magazine, Vistage Worldwide, and the coveted Inc. 5000 for two consecutive years. Kathleen is a regularly published columnist and popular speaker on topics related to HR strategies and workplace culture. Reach Kathleen at [email protected] or (303) 838-3334.