Last month unemployment dropped to its lowest level since 2008. Competition for hiring has heated up, especially for skilled positions. However, many employers are finding themselves stuck in a recession-era mindset that contributes to long delays in filling positions. Here are four tips that can help your business’ recruiting strategy:
1. Welcome New Applicants
Inbound applicants are job seekers who have found your open positions by some means, whether they visited your career site, found a posting on a job board, or were referred by a friend. They’re less likely to meet your requirements for a position, but they’ve taken an active interest in the job and your company, they’re more likely to stay engaged, and more likely to put up with any inconveniences that your recruiting process puts them through.
Make their experience welcoming, keep them updated on the status of their candidacy, and try to ensure they don’t feel like a cog in a machine. Even if they don’t have the skills you’re looking for now, they may in the future, so treating them well now can pay off later.
2. Recruit Passive Applicants Only for Critical Positions
Let’s say your company recruiters go search LinkedIn or a resume database to look for people who have exactly the skills you require for a position. They bring you a list of highly qualified individuals who are potentially a great fit for the role. The problem? An engagement strategy has to be built to convince each of those people to make a life changing choice, and you have to convince them that your company and role is better than their current position. This costs time and money, and any headache or inconvenience that arises becomes a risk of losing their engagement.
Our recommendation is to focus your passive recruiting efforts on hard to fill positions, especially if you are searching for healthcare specialists, sales staff, and developers or mathematicians.
3. Focus on the Applicant’s Goals
Keep job descriptions concise and descriptive, don’t overwhelm readers with thousands of words and industry jargon. Focus on the impact that the position has on the company as a whole and where it fits into your organization, not just a list of duties and responsibilities. Sell your brand, talk about why you are better to work for than your competitors.
When applicants have multiple opportunities, work-life balance and increased responsibility are often stronger selling points than benefits and compensation. A highly sought-after prospect knows their value and makes her decision with the full picture in mind. If you don’t spend time nurturing her opinion of what being your employee will be like, someone else will.
4. Stop Hunting Unicorns
A number of factors can determine who is willing to apply to a job; work environment, meaningfulness, company culture, prestige, and so on, but wages and benefits are still at or near the top of the list.
Highly skilled workers with experience who are willing to work for below average pay essentially don’t exist anymore, the recession is over and they have options now. If your company isn’t willing (or able) to pay competitive wages & benefits (especially for skilled, in-demand positions), then be prepared to settle for less than top talent.
If you can’t afford top talent, it’s not the end of the world. There’s always training, mentorships, and time to build skills to the desired level. Investing in employee training also helps build loyalty and improve retention. You may need to transition your talents away from ”pure recruiting”, and into longer training and development, so be willing to look for talent with growth potential.