The Best Recruitment Strategies in a Full-Employment Talent Market
The latest statistics are in: the unemployment rate has dropped, again, to 4.4%. So what does this mean for your company’s talent acquisition program, and how should it affect your recruitment strategies?
Around 5% unemployment is considered “full employment” so this talent market challenge has been increasing in recent years. Basically, it means even fewer people actively looking for work (despite new evidence that 70% of the workforce is open to changing jobs at any given time), more competition for talent, and more companies pulling out all stops to retain their talent.
So what recruitment strategies are available for smaller or mid-sized businesses without a lot of resources? After addressing any retention issues you may have, the next thing you will need to do is identify your specific recruitment challenge: flow or screen.
Not all jobs within a company face the same recruitment challenges, so your recruitment strategy will need to be flexible and comprehensive enough to address all roles. In a tight labor market, flow will always be a problem for most companies. Flow is the traffic to your job postings, or your pool of interested (and qualified) candidates.
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The other recruitment challenge is screening. Some roles, especially those that require fewer specific skills or training, will always attract a larger pool. The primary recruitment challenge here is screening. You want your recruitment strategy to address both challenges, so we’ve compiled a few suggestions for each:
Recruitment Strategies to Address Candidate Flow
1. IMPROVE YOUR EMPLOYER BRAND PROJECTION.
Do an audit of your employer brand touchpoints (web, social, reviews, employee engagement) and make sure you have a good story to tell and are putting your best foot forward to talent. Candidates are consumers, and they will make their applying decisions based on multiple factors. Whether you are trying to convince someone to leave their current employer, or competing with the company down the street for a new grad, your company culture and value proposition (the “sizzle” and the “why” behind the work) will set you apart.
2. EDIT YOUR JOB POSTINGS.
A job description is different from a job posting. It is pretty much universally accepted that a resume is not an exhaustive list of previous duties, but rather marketing collateral to highlight why a company should hire you. Think of your job postings that way. There is a time and place for a job description that has all the KSAs and balanced-scorecard data points, but the place for a candidate’s first impression of your opportunity ain’t it.
3. TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND.
Make sure you are using the right services to broadly syndicate your postings. An effective applicant tracking system (ATS) should blast your job postings to all the top job boards, allow for easy applying, facilitate sharing of jobs, and serve as a searchable database. If you don’t have an ATS then you can do this piecemeal. There are lots of options out there: we really like JazzHR but there are so many that will do the trick.
4. GET ON SOCIAL.
You’ve held out and held out, or you have an inconsistent approach to social media. I feel your pain- but time to get serious about social as a critical part of your recruitment strategy. This is the place to share your culture and continually brand your company as a hiring company (see #5) while reaching the largest audience. While many platforms allow for very, very (scarily) precise targeting, just think about it as the world’s largest referral network on which to project your brand and advertise specific openings.
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5. ALWAYS BE RECRUITING.
Implement a pre-demand recruitment strategy. You know there are certain positions that are really hard to recruit for, or come open regularly. Create a systematic process for advertising those roles and engaging with talent in those fields regularly. Ideally it should include enlisting every single employee at your company in talent scouting via an official (or not) employee referral program. Make it easy for them- if you are always looking for customer service folks, print up business card that say “You impressed me!” with contact information and give stacks to your employees to hand out to people they encounter who provide them awesome customer service. When you post a new job, ask employees to share it on social media.
Now if your problem is screening, you may want to consider one of these recruitment strategies:
Recruitment Strategies to Address Candidate Screening
1. ENABLE SELF-SCREENING.
If you communicate your employer brand, demonstrate the “sizzle” and the “why” behind the work, and craft your job postings in a way that candidates can clearly see if they are a fit or not, they will be more likely to apply where it is a fit and hold off when it is not. Think about your dream job, and how much time you’d invest in applying if you knew it was a great fit...then think about the job that describes the ideal candidate and it is definitely not you. The odds of applying to the bad fit go down a little.
2. USE MULTI-STEP SCREENING.
Here again, applicant tracking technology is your friend. You can create custom applications that include screening questions, then follow up with a second questionnaire. Questions can be skill or values/fit based. This approach serves three purposes: it solicits useful responses, it creates a little more friction for those who know they aren’t a good fit, all while adding opportunities to engage with candidates who are. It also ensures everyone is evaluated according to the same criteria. Many companies also find success in implementing standardized, online assessments early in the process.
3. TRY EVENT-BASED INTERVIEWS.
These are especially helpful for companies that need to hire a large number of people in a short time, want a more informal/relaxed environment to “network” with talent, or want to include in-person meetings into a pre-demand recruitment strategy. A cocktail hour with sales talent, or a game night for local IT talent are some of the creative ways to get to know people beyond a 1-1 formal interview.
4. DON’T ABANDON THE GOLD STANDARD.
The quick phone screen and more in-depth individual or panel interview still get the job done.
And it should be said that sometimes you need to address both screen and flow at the same time for a particular critical and hard-to-fill role. In that case, hiring a recruiter who can leverage their network and target individuals should be considered. A comprehensive recruitment strategy is akin to a wellness program, but sometimes a trip to the ER is unavoidable.
There is no one-size fits all recruitment strategy, but incorporating some of these practices into your talent acquisition program can help your company brace itself against just about any swing in the talent market.
Links and other interesting stuff:
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