How Talent Acquisition Pros Can Help Candidates Achieve Their Dreams

In many industries, the unsung heroes are incredibly important to the success of companies. For instance, truly passionate talent acquisition professionals drive candidates toward careers they want and therefore contribute to better retention rates, a better workplace culture and an overall sense of pride in work.

But, how do you know for sure that you are helping the right candidate into the right role at the right time? After all, talent acquisition is about placing people in the driver’s seat that will send them in the direction of their dreams. Recruiters are the spark, the engine rev…without them, companies are essentially powerless. So today we are presenting you with strategies for making sure you are the most effective dream-deliverer you can be.

So many things contribute to a good fit, but they all tend to fall under the following three categories:

  • Values
  • Skills
  • Goals


In this world of competitive recruitment, it has become increasingly more important to make sure that candidates are working for companies whose values align with their own. These values could center around environmental consciousness, charitable giving, innovation and more. People work harder when they feel invested in the company on a personal level.

For instance Glassdoor reported, “‘Mission-driven’ companies have 30% higher levels of innovation and 40% higher levels of retention, and they tend to be first or second in their market segment. (Becoming Irresistible, Deloitte, February 2015)” That success is due to the fact that they are projecting their mission and recruiting those candidates that coicide with it.


There are two skill “buckets” to consider when recruiting; hard and soft. The right candidate for a role needs a balance of both. The Balance wrote a great piece that gave the following examples of hard skills:

  • Proficiency in a foreign language
  • A degree or certificate
  • Typing speed
  • Machine operation
  • Computer programming

It also noted the following soft skills:

  • Communication
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Patience
  • Persuasion
  • Problem Solving Abilities
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Work Ethic

What talent acquisition professionals need to really dig into the job description of each position in order to decide which skills are most important. Is this role something someone with communication skills could train for? Is this a job that absolutely requires computer programming? Most of the time, candidates won’t have everything on the list, but if a job seeker has well-honed soft skills, they may be a good match for a learning-based role.


While interviews aren’t always an accurate representation of a candidate’s full career goal mapping strategy, they can still be helpful in ascertaining career trajectory. Is the candidate searching for a long-term fit? Does the candidate feel they can do the job well?

While it’s tempting to just ask these questions in a typical manner, you will likely receive rehearsed, clipped or one word answers in return. Research has found that asking open-ended, less expected or behavioral interview questions yields a more fleshed out picture of a real job seeker.

Nielson Norman Group sums it up well, “Closed-ended questions are often good for surveys, because you get higher response rates when users don’t have to type so much. Also, answers to closed-ended questions can easily be analyzed statistically, which is what you usually want to do with survey data.

However, in one-on-one usability testing, you want to get richer data than what’s provided from simple yes/no answers. If you test with 5 users, it’s not interesting to report that, say, 60% of users answered “yes” to a certain question. No statistical significance, whatsoever. If you can get users to talk in depth about a question, however, you can absolutely derive valid information from 5 users. Not statistical insights, but qualitative insights.”

Be careful with your questions – try to stay away from “stock” prompts as the informed job seeker will Google how to answer them, thus masking their real thoughts. Ascertaining goals and motivation will help you place a candidate in a long-term position that they really want.

If you can truly master these three areas, you will be able to place job seekers in their dream roles while simultaneously delighting the company you recruit for.


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