It is often said that recruiting is marketing. If that’s true, why don’t we spend more time identifying and understanding the unique features and benefits one might gain by working with our company instead of a competitor? Instead, we rush forward frantically once a requisition is approved with a job description and comp range in hand, shouting to anyone who will listen about our “great opportunity.” Yeah. But great according to whom?

I am Jack’s sarcastic eye roll.

A Simple, But Effective, Exercise
Borrowing a tactic from the marketing playbook, let’s take a moment to understand what makes us different, unique and – potentially – more attractive to prospective candidates. Using the template provided below (or some customized version of it), ask for feedback from various stakeholders within your organization. Don’t just ask your HR colleagues. Different perspectives are important here.

If you feel your organization is better than most, tick the “+” column. Worse than most? That goes in the “-” column. About the same? Yup, you guessed it. Mark that as “=”. While the attributes listed cover most of the stuff candidates think important, this certainly isn’t all-inclusive. Feel free to tinker with this and add/subtract as you see fit.

An editable PowerPoint version can be downloaded here.

Clarity
As you go through this exercise in organizational self-awareness, you should start to develop an understanding of your company’s weaknesses and strengths as viewed through the eyes of a potential “game-changing”, passive candidate. In this case, your “buyer.” The key here is honestly. Don’t kid yourself into thinking something is peachy if it’s not. As the dust settles, you’ll know where you stand and have much more clarity into your competitive advantages and potential disadvantages. From here, you can make strategic decisions about whether you’d like to focus on certain things over others, turn a negative into a positive, or smile because your company rocks and now you can prove it.

Or maybe you’ll find your position isn’t so “great” after all. But that’s OK. Without this knowledge and shared acknowledgement about what is strong and weak about your firm in comparison to your competitors, you can’t do anything about it. “Knowing” is powerful and, according to G.I. Joe, “half the battle.” You can then focus on creating compelling storylines about each opportunity in a more transparent and authentic manner.

Nothing builds credibility quite like transparency and authenticity. And that is something candidates can get excited about.

What are some other ways you go about understanding your recruiting competitive advantages?

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