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Courting: It's Not Just for Dating

4 Tips for Attracting the Best Candidates

by Jeff Mills | SAPinsider, Volume 16, Issue 1

January 1, 2015

If you don’t currently think of your organization’s recruiting efforts as a courting process, you probably should. Learn 4 key tips from experts at SuccessFactors about the similarities between romantic and business relationships, and how to make the most of your efforts to court candidates.


Recruiters can learn a lot from brand and marketing communications groups when it comes to portraying a company image and engaging audiences. Recruiters have been given tools that used to be left to these marketing groups in the effort to connect with talented people in hopes of turning them into job candidates and ultimately employees. In the same vein, recruiters should think of themselves as relationship marketers who focus on building relationships in the long-term effort of a conversion (hiring a candidate) and building brand advocates (happy employees). In fact, relationship marketing shares some similarities with romantic relationships, as the courting process is actually quite similar.

4 Lessons Learned for Courting Candidates

Here are a few rules that recruiters can follow: 

  1. There is a difference between making yourself available and being desperate. Recruiters want to fill the pipeline with talent quickly to prove to the business they are doing a good job, and that normally means publishing the job everywhere. However, casting a wide net can attract the wrong people and cost a lot of money. If you don’t have end-to-end recruiting reporting, you are wasting cash and a lot of time sifting through unqualified candidates.
  2. An engaging online presence is critical. Think about online dating: You wouldn’t give a person a second look if his or her personal profile weren’t interesting. Similarly, if your company’s career site doesn’t make you smile or interested, rethink your strategy. This is such a great opportunity to express your culture, show you care about people, and create an engaging experience. Update your content on a consistent basis — a static site is a dead site and no one will stay interested in you.
  3. You only get one chance to make a first impression. How and where you communicate to candidates — whether in speech, job postings, or social media — matter a lot. When looking for talent online, use the company’s social media account. By doing this you ensure that people are paying attention, you are staying on brand, and you are helping build a bigger employer presence.
  4. Dress the part. Would you show up to a date in a suit or dress that was designed in 1988, or talk about Y2K? No, because staying relevant is important when trying to make an impression. This includes the career page on your site, application process, email, which social networks to use, and mobile-friendliness.
Building a Strong Presence

Your corporate marketing group has years of lessons learned and best practices that can greatly benefit you. Let them train you on how to act and behave online and how to build the right presence. You can also use a third party, such as a digital marketing agency or social consultants, or internal brainstorming sessions to make sure you are staying up to date with digital marketing. 
Getting the right tools in place is essential. Without an integrated recruiting solution, your process and reporting will fall down and you will be left with more questions than answers. Communication today is very fragmented and you need to be able to understand this landscape to be effective in reaching your target audience. For more information, visit

Additional recruiting and SuccessFactors content can be found on HR Expert (subscription required). In-depth coverage includes, SAP and SuccessFactors – An Overview, Attract, Engage, and Select Qualified Candidates with SuccessFactors, and Recruiting Tips. Learn more.

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Jeff Mills
Jeff Mills

Jeff Mills ( is Director of Solution Marketing for Recruiting and Onboarding at SuccessFactors. He previously led marketing teams and product marketing for SaaS companies such as Janrain and Navex Global and was the Vice President of Product for a product suite of commerce and communication applications at a digital services and software firm, eROI.

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