5 Actions You Need to Take to Address Candidates' Questions

Chances are, diverse talent acquisition challenges still threaten your company’s attempts to deliver on your diversity recruiting goals. Diversity recruiting strategies need to be re-thought in order to capture the attention of diverse talent to produce a workforce that is comprised of diverse groups that mirror the population.

You must place the diverse candidate at the heart of your strategy and prioritise answering the recruitment questions they have.

And to do so requires the creation of highly specific content. As we established from a survey of 200 HR leaders and 1000 candidates and through the analysis of over 25,000 questions on the PathMotion platform, by providing specific answers, companies can uncover and address the barriers that may prevent candidates from applying. As the case for diversity become increasingly recognised, it becomes ever more important to understand the characteristics and preferences of diverse candidates. They value a sense of community and a diverse environment where they can connect in meaningful ways.

Diversity Strategies that Fail to Deliver

According to PwC, 87% of business leaders that participated in their 2017 CEO survey promote diversity and inclusion within their organisation. Yet the experiences of the diverse workforce do not appear to match the publicly shared aims of their employers. From a global survey of 4000 people commissioned by PwC, 52% of women and 39% of men said, although their companies talk about diversity, opportunities were not equal for all.

These experiences are reflected in the low proportional representation of diverse groups on boards. For example, although the case for gender diversity is compelling, progress toward equality in the majority of Western European is stagnant. Only 17% of executive committee members are women and women comprise only 32% of the corporate boards of companies listed in the major market indices in Western Europe. This extends across racial bounds with only 3% of executive and senior management positions in the US being occupied by African Americans despite them compromising 15% of the workforce.

PwC’s analysis shows there are a series of lingering biases and stereotypes in the workplace. For example, when women were asked to suggest the most significant barriers to increasing the recruitment of experienced women, they cited assumptions and stereotypes (e.g. that female candidates will place family demands over their career relative to male candidates, or men are more career-focused) at the top of their list. When employers were asked the same question, they cited a lack of sufficiently skilled candidates as the predominant issue. This highlights a disconnect between employers and their diverse employees.

When combined with the large number of candidates that believe that the cause for diversity is little more than lip-service, these findings underlie the need to rethink current diversity and wider talent management strategies–that address the fear of lingering bias and the assumptions made about diverse groups.

Currently, most companies still view diversity and inclusion as the responsibility of HR, rather than incorporating them into wider business strategy. But efforts to attract diverse talent require full investment–including your diverse workforce. Employees provide the best means to engage diverse talent–giving them the answers to questions they actually want the answers to. 

Want to find out what your candidates want to hear from you? Download our eBook on Diversity Recruiting now

Here are five key actions you can take to attract diverse talent:

1. Give Them Specifics 

Typically, employees have had to wax lyrical in order to secure and maintain a job. But recently, tides are changing with the entry of Generation Z (and hot on their heels, Generation Alpha) who are shifting the onus onto employers.

This generation watched their parents endure layoffs during the Great Recession after years of loyal service. They are disillusioned with the claims of company ‘culture’, despite career site claims that employees are uniquely valued. With the prospect of fragmented company cultures, where only 30% of the workforce is engaged (Gallup’s highest recorded), they’d prefer to tap out and look elsewhere. And it’s little wonder why we are seeing a rise in employees ghosting employers.

This issue is resolvable, however. Gen Z-ers want content curated according to their specific areas of interest–as we found out through analysis of 25,000+ questions across our PathMotion platform combined with data obtained from a survey of 200 HR leaders and 1,000 candidates across the UK, US and France. We’re used to this as consumers. We’ve come to expect recommended content and products based on the content we’ve consumed previously or products we’ve bought before. Now these expectations are creeping into the recruiting sphere.

Specific content is powerful. When the content is relevant to the candidate, her engagement increases, and ultimately, this engagement drives conversion. The career site, whilst providing a comprehensive overview of your company and schemes, does not bring the personalised approach to the delivery of the refined content that diverse candidates seek.

Tailored landing pages for key job functions, locations or initiatives such as diversity and inclusion are proven to increase conversion rates. But the best way to develop content that your candidates want is to let them drive it by asking questions. On the PathMotion discussion platform, we’ve seen candidates ask questions across the themes of eligibility, fit and workplace environment. For example, we’ve seen candidates who want to know if childcare commitments would compromise their eligibility, Iike this thread on the NHS platform.

With regards to fit, the British Army has one (of many) discussions centred around candidates perceived shortcomings. Check out this discussion where a candidate asks whether their maths skills will be their Achilles heel. And finally, another frequent topic is the work environment. Within this category of questions are circumstance-specific queries. For example, women wonder about support networks, and members of the LGBTQ+ community ask about the openness of fellow community members in the workplace.

An example of a company adopting this best practice is Accenture, which has created employee resource groups across 44 countries worldwide alongside a 36,000-strong ‘Ally’ program. Notably, Accenture profiles some of its LGBTQ+ employees. By providing them with a scalable platform to advocate, the portrayal of the diversity strategy is placed in the hands of a representative workforce, which drives diverse candidate engagement. Ultimately, they can answer a variety of recruitment questions in an authentic manner.

2. Sell the Story 

According to a study by the Centre for Generational Kinetics, the way to explore job opportunities for Generation Z is to speak to family and peers first, before visiting a job board. So, enlist current employees to act as your brand ambassadors–they will be able to tell their own career stories that provide diverse candidates with the specific and authentic answers to their recruitment questions.

