Summary: Innovative recruiting is the only way to land solid employees in a tight workforce.
- Recruiting remains one of the most important assets to a company in search of strong employees.
- However, with many businesses suffering from a market with fewer employees, recruiters need to "up" their game to attract strong candidates.
- This article examines what recruiters can do to raise the stakes, ensuring they receive the best job applicants possible.
If it isn’t already tough enough to find an employee for any one or two vacancies within your company, it’s even tougher to find a truly gifted and qualified employee who will be a strong asset to your workforce.
It seems as if all the “good ones” have merely vanished from the workforce, yet they’ve done so with good reason:
- Unemployment is at an all-time low.
- Today’s job market is highly specialized which means:
- Today’s worker is more often than not highly specialized.
- Specialization and abundancy conflict with each other when it comes to finding good candidates.
- If you don’t have the absolute best practices employed to attract the best candidates, you’ll end up with the dregs or no one at all.
Yes, that’s harsh, but it’s also very true.
Job candidates these days are smart; they know their value. They know they can play one company off another much in the same way a person shopping for a brand of car can play one dealer off another.
Money, while always important, is not the penultimate enticement to recruiting the best possible candidate. There are other factors which recruiters should be aware of, those being:
- Work-life balance
- Ability to progress from one position to a higher position
- Pay raises
- Work atmosphere/a business’s general personality
- Socio-economic concern over the business’s ultimate goal and its product
This last facet – the socio-economic concern over the business’s ultimate goal and its product is of the utmost importance to today’s modern companies. High morals and deep social responsibilities rank high in the opinions of many current job candidates. An increasing number of these individuals will not work for companies that pay no attention to world causes.
Now, lump that in with the other previously mentioned examples of good job candidates, and you as a hiring manager have quite a large task on hand. Your job is to attract these good candidates, but to do so in an almost sensitive manner, while also being surgical in your approach. You have to hit the candidate pool hard and direct, but also with precision.
So how do you do that? Read on for some good suggestions as to how you can revamp your recruiting.
Recruitment as Art
Whether a business is small, medium-sized or large, a proper, modern-day recruitment process should fairly much be the same across the board.
Job candidates don’t have a lot of time or patience with companies who make a poor attempt of their recruitment tactics. Just as was the time when employers and hiring managers made all sorts of demands among job seekers from brief and well-edited resumes to a style of adorn once labeled “dress for success,” the tables have subsequently turned. Now it is up to the employers, hiring managers and recruiters to impress the job candidates.
In today’s working world, recruiting has evolved into an art form of sorts. Presentation is tantamount as well as is a clear explanation of what the job is. Job summaries should do away with terms like “Other duties may include…” no candidate buys into those words any longer. Why? Because today’s job candidates will most likely interpret “other duties” as a job that is not defined or an employer/manager whom themselves might not know what the job exactly entails.
Remember that word: exactly.
Remember it because no candidate on the planet is going to apply to a job that does not have an upfront, well-written and edited, if not adequately bulleted job description. They don’t have the time for that mess, nor have the time for you to explain that mess to them.
Recruitment as art requires work and exact execution. You must be precise in how you describe a job opening. Don’t think of it as “dumbing down” a job’s responsibilities and requirements. Consider it more like well-written verse devoid of unneeded words and phraseology; or rather the difference between a strong sports story and rambling editorial.
Be straightforward, brief and most importantly, exact. However, you also have to be aware of the medium on which candidates will view your job opening.
Forbes magazine states that in today’s employment sector job descriptions are viewed by candidates more often on mobile devices than desktop computers (there are approximately 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions in the world against a population of 7 billion people). This factor alone does not give you, the recruiter, much space, and more importantly, time to describe your latest opening.
Secondly, the job market and recruiting have gone social. It’s no longer a matter of looking in this morning’s paper’s classified section or going to the local unemployment office to find work. Now, the proper way to announce a job opening is to advertise it on a proper online distribution channel like LinkedIn. Sure, Craigslist might be okay, but that’s geared more to gig jobs, not higher-level career opportunities.
As the Forbes’ article Do These Three Things To Unlock Your Recruiting Potential suggests, once you’ve locked on to where you will advertise your job, you must now audit its description by doing the following:
- Utilize online microsites or even video outlets if technically possible (which you and your company should be as it is). However, be sure to stay within your budget as using these sources can get expensive. All-in-all microsites and video can lead to higher conversions.
- Be Mobile-First: Write your job descriptions with the assumption that candidates read them on mobile devices.
- Edit and Trim: Ruthlessly edit and cut non-essential requirements and qualifications (sorry, but “must have strong communication skills” will do nothing to screen that quality in or out of your applicants).
- Write to your Audience: Use “you” and “your” not “we” and “our.” Help them see themselves in the job.
- Share Success Measures: Show them what success looks like in your job. Too many job descriptions focus on tasks instead of outcomes, which are a large facet of importance within today’s work culture. Share what the ideal hire will have accomplished after a successful year.
- Gender Neutrality: Review for gender neutrality. You may think you’re cute and clever with “code ninjas” and “party bus happy hours,” but your word choice may be skewing your applicant pool. Also, avoid using “his” or “her.” Writing like that isolates candidates, immediately turning them off to your job description.
