Three Simple Ways to Attract the Right Candidate…And Deter All Others

In talent acquisition, you know that you want talented individuals to join your team, but not just any talent. You want the right talent for your organization, individual departments, and your culture. In today’s market, employers are inundated with resumes and applications. Much of the burden is not only the number of applications received but the task of sifting through hundreds or thousands of resumes to identify best fit candidates. One way to create a filter on these submissions is by communicating your company culture in a way that allows candidates to self-select in or out of your organization based on fit.

Interview for successGoogle has a reputation for having a very unique and distinctive culture. The organization presents videos that describe an innovative, bureaucracy-light environment with immense flexibility that encourages intelligent people who “want to change the world” to join their team. Images of jeans, red couches, collaborative spaces, laundromats, and massage services are shown throughout the clips. Consider the impressions you receive about Google’s mode of operation and expectations of employees. This culture may sound like a dream to many people, though it is not right for everyone. Google went beyond simple messages such as “we’re a great place to work” and “we like to have fun” to paint a picture of people who give the organization its personality. Someone who does not see himself in that picture may rightfully deduce that is not the place for him and choose not to apply to Google. By making this choice, the candidate has now become Google’s partner in tailoring his recruiting efforts.

Identify Best Fit Candidates

Hiring candidates for best fit is not necessarily about hiring people who are similar to existing employees. It is important to evaluate the fit that is needed for your individual department based on the dynamics within your existing team. This means that fit for employees may change from time to time. For example, you may not want to hire an entire team of visionaries and neglect hiring implementers. Regarding company culture, some cultures encourage embracing conflict as a means of sparking productive debate. Many people would feel squelched in this environment, producing less over time until they burn out and become another turnover statistic. Remember that identifying best fit is about hiring what is best for you, not what is best for other companies. You want to hire people who will thrive in your environment rather than fight it, even if their credentials are off the charts. 

Assess Critical Performance Factors

A vital role that recruiters play in the hiring process is to assist hiring managers in evaluating the competencies, traits, and motivations needed to round out the company and their team. Assess the top performers in your company to identify factors that lead to their success, and capture the essence of their approach towards work and people. Also review common weaknesses in performance for indicators of causes for low productivity, burn out, and terminations. Together with the hiring managers, discuss your ideal candidates based on the successful criteria with as much emphasis you already place on tangible requirements such as years of experience or specific degrees. 

Communicate Your Culture

Integrate the suggestions below to communicate your culture to potential applicants.

  • Use descriptive job titles to focus on the motivations of a candidate in addition to the desired hard skills; i.e. “Graphic Designer” becomes “Graphic Designer who loves to change the world one image at a time”.
  • Incorporate wording in your job description that addresses your perfect candidate and expresses the type of enthusiasm the company has for its particular missions.
  • Focus on the “who”, not only the “what”, in your job advertisements. See this job description from for a Senior Technical Program Manager. It speaks to the human traits that combine for success in this position, and might even make you laugh.
  • Develop videos for your company site that feature employees not only describing the work environment but also living it. See this incredible video inspiring current and potential employees for the Boston Consulting Group, a company also featured in Fortune’s Best Companies To Work For in 2014.
  • Share your company’s internal mantra or mission frequently on your site and it other communications.
  • Feature great employees on your career site. See this “Star of the Month” highlight for Southwest.
  • Utilize your company’s social media profiles to display culture through the events and successes you highlight and the way you describe them. Check out Adobe as well as their LinkedIn company page. They highlight upcoming conferences, perspectives from their executive team, and employees using their talents creatively to give back to the community.
  • Consider the impressions that are made through your external brand and your employees’ interactions with your customers.
  • In every way possible, show people living and thriving in your company in the specific ways that they work and play.

Making the error of hiring someone else’s best fit candidate causes everyone to lose, including the candidate whose talent may be stifled in the wrong environment. As you seek to assess these less tangible traits, remember Einstein’s wisdom, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing it is stupid.” Empower potential candidates to choose the best culture for them, and in doing so, aid you in your efforts to engage the right people for you.


At Simply Hired we want to navigate the ever-changing landscape of successful recruiting with you. Stay with us over the next few months as we explore best practices in recruiting and look at examples of employers that do it well. You can sign up to receive future newsletters and feature articles in our preference center.


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