The labor market in the US, and globally for that matter, is in great shape right now. Employment levels are at their highest for a generation and employer hiring intentions remain strong. While this is good news for the economy, it’s not so great for employers.
With so many people in the market already, there are fewer who are on the market and open to new career opportunities. This presents a huge challenge for employers with vacancies that need filling – how do they find, attract and hire the people they need for their organisations?
It’s certainly a challenge, but it is one that can be overcome by having the right recruitment strategy in place. The question is, what does a ‘right recruitment strategy’ actually look like in practice? That’s what this Guide will show you.
Over the next few pages, you will learn the steps needed to ensure that your hiring activity is the most effective it can be – not just in terms of finding and attracting talent, but also in raising your profile as an employer of choice and mitigating the risk of making a mis-hire.
STAGE 1: Be clear on what a ‘great’ candidate looks like
Every organisation wants to attract the best talent, and most staffing businesses will tell you they only place the best people too.
Star employees are increasingly valuable commodities whose stock value increases when the talent pool begins to dry up. Given the contribution they also make to the bottom line of the organisation, this should come as no surprise.
Indeed, the Harvard Business Review states that an organisation’s best people outperform average workers by 4:1. They also generate around 80% of the organisation’s profit – they are the very definition of Pareto’s 80:20 Law. So, what does great talent look like?
The odds are stacked against you…
Recruiting talent isn’t easy, and it’s getting harder. The plethora of sources available by which candidates search for their next role has mean that employers need to get more than ever what their ideal candidates are interested in and more importantly, where they’re hanging out the most.
But before you even consider where to invest your recruitment marketing budget you first need to be absolutely clear on precisely who you are looking for.
According to data from Leadership IQ, around half (46%) of employees fail within 18 months of starting their job, while as few as 1 in 5 will be deemed a success (Center for Creative Leadership). There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest is a lack of clear understanding of what the ‘right’ candidate looks like.
STAGE 2: Involve the right people
The hiring process shouldn’t be restricted to the HR department and ultimate line manager, it needs to include all stakeholders, such as fellow team members and representatives from other departments.
It’s called ‘collaborative hiring’ and is a technique that has been shown to boost hiring success rates because everyone involved feels they have a vested interest in ensuring the right hire is made.
This approach also makes for a more robust job description and interview process, which are the two most critical elements of the entire recruitment process – get these wrong and your chances of hiring success are significantly reduced.
Indeed, a study by Allegis Group showed that while three quarters (72%) of employers believe they write powerful job descriptions, just one third (36%) candidates agree.
So, by engaging those within the organisations who will work both directly and indirectly with your new hire, you will gain a greater perspective on the skills, attributes and personality type needed to be successful in that role.
STAGE 3: Manage candidate Expectations
Now you are clear on what a successful candidate looks like, you now need to ensure that your organization is an attractive one that people will want to work for.
The importance of having a strong employer brand is perhaps one of the greatest understatements of all time.
According to a LinkedIn study, 83% of organisations say that the strength of their employer brand impacts their ability to attract top talent.
But what is an ‘employer brand’ and how can you ‘sell’ yours to prospective talent?
Defining your ‘brand’
When we talk of branding, the first names that often come to people’s minds are Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google among others. There is an expectation of the quality of service and the experience you will have when engaging and using their products and services.
It is the same when it comes to your employer brand.
It is a myth to suggest that candidates are only attracted to an organisation because of the compensation on offer. Yes, this is a consideration. But, as a report by PwC found money is not the key motivator for wanting to join a company.
It found that the primary considerations for job seekers are the opportunities to work for an employer whose values are reflective of their own, one that delivers on its promises, and one that provides genuine opportunities for career advancement.
The challenge is how to use this information when developing your employer brand, which is easier than you might think.
STAGE 4: Figure out your Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
Everyone has one, so what is about your organisation that will make you an attractive proposition for a new employee?
The answer can be found in the results of your staff surveys, employee advocacy programmes and exit interviews.
Using the insight garnered from the above activity, you can then create the key messages that will be used in your recruitment marketing.
Take L’Oréal as an example. Their EVP strapline is: “A thrilling experience, a culture of excellence.” This is broken down further:
1. A thrilling experience – a truly global business with a clear purpose and vision will ensure that candidates can see how they would fit this into their own trajectory.
2. An environment that will inspire you – with the amount of science, corporate social
responsibility and sustainable business practices, there will be something to inspire most employees.
3. A school of excellence – world leading brands and products would attract the best people and skills, as a candidate you could be attracted to that environment for your career growth.
It’s hard to not be motivated to work for an organisation that promises so much.
Yet, despite being a global leader in the beauty space, L’Oréal had struggled to attract top talent until it re-evaluated and repositioned its EVP.
STAGE 5: Choose your Tactics
As an employer, you will be aware of the options available to promote your vacancies.
The key to which ones will be the most effective is in understanding the ‘buying’ habits of your ideal candidates and where they are most likely to shop for a job.
But there is no quick fix. Rather, employers need to take a multi-pronged approach to their recruitment marketing, starting with the most obvious place – their own websites.
It is incredible to think that in today’s ultra competitive recruitment landscape, there remains a significant number of organisations who fail to maximize the opportunities to boost the potential of their own website.
By advertising each vacancy and having a dedicated area on the website focused on the culture of the organisation, potential candidates can get a feel for what life could be like if they too were to work there, and an insight into the possible opportunities for further career development.
Time and money – the two things that occupy front of mind for every hiring manager. When it comes to recruiting for your teams, the pressure is always on to reduce both the timeto- hire and cost-per hire.