- Use Real Language: A conversational tone is relatable and may help the reader connect with your copy. “Building upon synergies of connected experiences,” is pure and simple B.S. not that it makes sense in the first place.
These are the first steps toward revamping your recruiting – making it the art that good recruiting should always be. Here now is step two:
Step Two: Review Your Candidate Experience
The term “candidate experience” (CX) explains what a candidate will perceive of your interview process and skill. If the way you or someone else in HR interviews a candidate that makes them feel uncomfortable, you’ve more than likely lost that candidate for good.
As the Forbes article hints, few companies of late fail to understand the importance of prioritizing CX beyond “check the box” activities. However, that doesn’t cut it. Real CX associates with building an empathetic recruiting process between the recruiter and the job candidate.
Humanity must be a large part of the recruiting process simply because searching for a job is a highly emotional and vulnerable experience. As organizations look for efficiency and speed in their hiring practice, they often lose sight of the human aspect of the experience.
The Forbes’ article states that the risks of discounting CX as a viable recruiting tool can result in a poor candidate experience that can evolve into a tweet or Glassdoor post away from damaging your brand, and costing you customers.
On the contrary, the opposite is also true.
A great candidate experience has the potential to create fans and customers out of the most unlikely individuals, namely job candidates you didn’t select.
Granted, the majority of applicants understand the numbers and likelihood of rejection. It’s how you handle those applicants and rejections that reveal a lot about your company.
Forbes suggests these tactics to enhance your candidate experience:
- Set Expectations: Add a section on your career site that breaks down what applicants can expect from application through onboarding (or rejection).
- Proactive FAQs: Create an application FAQ and send it automatically to all applicants.
- Introduce Your Team: Share recruiter bios, photos and social profiles on job descriptions.
- Manager Involvement: Train your hiring managers on the importance of candidate experience and hold them accountable.
- Interview Prep: Before an interview, prepare the candidates on what to expect and send them the full interview schedule including titles and LinkedIn profiles (if applicable) of the interview team. Let them know when they should hear back, and be sure they’re aware of the timeline of the search.
- CX Surveys: Conduct candidate experience surveys of all applicants during and after the process to understand what you do well and where you need to improve.
The third step toward revamped recruiting is fairly much the most important and impactful for your company. It is what recruiters and others will read online about you, and remember you by in future employee recruitment endeavors. That step is:
Step Three: Take Control of Your Employer Brand
Employer brand is highly important to talent leaders, and a foundational component of most modern talent strategies.
Forbes describes employer brand adoption as a talent initiative, in which its execution is on a curve.
At one end, companies have gone all-in with dedicated employer brand teams that operate like in-house agencies complete with designers, videographers, and illustrators. However, swing to the other side of the curve, and you’ll find the majority of companies who are at an earlier stage in their adoption curve.
In short, these companies still struggle or can’t understand how the integration of social outlets into their recruiting efforts can articulate their employer value, while also profiling their target prospects.
Of course, this isn’t about the money invested into showing the working world that you are as a company. Yes, you do need to take control and shape your employer brand, but it doesn’t have to mean massive investments. There are many tools to leverage, such as your creativity and appetite for risks. These, Forbes claims, are better indicators of your potential success than money sunk into your identity.
Here are some specific things you can do to enhance your employer brand:
- Company Social Profiles: Ensure your free company profiles on LinkedIn and Glassdoor are complete.
- Employee Photos: Use real employee photos and videos on any outward facing materials (career site, recruitment marketing materials).
- Employer Value Proposition: Consider drafting an Employer Value Proposition (EVP), or lightweight employee experience overview, to reinforce what employees and new hires can expect.
- Internal Advocates: Identify and train internal advocates to share their story on social media and blogs.
- Aggregate Employee Content: Create a branded hashtag for them to use to help you aggregate and share all of the employee-generated content.
- Minimize Jargon: Review your career site, job description, and recruitment collateral to reduce jargon and use relatable copy.
- Personalize Yourself: Persona map your target hires to tailor your EB efforts around the channels and content that will resonate.
- Be Honest: Your company needs to be honest and straightforward in its self-representation so that your job candidates can make informed decisions.
The recruiting process is more complicated as well as sensitive than it ever has in the history of the industrialized world. Everyone wants their fair share, shake and depiction, and with that, it’s up to recruitment techniques to ensure employers and candidates are happy on either side of the ball (which in this the ball is a job).
Consider your recruiting process from the job seekers point of view. Realize that your open job isn’t the only available position and that there is bound to be a similar opening at company X, Y or Z, all three of which are competitors and therefore entities to whom you cannot afford to lose a perfect job candidate.
So it’s with this that you have to be honest and upfront about your brand, yet explain it attractively.
Remember, work candidates are looking for something special in a job, and it’s up to you and your revamped recruiting techniques to provide a robust argument that you are that person with the special job a strong candidate desires.
If you can’t, it’ll take those strong candidates no time to hit the road to the next opening, while you are left holding a job opportunity as vacant as an empty bag.
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