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Your training company is looking to recruit: how to let the right people know

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Are you looking for the perfect individual to complete your team? Don’t dive in head first! Start by identifying your (real) need and correct any errors liable to send candidates running. Use your business expertise and demonstrate your professionalism with regard to skills assessment. Your Candidate pathway must be as well-designed and thorough as your Learner pathway.

Preliminary accounting. Start by creating a table indicating the time you and your colleagues currently spend on recruitment, hour by hour. Also draw up a list of the costs you incur, even if small. This will put you in a better position to assess your actions and correct your line of attack.

1 – Take stock and consider professionals that may be right under your nose

Devote the first hour of your budgeted time to checking 3 points.

  • Are you (really) motivated to grow your team? Check whether you really need a new colleague to strengthen your existing team and help grow the business. Bear in mind the time you will have to devote to integrating them into the team and fulfilling the promise stated in the job offer. For less strategic positions and one-off assignments, consider using service providers. The personal investment will not be the same on either side. A bad choice resulting from a hasty decision can prove very costly.
  • Have you considered internal promotion? It is easier to integrate a new colleague into an existing team than to hire an external manager/head of department. The transfer of skills is more straightforward. Perhaps your staff are also looking to further their career. Stake stock and explore training solutions for these trusted colleagues. Once promoted, they will be twice as motivated to bring new members of staff on board for projects under their responsibility.
  • Does the position correspond to one of your current trainers? You may have been working for years with a trusted freelancer who already knows your value proposal and your way of working. Pick up the phone and schedule a lunch. This will spare you all the following steps, or most of them at least.

2 – Don’t spend any money before making urgent corrections

The first thing any candidate will do, whether they know you or not, will be to find out more about you, your company and your team. Nowadays, the two favourite sources for such research are the Internet and social media. Take control of the situation wherever you can. Consider ‘optimizing’ or even ‘deleting’ anything of no use.

  • Search engine results

Type the name of your company into Google: check you are well-positioned in the results thanks to the title in blue and the meta-description. This information is drawn from your website and you are free to change it however you want. If the information displayed is incomplete or under-exploited (incomplete phrases, the same information for different pages, etc.), take a look behind your website and make the necessary corrections.

If you have a Careers page, include in the visible or hidden fields the terms employment, recruitment, jobs, employer, etc. so that it comes up when a candidate conducts a search. Do the same with your location, indicating your employment catchment area and neighbouring towns.

  • Your Google My Business page

Your ‘Google My Business’ page must also appear on the right of the screen, if you have created one. Check that the information is complete and monitor comments posted by clients, participants, candidates, etc. If they are negative, respond in order to explain yourself and engage contact.

  • Your LinkedIn page

This must be in your image, with a banner photo and a punchy presentation. This is essential if you intend to use it for recruitment purposes. Posting a job offer on a mediocre page will not win you any points. Also pay attention to your personal LinkedIn profile and/or those of your colleagues in contact with clients. Neglecting this can result in you missing out on candidates looking to join a company they won’t be ashamed of on social media!

  • Twitter account and other social networks

The same applies to all your social networks. Pay attention to your image, without portraying yourself as something you are not. It is sometimes better to delete a social network than to leave it unattended: if a candidate searches for you on a media you never update, you will lose out, while you can always defend your decision simply not to be present on it.

  • Website

Consider ‘Candidates’ the same way you consider ‘Clients’ and ‘Participants’. Claiming a ‘friendly atmosphere’ without showing any photos of your team could come across as surprising or even suspicious. Claiming to be ‘a training company at the cutting edge of the industry’ with a News section dating back to 2017 lacks credibility. A client can be a future candidate and vice versa. Pay equal attention to both.

  • Careers page

Your Careers page presents your jobs (videos, photos and testimonials) and your HR policy. Candidates want to know in particular about the possibilities for career and skills development for your staff. Ideally, show the training programmes followed and certifications obtained. Whether you are actively recruiting or not, keep your Careers page up-to-date, even if you have no vacancies. You may receive a high-quality spontaneous application. When you are actively recruiting, contacting you must be as simple as possible: email, telephone and a contact name.

  • Job boards

Make sure the main job boards do not display any out-of-date job offers before publishing new ones, as proposed below.

  • Press coverage

Keep an eye on recent articles in the press referring to your company or yourself. If they are positive, highlight them in your media. If they are negative or ‘tepid’, take the opportunity of implementing your recruitment strategy to communicate to the local press about your growth.