The trouble is, with a depleted candidate pool many employers are struggling to find the talent they need. Cue: staffing agencies.
Because there are fewer people actively seeking new career opportunities, there is a shortage of available talent. This has seen demand for staffing agencies boom over the last couple of years.
Staffing agencies can tap into their extensive network of candidates that has been built up over several years to search, find and identify the right talent for the right role, at the right time.
Today’s job seekers use a multitude of format to get information on jobs, both online and offline. To catch their attention means ensuring that your recruitment advertising is in the relevant places, it also needs to be discoverable.
So, think about the key words candidates are likely to use when searching online and incorporate them into the copy of your job adverts. This, along with eyecatching graphics, can go a long way to ensuring that your job postings can reach a wider audience.
The Pew Research Center conducted research which found that around 1 in 3 (35%) job seekers use social media as part of their job search. One-fifth (22%) have applied for a vacancy via social media, with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn ranked as the top three platforms of choice in that order.
Job seekers are increasingly taking control of their careers and smartphone technology has evolved to such a degree that candidates can not only quickly and easily identify new career opportunities, they are formulating opinions on potential employers too.
Just as hiring managers search candidate profiles on social media when considering who to invite for interview has become the norm, the opposite applies to job seekers. They are checking you out online too, to see if you could be the right fit for them.
STAGE 6: Interview for Success
A decade has passed since employers were able to cherry pick the candidates they wanted and now the tables have turned.
Today, we have a -driven market and the war for talent is more intense than ever.
How you are perceived by the talent you wish to attract will be the difference between winning that war or ending up on the losing side. The biggest test of this will be come at the interview stage.
The need to eliminate unconscious bias in the hiring process is the challenge facing many employers. While blind resumés and newly emerging screening technologies are making great strides in this area, many of us still resort to our default position and place too much focus on academic . attainment when considering a candidate’s suitability But this could be damaging your chances of hiring success.
A study conducted by the University of Iowa found that employers have greater success rates when they shift their attention to the skills (both hard and soft) and experiences a candidate has that are relevant to the job in hand.
Hiring decisions made using these criteria lead to greater employee satisfaction, increased staff loyalty, higher productivity and superior job performance, according to the study.
Ask the right questions
As recruiters ourselves, with over 20 years’ industry experience, we understand the importance of asking candidates the right questions. They enable you to unearth potential talent and crucially, serve as a predictor of future performance – providing you ask the right questions of course.
It’s a matter of framing your questions in a way that encourage the candidate to think about what is being asked, while providing you with a golden opportunity to get to know their character.
– How would your colleagues describe you?
– What would your boss say about you?
– What do you like most about your current role?
– What attracted you to your current role and how does that differ now?
– What is your biggest achievement in your most recent position?
– Tell us about a challenge you may have faced in your current job and the steps you took to overcome it. What did that experience teach you?
– If a promotion came up in your department today, who would be favorite to get it?
– What have you done over the last 12 months that was above and beyond your job role?
– At the end of this interview, I want you to explain to me in less than a minute something that is complicated but you understand really well
STAGE 7: Hire fast!
If you think the hard part is over once the interviews have been completed, think again. The actions you take over the coming days will determine whether you land the candidate you think will be the best person for the job. Everything now comes down to two factors – time and detail.
Debrief with the hiring team
Before you go all gung-ho and start drafting the offer of employment to the candidate you want, check with everyone involved in the hiring process – a consensus of opinion is vital to ensuring a successful hire.
Get feedback on each candidate from those in HR, the ultimate line manager, their fellow team members who played a role in the interview process, and even the reception staff – the way the candidate conducted themselves with everyone they met can shed light on their true character.
Check for references
Anyone can write a great résumé or put on an impressive performance for an hour or two at interview, but can they do it consistently? The only way to find out is by asking their current or former employer.
Ask them to clarify the details of the role they hold/held, what they consider to be the candidates’ strengths and possible areas of weakness, and how they got on with the rest of the team.
The other employer may not provide you with all the answers, but sometimes their silence can speak volumes!
Tailor the compensation package
With all that you know of the candidate, does the salary on the table match what you think would be a good offer for your preferred candidate? If not, then consider revising it.
Candidates will typically be looking for a 10% raise on what they are presently earning, otherwise they’ll stick with where they are. However, if budget constraints mean you can’t move on the money side of things, look at how you might improve the overall benefits package – free medical insurance, subsidized gym membership, discounted parking…the list goes on.
Don’t hesitate…make the offer!
Various research has shown that around half of all employers report they have lost out on good candidates because they took too long to make an offer.
Similarly, estimates suggest it can cost employers as much as $350 for each day a role is left unfilled – few organisations can afford such a loss to their bottom line.
If you know who you want and are clear on what you can offer, don’t wait around to make your move or else you might find that another employer could gazump you.
Once the offer has been accepted, get everything in writing – formal offer letter, acceptance letter and employment contract signed. This works in both your favor.
For the candidate, they have the assurance of a great new job with your organisation and won’t be tempted by a counter offer from elsewhere, while you as the employer can rest assured that you have the right person lined up for the vacant role.
Your people are your organisation’s greatest asset, so it pays to ensure that you only recruit the best possible talent to fill your vacancies.
We know it’s not an easy thing to do, especially with so many of your competitors looking to attract the same great talent for their roles.
By following some of the tried and proven tips and insights shared in this article, you will be better placed to raise the profile of your organisation as an employer of choice. This will, by default, boost your chances of recruitment success.