Lifecycle Mastery: It Begins By Building Trust In Recruiting

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Feb 28, 2017

This is part one of a six part look at how employers can master the talent lifecycle in a way that will help build a high performing workforce. Today’s post examines talent attraction. Other posts are listed at the end of this article.


Each stage of the talent lifecycle is important to the growth of the individual and the company as a whole. How can you ensure each step runs smoothly and drives employees to be their best? Employees need to be engaged in their work and trust their leaders, but, unfortunately, disengagement and distrust is a common problem.

According to a December survey from Gallup, only 34.7% of workers are engaged at work. Employees lack enthusiasm for the work they do, and they don’t feel a sense of loyalty with their employer. They will work hard and go the extra mile only when they can trust leadership and believe in their company and their mission.

However, trust is still an issue in today’s workplace. The 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey from the American Psychological Association found that 20% of the 1,501 U.S. workers surveyed don’t trust their employer. So how can employers establish trust and craft a talent lifecycle that contributes to company growth?

The secret to success is transparency. Transparent leadership is the key to fostering a culture of trust between leaders and their employees. Employees who are kept in the loop and understand their role in the overarching purpose and goals of the company are more likely to put their trust in their employer. They want to align their personal goals with the bigger picture.

This is especially important in your talent acquisition program. Establishing trust begins with your candidates. Let’s take a look at the recruitment stage of the talent lifecycle to see how employers can establish trust with their employees at the start.

Define your ideal candidate

Your first impression as an employer is crucial because you need to get people on board who trust you and want to grow with your company. But before you can start hiring trusting employees, you need to know whom you want to hire.

Start by creating a candidate profile — what does your ideal candidate look like? Collaborate with your hiring teams and department heads so everyone can agree on what kind of person would succeed.

Don’t just follow your gut. You need to define a handful of characteristics a successful employee would possess in the open role. For example, let’s say you need to find a creative director to oversee the growth of your brand. Define what success looks like for them.

A creative director should have a background in design, so one of your characteristics to look for would be a design portfolio. They also need to be able to partner with creative leaders to achieve a vision through efficient processes.

When you have tangible aspects to look for, like a portfolio that showcases high quality work, you make smarter hiring decisions — decisions based on evidence, not feeling.

Your current employees will trust you more when you start hiring the right people for each role. It shows they can count on you to bring on help they need to continue to succeed and grow. When leaders walk the walk, employees see them as dependable.

Give them a job snapshot

To establish trust from the get go, make sure you write accurate job descriptions that clearly define success in the role. Don’t leave candidates guessing about what their day-to-day tasks would be or what the role entails.

Make it clear what they will be doing on a daily basis and what success looks like in that role. You might even produce a short video that includes real employee testimonials. The goal of the video is to show the candidate the realities of accepting the role and to explain what a typical workday looks like.

The benefit of this is twofold. First, you’re encouraging interested candidates to reflect on whether they truly see themselves succeeding in the role. You’re already reducing the workload on HR by deterring those who aren’t sure how they will fit.

What’s more, you’re emphasizing the transparent nature of your culture. This is bound to get their attention and attract those who align with your values of openness.

Emphasize goals

A lot of new hires fail to meet expectations because, while they may fit your requirements and understand the workload, they don’t know what success really means.

Your employer brand messaging should emphasize your company’s passion for goal setting. The best way to inform your applicants about this is by showing it to them.

Share your company goals in your job postings, then cascade them to the individual role. You’re not writing job descriptions for someone to simply fit into a role, but to attract and inspire someone who can achieve goals that help the whole company grow.

When you can communicate clearly and truthfully about goals and any upcoming challenges you foresee, you are demonstrating how your company values truthful, open communication. Moreover, your employees trust in your competence and reliability.

Tell them what success is

Let’s say you want your creative director to expand the department. When you write the job description, show the candidates the impact they can have in your organization by describing the goals you want them to achieve.

For example, describe how you want to increase revenue by 15% in six months in the job posting. To accomplish that, you need to expand your creative department by hiring three new designers to meet the increase in client work. Explain how you expect the creative director would accomplish this, and share your concerns about budgeting for expansion and retaining top talent while the department is undergoing such a drastic change.

You want your candidates to show their passion when you start to assess them. By detailing their goals in the job description, you’re encouraging candidates to prepare an action plan and to explain how they are the best candidate for the role.

First, you need to know what makes up the perfect hire. From there, you can promote the opportunity in a meaningful way while establishing the fact that your company values transparency and goal orientation. This lends to establishing trust with your candidates while attracting talent who fits your needs.

It’s important to look at each stage of the talent lifecycle to see where you can make improvements. Check out tips on the remaining stages — employee assessment and selection, onboarding, training and development, performance management, and succession planning.

How are you establishing trust with your candidates during the recruitment stage of the talent lifecycle?

Other posts in this series: