Lean, Just-in-Time Recruiting!

Give Your Candidates the VIP Treatment….

……and set yourself apart from the crowd.

In the competitive landscape of recruiting, we often pride ourselves on the ability to attract top talent.  Yet it’s the way we treat that talent throughout the staffing lifecycle that defines our brand.  Elite organizations discovered long ago that top talent needs to be given a memorable experience as they consider employment.

We have found that these types of organizations have a five star approach for their candidate interaction, i.e. they give them the VIP treatment.  


Apply simple, straightforward, LEAN Recruiting Processes

A great deal of our work with clients is around finding and improving efficiencies in the recruiting process.  In addition, we have found that Elite organizations focus on a positive candidate experience which includes:

  • A streamlined assessment process that is effectively communicated up front in the recruiting process.
  • Job descriptions that are clear, informative and enticing.
  • Recruiting practices that ensure that recruiters are responsive to star candidates by returning emails and phone calls within 2-3 days, rather than weeks.

These might sound like fundamentals, but many organizations skip these steps.  However, they go a long way towards delighting the candidate and getting your organization noticed.

Impress from the first greeting 

Make it a point to make eye contact and smile as you greet the candidate.  In our Smartphone-addicted culture, it’s rare that people make eye contact with one another, let alone do it from a distance. When a candidate walks in and is greeted by a heads up smiling face, it sets the perfect tone.  

When the recruiter has the same approach during that first introduction, it will send a refreshing message that applicants don’t often receive; You’re important to me and you have my attention.

Treat your finalists like finalists

Many employers may not realize it, but they frequently treat job applicants with discourtesy (e.g., unreturned phone calls). Turn that into your advantage by treating your finalist candidates with a Midas touch.  When calling them to schedule a final interview, turn the conversation into more than a robotic calendaring exercise. 

Mention how excited everyone is to meet them, and how glad you are that they’ll be paying you a visit. Apply the same approach when the candidate arrives onsite. Don’t treat them like a number or shuffle them around like a piece of paper — focus on making them feel welcome.

Anticipate their needs

Any five star experience involves someone anticipating your needs in advance.  Depending on how long their trip was to your location, they may appreciate a bottle of water or directions to a restroom. If you have a receptionist greeting visitors, have them offer these things to the applicant upon arrival (or, if not, offer them yourself). 

Even if the candidate declines, they’ll appreciate the offer and view it as a signal that you actually care about the well being of others.  

Provide directions

We often forget that even local candidates may not have been to our office before.  When scheduling the onsite interviews, ask them if they would like directions to and from your location, and send them out.  In the old days it would be written directions, now it can be as simple as sending them the links to the Google map information.

For your company, if they’re finishing interviews around a meal time, highlight some local restaurants on the map. 

Give a “swag” bag

As your list of finalists starts to emerge, consider giving them a basket of promotional items (a mug, t-shirt, etc). This would be reserved just for the final few candidates, so it wouldn’t cost much, and is guaranteed to make a memorable impression. After all, how often is it that a candidate goes to an interview and leaves with a gift?

Offer a shadow session

Candidates may be thrilled with everything they hear about your business and the role, but they may be left wondering — what’s it really like working there? If you have confidence in the quality of your work environment, consider offering the most promising candidates a “shadow session” with an existing employee who is already doing the job.  Even if it’s just for one hour, it gives them a real view of the role they’ve applied for, and an opportunity to pepper a future potential colleague with questions. It’s a pleasant surprise for the candidate because it reflects uncommon transparency, and a genuine effort by the employer to ensure a good mutual fit.

Demystify the compensation package

Eventually, you’ll make a job offer to an applicant. But the games not over there, because the individual might still be considering competing offers — the opportunity remains to influence them with a pleasant surprise. 

After making a verbal offer, follow-up with a polished information packet that clearly and simply describes all the elements of the package — benefits, training programs, and other unique offerings (e.g., employee discounts).  Many businesses view this as an “administrative” communication with a prospective employee. View it instead as a final sales pitch, a platform for making their decision easy and straightforward.


Consider incorporating these simple VIP treatments into your recruitment strategy to create positive, memorable impressions. They can be very powerful sources of differentiation in any type of business interaction. 

Presuming you’ve got the recruiting basics nailed, it’s the pleasant surprises that applicants will remember when they return home and evaluate their employment options.

Have a phenomenal week!

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