Job hunters have become career consumers – behaving like customers shopping for the best products. Learn the rules for hiring in this new era.

Today’s job candidates aren’t just looking for a job, they’re looking for a brand experience. Hopeful job hunters have transformed into savvy career consumers – behaving like customers shopping for the best product or service among many choices.

These career consumer candidates are empowered in their search for the best-fit employer. By merely having LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor accounts, they can:

  • Keep tabs on new job opportunities in real time.
  • Read reviews about virtually any company.
  • See salary information for many jobs.
  • Apply for a new role in seconds.

To get applicants who are worth hiring, it’s no longer enough to simply ask for them to “apply here.” Now, companies must woo candidates in the same way they would a customer: by demonstrating value.

How can employers make sure they are keeping up with today’s choosy job candidates?

Here are three rules to follow when hiring in the age of the career consumer.

1. Act like a marketer

How does your marketing team get new leads for your business?

They have to impress potential customers with your unique value proposition.

In hiring career consumers, the rule here is the same: tell potential candidates what’s in it for them.

To discover the employee value proposition at your company, ask yourself:

  • What do you offer candidates and employees that they won’t find elsewhere?
  • In what ways do you consistently add value to the lives of your current employees?
  • What makes your current employees loyal to you?

The value you offer your employees is a compilation of your:

  • Employer brand
  • Company culture
  • Recognition and rewards programs
  • Employee development
  • Career growth opportunities
  • Leadership style

When recruiting career consumers, it’s your job to ensure the entire candidate experience demonstrates your unique value to them. This value should show up everywhere – in the first few lines of your job descriptions, in online reviews written by happy employees and in the way new hires are coached throughout your onboarding process.

For that reason, it’s imperative to be honest with yourself and your candidates about who you really are as a company and what you can consistently offer your employees at this stage in your business.

Be true to your company’s mission, vision and values and be transparent, and your employee promise will emerge authentically.

2. Perfect the candidate experience

How long ago did you personally apply for a job at your company? If it’s been longer than a couple of years, it’s a good idea to take a walk in your applicants’ shoes.

To fully understand your candidates’ experience, start with what they might learn about your company before they even see a particular job posting, and then follow their journey all the way through to hiring and onboarding.

Along the way, here’s what you should pay close attention to:

  • How you’ve been rated by former and current employees online
  • The length of your written job postings
  • The user-friendliness of your application technology
  • How often candidates receive feedback during your hiring process
  • How your new hires feel about your company after onboarding

Smooth out any kinks or inconsistencies you find in your online ads and job application process. Be intentional about including onboarding as the final piece of your overall recruiting infrastructure to ensure a fully seamless introduction to your company.

Prioritizing the candidate experience helps you earn more trust from career consumer candidates and establish your credibility as an employer of choice.

3. Communicate well and give feedback

In a hyper-connected world, today’s candidates have greater expectations for communication and feedback from potential employers when applying for a job.

Yet, it still isn’t uncommon in today’s job market to apply for a position and go months before hearing anything back. Communicating well and providing timely feedback to candidates will give your company a hiring edge.

Even in the earliest stages of the hiring process, candidates want connection and guidance. They want to communicate with company representatives who can confidently share information about the job opportunity and also the employee experience.

To respond to this need, some companies provide support as early as during the application process through chat bots that answer candidates’ questions on-demand.

As they go further into the hiring process, career consumer candidates expect more and more personal human connection. For example, when going into interviews, these candidates expect to have information about whom they will meet and what they can expect. And they want to receive personalized feedback afterward, learning quickly whether or not they will receive an offer of employment.

To provide this level of communication, technology solutions such as candidate relationship management software can help ensure your interactions with applicants are consistent and timely.

Looking back again at every touch point along the candidate journey at your company, ask yourself, “How can we add clarity and warmth to the experience (even during the steps that lack actual human connection)?”

A shift in mindset

Courting candidates who have career consumer mindsets is ultimately all about giving them what they want with the least amount of sacrifice possible. The more they have to give up to work for your company, the less likely they will be to apply for and accept a position.

If this seems like a lot to ask, you’re right. The hiring landscape has changed, and employers are wise to design their recruiting processes with the career consumer candidate’s needs in mind.

To learn more about attracting the right people and retaining good employees, download our complimentary e-book: How to develop a top-notch workforce that will accelerate your business.