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The Candidate Connection

By Peter Weddle, CEO TAtech

Inc. recently published the results of a study which found that 3-out-of-5 employees would consider leaving their current employer if they didn’t feel connected to the organization. It’s the not-so-hidden driver of the Great Resignation and, I suspect, the dysfunctional job market as well. Indeed, the very real talent acquisition corollary to that finding goes like this: a whole lot of candidates will walk away from open jobs if they don’t feel connected to the employer. Which begs the question, what constitutes a connection with a candidate and how is it developed?

Here's the grim news from that study:

The Connection Gap study conducted by Blueboard found that nearly three in five employees would consider leaving their job if they didn't feel connected at work. In addition, while 85 percent of HR leaders agree or strongly agree connection is critical for their organization's success, only 4 percent of HR respondents strongly agree that they've adequately addressed the challenges with employee connection at work.”

The statistics are likely to be similar for candidates, so whatever the shortfall among employees, we need to find a way to plug the gap among potential new hires. How can that be done? First, of course, we have to know what we mean by connection. The Cambridge Dictionary defines the term as “the state of being related to someone or something else.” For our purposes, however, the definition needs more specificity, as that relationship can be positive or negative. From an TA perspective, therefore, a connection is the establishment of a stable constructive relationship between an individual and an employer.

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If a connection is a stable constructive relationship, how is it established by an employer? The Inc. article cites Blueboard, an experiential rewards and recognition company, which came up with four associations that must be formed for a true connection to exist. An employee must feel:
• Connected to the company's mission, values, and leadership vision;
• Connected to their co-workers and managers through authentic relationships;
• Connected to their work, feeling that they have a positive impact on the company's goals;
• Connected to their personal aspirations: that they're growing and developing in the ways that mean something to them.

That makes a lot of sense for someone who has previously agreed to be on the team, but what about for a person who is still considering it? An employee is already engaged with their employer, and that engagement provides a foundation on which an organization can create those four associations. There is no foundation for a candidate, however, so first one has to be created. If the minimal employee engagement is a quid pro quo of services for compensation, the minimal engagement for a candidate is a quid pro quo of interest for information.

The only way to establish such a relationship at scale is with technology. Web-based and completely integrated, it can deliver constant, coordinated and compelling messaging and images that move a candidate from disinterested passerby to interested candidate. Each employer’s tech stack will differ, of course, but it should include as much of the following as possible:
• Recruitment marketing products and services
• Talent pool development and nurturing solutions
• Recruitment advertising sites
• Programmatic ad buying platforms
• Sourcing products and services
• Conversational AI solutions
• Candidate experience optimization solutions
• Career site development & maintenance solutions
• Applicant tracking systems
• Candidate interviewing and assessment tools
• Reference & background checking products
• Onboarding solutions

The goal, however, isn’t to have as much technology as possible, but rather to have the right technology implemented effectively within the stack and among recruiters so that as many candidates as possible:
• Know, respect and believe in the company’s mission, values, and leadership vision;
• Know, respect and believe in the caliber of the people who will be their coworkers and managers;
• Know, respect and believe in the contribution their work can make to the company’s goals;
• Know, respect and believe in the opportunity their work will provide for personal growth and development.

Achieving that knowledge, respect and belief is the only way to establish and maintain a stable constructive relationship between a candidate and an employer – a connection that has an effective impact on their propensity to apply.

Food for Thought,

Peter Weddle is the author or editor of over two dozen books and a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He is also the founder and CEO of TAtech: The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. You can download his latest book – The Neonaissance – FOR FREE at And, if you don't have time to read the entire book, just download a short excerpt of his inspirational message.