3 – Job offer: be demanding, above all with yourself

There is no magic formula when it comes to job offers. You can, however, apply a certain degree of rigour.

  • Avoid:

‘Our training company is the market leader’ (what market share?), ‘we are looking for a motivated candidate willing to invest in the success of their assignments’ (who isn’t!), ‘medium-sized company’ (how many?), ‘looking for someone able to take the initiative’ (the opposite is rare), ‘English an advantage’ (either is it useful or not, this risks discouraging otherwise excellent candidates), etc.

Draft an initial version of the offer on paper or on the computer. Next, delete everything you gleaned from other sources and that is not specific to you. How would you say it verbally to someone you met at a Networking event that you wanted to recruit?

  • Clearly distinguish several things:

The company: sector, business and news. This must be fairly succinct and not in the first paragraph. Two lines perhaps, but not 15.

A description of the position: the tasks performed and tools used. Be as specific and practical as possible. This must allow the candidate to picture themselves in the role and give them an idea of the true scope of the responsibilities involved, while not giving them false hopes.

The requirements (what is really essential): a degree or mandatory qualification, experience using a particular type of software, etc. Anything the company can train someone in over the course of a few weeks or months is not a requirement. A good candidate can easily upgrade certain skills if they have other strengths. Someone who has used the same software for 15 years is not necessarily an ideal candidate.

The team: either the company or the team the candidate will be part of, depending on the size. This is important to identify the position with regard to management, as well as the related skills. This can stimulate and reassure the candidate.

  • Adopt your own tone

The tone of your offer should reflect your company. Formal or informal? Even upon first contact? Smileys? Why not, if you use them professionally. A list of 10 to 15 technical terms? Yes, if crucial for the job and expected of candidates in this professional field.

  • Demonstrate your excellence

Where appropriate, apply your business expertise and create an impactful offer or recruitment process that attracts the right profiles.

Marketing: create an attractive Landing Page with information to download and nurturing scenarios on the collected email address, pushing high added-value content about the company and its challenges.

Social media: create capsules (texts, images and videos) and animations (games, challenges, etc.) dedicated to recruitment.

Graphic design and motion design: create the best Job Ad in the world or the best Motion video of all time.

  • Don’t forget to indicate precisely:

The location: public transport lines and stops, distance from nearby towns, carpool parking, bike / two-wheeler stations and garages, etc.

The HR offer: fixed or flexible hours, working from home, overtime possibilities (depending on the position), bonuses, training policy, etc.

The recruitment process: letter, CV, LinkedIn profile, interview, company visit, technical tests, etc. Basically what will happen once they submit their application.

4 – Are you a skills assessment professional? Prove it

Don’t forget. As a training company, you are experts in assessing skills. Now is the time to challenge yourself to find and attract the right profile for a long-term position in the company.

  • Organize a virtual class for candidates. Invite all or some of the candidates to a question/answer session in the company. Participation is anonymous but everyone can see the answers to all the questions. You are thus able to test their writing skills and a first level of soft skills.
  • Invite the best profiles to take part in a training session. If you are looking for a someone to contribute to your teaching and/or technical expertise, invite the prospective candidate or candidates to one of your training sessions. During the session you can evaluate their technical qualities and soft skills in the interactions. You will also get an impression of their attitude and interest in your field, as well as their ability to propose ideas, without calling everything into question.
  • Create a Mooc for recruitment purposes. If your speciality is designing distance-learning courses, create one to select potential candidates. Propose modules on the skills required for the position or on your sector (without giving away any secrets). This will enable you to test the motivation of those who complete it, their skills (evaluated as in one of your training courses) and, importantly, their ability to acquire new skills. This is key to building a responsive team.
  • Design a technical test in your image. The aim is to challenge candidates on their ability to take action and propose ideas, not just present themselves and sell. A technical test can be taken online and proposed to all candidates. If the aim is to create a deliverable, it is better to target a selection of candidates only, who you have already met or contacted. Be reasonable. You are placing the candidate in a situation enabling them to demonstrate their excellence in one aspect or specialized topic. Don’t ask them to come up with the ideal marketing plan or a new graphic identity.
  • Get help for support functions. The test or simulation should be organized differently for support functions (accounting, IT, HE, logistics, etc.), if necessary with the help of experts in the field. You have an extensive network of clients and trainees. This is the time to use them and they may actually really appreciate being asked for help.

