This post is contributed by Karla Ahern and Kit Nordmark, Burtch Works’ marketing research and consumer insights recruiting specialists.
The research and insights market is picking up steam this year, with strong marketing researchers fielding multiple offers and needing to make decisions quickly. Earlier this year our research found that many companies are looking to hire and expand their research teams, so competition is fierce!
With so much activity, many candidates may have to make decisions without being able to see other interviews through to completion, so making a good impression throughout the process is crucial!
As a result, today’s recruitment process needs to be carefully managed, and we wanted to share our experience about what works, what impedes the process, and how to make sure you don’t lose your ideal candidate.
1. Streamline the interview process.
Take a look at the entire process potential candidates will go through from start to finish. If it’s more than 2-3 steps, it may be time to reconsider the blueprint before you miss out on a great candidate due to timing.
For instance, we continue to see case studies and assignments included as part of the process. While these exercises can be helpful for evaluating potential talent, understand that they will impact momentum. A researcher who is currently employed will need to find time in their busy schedule to complete it, which can slow down the entire interview timeline. Even a 3-hour case study can become an obstacle and it will commonly add at least a week or two to the overall process.
Also, a strong candidate will likely be interviewing with multiple companies, so you may be competing with other organizations that don’t require assignments and therefore can get to the point of presenting an offer much faster. We’ve written before about best practices for employers using assignments to evaluate research talent, so review those tips for more advice about managing this stage of the process!
2. Button up interactions with HR.
Strong candidates (these are researchers after all!) will be observant and consider the entire experience when making their final decision, including interactions with HR and how smoothly the interview process has gone. We’ve noticed a trend towards researchers being especially deliberate when making career decisions, and this post goes into more detail about how to really ‘wow’ them.
While you may not be able to compete with a candidate basing their decision on a 5-minute commute or other factors out of your control, be sure your HR processes are seamless and be clear with candidate communications to provide the best interaction possible.
3. Be aggressive with your offer.
Once you’ve identified a researcher who may be a great fit, make sure you’re ready to enter the offer stage with your best foot forward.
Candidates making a move are seeing increases of ~15% or more in base salary, so you will likely be competing with strong offers. Be prepared to present your best offer so the candidate knows you’re serious about them and it minimizes the back and forth and potential of a counter offer.
After the interview is complete, have the hiring manager or head of the group follow-up with a phone call or voicemail – a personal reach-out to reiterate excitement can go a long way!
We’ve also seen companies go the extra mile to woo a strong candidate. Consider sending something fun after the final interview or an offer has been extended. It could be gear with your logo, or something that represents the local area if they may be relocating. We’ve seen a Chicago client send deep dish pizza to a candidate that was considering a move to the Windy City (a delicious treat for the whole family!), and recently a gaming client sent t-shirts and video games for the candidate’s kids (another home run!).
We can’t be certain, but we bet a candidate would have had a hard time not envisioning themselves at your company with gestures like these! Personal touches like this are a fun and easy way to differentiate your company and leave a lasting impression on the candidate.
We hope this information was helpful! If you’re looking to hire marketing research or consumer insights talent, or looking for new opportunities, be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn (Karla Ahern and Kit Nordmark).
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Check out our 2019 research & insights salary webinar below, where we shared long-term salary trends, hiring research, and career strategy advice!