In our survey of 1000 candidates globally, 54% stated that real life stories from employees and their experiences indicated that the company cares about diversity and inclusion.

There is science behind the persuasive nature of stories. Ultimately, stories drive immersion. By delivering information in narrative format that includes detailed, meaningful challenges and practical tips, stories successfully deliver authenticity.

But the potential of stories extends further than candidate attraction and acquisition—they allow talent attraction and employer branding leaders to own and manage their company’s personal brand.

Ultimately, storytelling presents a unique recruitment marketing strategy that is purpose-built and feeds into your employer brand by way of bringing the employer value proposition (EVP). At its core, EVP is a storytelling device that is entirely owned and driven by the company culture. The company culture is your representation. Your representation is your existing diverse workforce. And your EVP resonates with candidates too. With 69% of Generation Z likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand, then it is essential that your employer brand strategies are equally as effective as your talent acquisition ones.

Your stories can be delivered via different channels and formats. With Generation Z’s reliance on social media, it’s important to embrace these networks especially Instagram.

3. Deliver Your Content Through Your Candidates Preferred Mediums of Consumption 

An Altitude study found that Gen Z-ers take eight seconds to determine whether online content (including job opportunities) is worth their attention. This presents a challenge for talent acquisition leaders in attempts to engage diverse talent.

Rise above the digital noise and establish ongoing, meaningful engagement with storytelling.

Start with video. Compared to traditional blogs, Generation Z views digital video six times more. This is something that BDO has leveraged to their advantage. The company makes use of the video response feature on the PathMotion platform in response to diversity related questions—alongside their Insiders text-based responses. Earlier this year, a candidate asked about their eligibility with regards to their non-finance background, and one of their insiders, Phil, responded via video response.

Modern talent attraction technologies are also enabling organisations to engage with diverse young talent via virtual Q&A sessions, in-app messaging and online career fairs. KPMG is leveraging online events with great success. They use chat-based virtual events to support internal mobility–by providing useful, productive conversation between senior partners globally who are then connected to thousands of employees. According to a study by Oxford Economics, a lost employee incurs significant cost; £30,614 to be exact. This cost results from two main factors—the cost of lost output in the period of a replacement employee is acquainted with their new role and the logistical cost associated with both recruiting and on-boarding a new worker.

Candidate engagement strategies that treat text messaging, live chat, and other messaging apps as the primary modes of communication between candidates and recruiters are also gaining in popularity as they let companies answer recruitment questions to actually address the questions that candidates want answered.

To add to this repertoire of communications means is the chatbot. Powered by AI, a chatbot can recommend the most fitting answer to a question, eliminating the need for time-consuming manual searches for candidates or multiple submissions of the same question. Providing relevant and well-matched answers to candidates’ highly specific recruitment questions demonstrate that you care about their place in the company workplace. By using a chatbot, you automate re-engagement with the bonus of managing multiple candidate conversations in parallel, across numerous channels, 24/7—ultimately increasing your conversion rate.

PathMotion provides a chatbot on several of our client’s websites – this allows us to re-target granular content to candidates on the platform. Here it is in action on the NHS recruitment platform:

4. Expand Outreach Strategies to Scale Up Specific Content

The content delivered in the form of a story to your diverse candidates, can go further when scaled. Diverse employees face logistical limitations when approaching their candidate engagement efforts in real-life scenarios (at university fairs and interviews) but through the medium of a digital platform, their efforts can be maximised through the reach it affords. Through online means, the ability to scale globally whilst still maintaining the personal, authentic feel is possible. Leverage your diverse workforce to answer more questions and reach more candidates.

Rather than investing all your time on your careers site and LinkedIn, consider expanding to your lesser prioritised channels—social media networks, academic programs, or networking events where you can source your diverse talent.

To attract talented coders, Deloitte’s recruiters found prospective candidates by heading straight to coding hotspots: hackathons, code fests, and product showcases. This allowed their employee advocates and talent alike to determine whether they were the right fit simply by meeting and mingling, creating an environment in which those highly specific recruiting questions could be answered.

Social sharing offers a highly convenient way to reach a diverse workforce. PathMotion offers a way to do this–without the need to re-create new content on social media. We enable automatic search of discussions by popularity, utility or by keywords; all of which can be shared across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter at the click of a button. In this digital age when your diverse talent is bombarded with company content across a range of sectors, you can attract them by engaging them on social platforms highlighting what separates your company from the pack.

5. Amp Up Your Social Presence – Scale Your Employee Advocacy 

Diverse candidates look even further to satisfy their concerns. Other key resources that candidates are consulting include review websites, social media content and campus-based events. These platforms are particularly attractive as they provide the social proof diverse candidates are seeking about your company as an employer.

Encourage your diverse employee advocates to offer their unfiltered opinions and facilitate their exposure. Logistical limitations are placed on their in-person attendance at recruitment fairs and conferences, but the online space offers unlimited reach. Their responses drive engagement from diverse candidates and offer an unending supply of content that will allow you to compete with other companies in the war for diverse talent.

The representation that is embedded within the diverse workforce, can exist across all stages of the talent life-cycle, which subsequently delivers a stellar candidate experience.

Answering the questions of diverse talent is difficult—in contrast to the general content that you can provide on your career site, the demand for granularity from candidates with unique needs and concerns significantly increases the demand on your resourcing team. The specificity demanded by many candidate queries simply cannot be met by HR communications. In the digital age, you need a candidate engagement platform that lets you deliver all five things that you can do to address the demands of the diverse talent pool.

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