Quick look: The labor market continues to create challenges for businesses looking to land top talent. While a sound recruiting strategy has always been beneficial, employers today simply won’t succeed without one. Here are three tips to help business leaders stand out from their competition and hire the employees they need the most.
Recruiting has become increasingly difficult for organizations of all sizes, but especially for smaller businesses who are competing with larger companies for the same talent. The power in the recruiting process has shifted to the job seeker, and their expectations are at an all-time high. Your business has a lot to lose if your recruiting strategy is weaker than your competitor’s.
Candidates today, especially Millennials and Generation (Gen) Z, have forever changed how organizations of all sizes compete for and recruit the best talent. Most of the older methods of talent acquisition no longer work for organizations or recruiters, which has caused a great deal of disruption within the recruiting industry.
Many businesses have taken steps to boost their recruiting strategy and make it resonate with the modern job seeker. These are typically the companies that have seen improved recruiting numbers and business growth. Luckily, there are several proven methods that improve and enhance recruiting strategies.
1. Focus on the candidate experience
One of the biggest recruiting trends has been the increased focus on candidate experience, and many companies have roles dedicated to this important recruitment issue. The candidate experience starts before a person ever applies to one of your jobs and extends through the onboarding process.
Review your application flow
The first step to improving your candidate experience is to take a step back and go through your own application flow. Do this through the lens of a candidate – if there are things you don’t like, how do you think candidates feel? Ensuring that each aspect of the hiring process is seamless is the first step to improving candidate experience.
Your career site should provide everything a candidate would need: an inside look at your company, available benefits, easy access to open positions, and any other information that can give candidates a glimpse of your company culture. Also, if you use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), make sure it looks and acts the way a job seeker would expect. It’s also important to ensure that both your career site and ATS are mobile-friendly. This is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s an expectation for today’s job seekers. Having an application flow that isn’t mobile-optimized will cause you to miss out on top talent.
Focus on feedback
Providing regular feedback and updates to candidates is also a must. Leaving your job seekers in the dark during the recruiting process will negatively impact their candidate experience and increase the likelihood that they look somewhere else or leave your business a negative online review. Whether it’s proactive application status updates or a polite and informative rejection letter, improving your candidate experience with regular communication will have both short- and long-term positive impacts on your recruiting strategy and overall organization.
2. Have a process and timeline in place
A comprehensive, data-driven recruiting process begets talent acquisition success. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) explains that a sound recruiting process includes the following four steps:
Determine (and align) objectives
First, SMB leadership must confirm that recruitment efforts align with overall organizational objectives. For example, if your business is focused on providing top-notch customer service, this should be a priority to recruiters when scouting new talent.
Next, recruiters should establish their recruitment campaign objectives, which could include things like:
- Number of positions to be filled
- Date by which they should be filled
- Cost per hire
- Target number of applications
- Types of applications desired
Build a strategy
SMB leaders should then develop a plan of action to meet the above objectives. Some questions to ask while creating a strategy include:
- Which candidates should be targeted (i.e. recent college graduates, those who work for competitors, etc.)?
- What messaging should be communicated?
- What’s the best way to reach targeted candidates?
- When should we begin recruiting?
Now comes the fun part: recruiting! At this point in the process, activities such as posting job advertisements, sourcing candidates through social media, following up on employee referrals, and more can take place.
Measure, measure, measure
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. And while keeping track of recruiting data is critical, it’s perhaps the biggest challenge faced by recruiting teams of all sizes. Using data, analytics, and metrics in recruiting can seem daunting, but it’s extremely important to the success of a recruiting strategy.
Starting out simple is the best way to become a data-driven recruiter. Tracking and measuring these metrics over time should help improve your recruiting efforts:
- Source of hire
- Time to hire
- Applicants per hire
- Cost per hire
- Retention rates
- Quality of hire
3. Understand the job market
The labor market has utterly transformed in the last few years. The COVID-19 pandemic caused many workers to reevaluate their priorities and sparked a continuing labor shortage. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently reported that there are 11.4 million job openings, but only 6 million unemployed Americans.
With competition stronger than ever, to attract top talent recruiting professionals must:
Be where the candidates are
To succeed as a recruiter, you need to be where your applicants are. Today, almost every job seeker is active on some form of social media, so engaging with them on these platforms should be a part of your recruiting strategy.
Some recruiters use social media on their own. They have their own profiles and accounts on various platforms and build relationships with job seekers. While this is a great strategy, it’s not the only one. Be sure that your company is also active on social channels. Partnering with your marketing team can help with this.
Another important thing to remember is that candidates look at job search and employer review websites. Keeping your profile updated and adding new photos can go a long way to improving your presence on these sites and having a high rating should be a company-wide goal.
Emphasize your culture
Employer branding and culture matters, and not just to job seekers – it’s also important for current employees and the entire organization. Building your brand and then marketing it plays an important role in a sound recruiting strategy.
A strong employer brand attracts candidates and makes them want to work for your company. Sharing your company culture on your career site, social media channels (including job review sites like Glassdoor), and throughout the recruiting process should be an integral part of any recruiting strategy.
An organic way to nurture your employer brand is to enlist business leaders and employees to act as advocates. When team members share their positive experiences and explain why they love working at your company, it helps spread your brand’s message and makes you more attractive as an employer.
It’s an employee’s market, and the chances are high that your well-qualified candidate has – or is about to receive – competing offers. This makes it extremely important to act quickly and not lose your opportunity to hire top talent.
Recruiters should confirm that hiring managers and any applicable employees are readily available to interview with candidates, make sure that candidates are receiving the best possible offer right away, and consider having honest conversations with applicants about other offers they may have and how the organization can help them reach their short- and long-term goals.
Handing over the hunt
An effective recruiting strategy benefits the entire organization and requires continuous improvement throughout the entire hiring process. Recruiters, human resources (HR) managers, and business leaders alike should routinely examine their strategy to determine which areas need work.
That’s where a professional employer organization (PEO) comes into play. These organizations can provide end-to-end recruiting services, including:
- Full cycle recruiting for most staff level positions
- Job advertisement creation
- Salary surveys
- Skills assessments
- Interview assistance
- Offer letter consultations
- And more
While some PEOs offer these services for an additional fee, others, like ExtensisHR, provide them at no extra cost. This allows SMBs to derive even more value from their PEO partnership.