5 – Spread the word about your job offer at little cost but with lots of ideas

There are many, many channels for communicating your job offer. Depending on the profile sought and geographical area of recruitment, the task can prove complicated and require the use of a specialized service provider. Not, however, before at least using your own distribution channels first.

  • What takes very little time and is often very effective: copy and paste, a simple click and a printer

– Your newsletters (Clients/Participants/Partners): they usually like you, otherwise they would have unsubscribed. Everyone in your network has a network of their own, often in your areas of expertise

– Internally (magazine, newsletter, intranet, etc.): make sure you inform team members (and your freelance trainers) that they are authorized to circulate the job offer externally. This is a chance to communicate on the subject if you have not already done so.

– The social networks on which you already have a strong community. Sharing job offers to your contacts via a Facebook page can work really well, depending on the position. On LinkedIn, you can share your offer via the ‘Article’ feature, without having to pay for an ad.

– Facebook groups dedicated to employment in your field of expertise or employment catchment area.

– Specialized LinkedIn groups, ideally in which you are already active and therefore known and recognized.

– At trade fairs and training events: display a poster at your booth and place some flyers on your counter (in a short, quarter-page format).

  • The more traditional methods: require a little more time and sometimes some money

– Employment professionals and their job boards.

– Ads in the local press and on their job offer websites.

– Job ads on LinkedIn.

– Ads on Facebook pro.

It is not always easy to know which platform to trust. Take the time to test requests, run some trial campaigns and measure the return on investment.

  • Other methods: do it your own way, even if it means investing a bit more

– Send a press release to the local newspapers: describe your growth, your business, your role in the social and economic ecosystem and, as an aside, mention that you are recruiting. Don’t simply send your offer as is.

– For more expert profiles, you can also contact the specialized press and offer an opinion piece in one of your areas of expertise. This can provide an opportunity to spread the work about your recruitment campaign.

– Contact or renew contact with professional associations, alumni associations, networks of associations, etc. of your current team members (with their consent). This enables potential candidates to test the water with regard to the position in an informal way.

– Your ‘Google My Business’ lets you highlight information using the News option. This is free of charge.

– Sponsor an event, even a small one, in your employment catchment area or in schools or universities in your sector.

– Advertising space displayed in the Facebook thread of targeted individuals according to their location or interests. The more limited the geographical area, the more efficient and economical this is.

– Send the offer by post to training organizations. An offer printed on heavy paper can be immediately displayed on a notice board in the entrance. Send an accompanying email containing the same offer. Do the same with local authorities, depending on the skills sought and your geographical area.

6 – To recruit the right person: pay attention to how you receive and process all candidates

You may be naturally very good at recruitment but this is not true of everyone. Once you have launched your recruitment campaign, be careful not to ruin everything upon first contact, or any others for that matter.

How to discourage a candidate? The stronger the profile, the more likely they will look elsewhere if:

  • You fail to acknowledge receipt of their application,
  • You fail to contact them within 10/15 days,
  • You fail to keep them informed between the different stages of the recruitment process.

How to acquire a bad reputation? At the end of the recruitment process, a prospective candidate who made it through to the final stage but was not chosen in the end may speak badly of you if:

  • You subjected them to 5 interviews or more,
  • You did not explain why you finally chose another candidate for the position,
  • The recruitment process lasted 2 months or more,
  • You asked them for unnecessary or even prohibited information.

Best practices to adopt:

  • Respond to all applications and queries, with the help of an automated tool if necessary.
  • Conduct a telephone interview (15/20 minutes) prior to a face-to-face interview,
  • Take promising candidates round the company and let them meet other team members,
  • Inform candidates how long each stage is likely to take or when they can expect a decision,
  • Stay in touch with prospective candidates not selected in case the ‘chosen one’ finds something else in the meantime.

7 – Be true to yourself and don’t try to be someone you are not

In recruitment, trying to appear better and stronger than you actually are often leads to disappointment upon arrival. The longer it takes for the illusion to fade, moreover, either on one side or the other, but often on both sides, the higher the price will be. If you take into account the time spent on the recruitment process plus the salary of the person selected, who doesn’t stay and leaves the team in the lurch, it can all add up to a significant sum.

Don’t overdo it, therefore, but be sure to do it properly, with transparency and consistency between your actions and words, both internally and externally. Whether it is your first recruitment or your tenth, treat the recruitment process as a real company project.

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