One of the greatest challenges facing every business is recruitment. You need to recruit good, loyal, skilled, and effective employees, but so does every other business out there. You’re competing not just with businesses in your niche, but with businesses that have the same roles in their organizational chart. A talented IT developer, a skilled salesperson, or an effective manager will have their pick of organizations.
How can you make your business the one they want to work for? It comes down in part to your compensation and benefits, in part to your brand reputation and the work you do, and in part to how effective your recruiting strategies are.
Recruiting strategies are plans of action, methods you can use to attract top-quality candidates, filter out the cream of the crop, and hire the best possible candidate to fill that role. These strategies can range from the simple to the complex, so we’re going to cover as many as we can here today.
Let’s get started!
Establish Metrics and Monitoring
Whatever system you use for recruitment, whether it’s an ad hoc combination of spreadsheets and documents or an advanced applicant tracking system, you need to monitor key performance metrics. Metrics and data are important for making good decisions. Understand what is currently working, what isn’t working, and what can be improved.
A good ATS will have metric monitoring built-in to their system, but you may need to configure it, and you certainly need to make sure you’re reading the reports it generates. For more manual systems, you’ll need to determine which metrics are important, how to monitor them objectively, and how to improve upon them.
Invest in Tools to Expand Possibilities
There is a wide range of tools available to you as part of a recruitment campaign.
Consider investing in any of these:
- A solid applicant tracking platform to oversee your entire recruitment process.
- A video interview platform for more personalized interview processes.
- A skills testing platform to analyze candidate skills objectively.
- An onboarding program to reduce turnover by assisting new employees.
The HR and hiring ecosystem abounds with services, tools, and platforms available to any company with the budget to implement them. Determine which sorts of tools would have the biggest impact on your existing processes, and find the best tool to fit the bill.
Optimize a Careers Page
Interested candidates will check your website for career information. Creating a compelling careers page, even if you tend to process your applications through a third-party service, is essential.
“Whether or not you want to create one, candidates expect to find a careers page on your website. All of your competitors are doing it, and if you don’t, you’ll never be able to stand out from the herd.”
Your careers page should provide, at minimum, information that reflects your employer’s brand. It can promote your company, your cultural and social impact, your company mission and goals, your culture, your benefits, and more.
Consider your company from the perspective of a candidate. What matters to them? What do they consider important, and what information can you give them to help facilitate that decision? Consider details such as:
- Awards your company, your teams, your employees, or your products are winning.
- Percentages that reflect the diversity of your teams, such as % female employees, or % BIPOC employees.
- Benefits of working for your company, such as upward mobility.
- Tangible impact your company is making on the world around you, such as assisting with food scarcity, homelessness, green energy, or another social project of concern to your candidates.
All of this reflects who your company is at its heart.
Provide an FAQ
Candidates will often have specific questions about your company, your open roles, or your culture. Questions like “do you have internships available”, “do you have remote work positions available”, and “what feedback can I expect upon submitting my application” are all common.
Good companies have ready answers to these questions and more, but great companies provide those answers before the questions are asked. As part of your careers page, it can be worthwhile to create a Frequently Asked Questions page with those questions and their answers.
It’s important to recognize that this is a living document. Answers can change from time to time, but more importantly, you should monitor candidate questions and identify common threads to summarize as entries in your FAQ. Your goal is not to eliminate candidate questions, but rather to drill down into more personalized concerns, as the general questions have already been answered.
Implement an Employee Referral Program
Some of the best candidates you’ll find are already connected to your company, even if you don’t know it.
“Great people usually make a habit of surrounding themselves with other highly capable professionals. While many employees may already be sharing open roles with qualified contacts in their networks, a well-developed employee referral program can encourage even more of your employees to refer the best talent they know.”
Incentivize your existing employees to recommend the skilled people they know. Not only does this get you easy access to high-quality candidates, but it also helps reduce turnover. New hires are less likely to leave when they have a connection inside the company. Social contact is important, as is the social pressure of not disappointing a friend by leaving an opportunity they reached out to offer.
Incentives for an employee referral program can vary, but should always be something that rewards both the referrer and the candidate. Bonuses are a common choice, but they are not the only choice.
Keep Old Candidates Fresh
In many instances, you will have hundreds or thousands of applications for an open role, but only hire one or two people for the job. What happens to the rest of the candidates who ultimately aren’t hired? They seek positions elsewhere.
A great source of potentially excellent new hires is this old candidate pool. The people who were in the running for the role, but who didn’t make it to the end of the hiring process, can still be excellent employees. When a role opens up that fits the candidate, reach out to them to see if they’re still interested. You can connect with high-quality passive candidates in this manner, and bring in highly engaged employees who may have had to settle for a second choice earlier and will be happy for the new opportunity.
Find Niche Job Boards
Everyone knows about the large job boards, such as Indeed, Monster, and CareerBuilder. What you should consider is looking into a roster of smaller niche job boards for specific kinds of roles.
- Archinect is a board dedicated to architects.
- Energy Jobline is a network for jobs in the energy sector.
- FlexJobs exists for remote workers exclusively.
- K12JobSpot is an excellent board for education roles.
Every industry and many specific roles have industry-specific job boards. Look for niche boards that you fit into, either because of the industry your company is in, or the specific roles you have open. You can often find excellent, dedicated candidates in these job boards who you wouldn’t find in the more generalized networks.
Provide Internal Mobility
We as a culture are slowly moving out of an era of low or no mobility internal to a company. For years now, employees have been jumping ship for career progress, so much so that many employee advice guides recommend it. When there’s no internal way to improve your career, you look elsewhere.
Thus, a good employer should look for internal candidates before looking for external candidates. Upward mobility is a powerful motivator for both existing employees and potential new hires. People want to have long-lasting careers where they can grow, and offering them the opportunity is a powerful motivator.
Note that some industries and roles have mandatory policies for listing jobs externally and internally, to find the best candidate. Make sure to follow regulations above and beyond the tips we give you.
Digital HR Tech says this:
“Hiring internally when and where possible is, naturally, a great way to save time and money. The hiring costs and risks are (a lot) lower, your ‘new’ hire already knows the company which means they’ll be operational and productive faster. Companies that hire internally are 32% more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their new hires.”
Sometimes these individuals present themselves to you, and other times you’ll have to look a bit deeper into your team to spot opportunities for advancement. It’s something that should be handled delicately as well – if you have team members who have been with your company for longer and who also desire advancement, promoting somebody else could breed resentment within your company.
Don’t Neglect Diversity
Diversity isn’t just a buzzword to use in your ad copy, and it’s not there just to score “woke points” with certain demographics. A diverse team has tangible benefits, and studies repeatedly show that companies with diverse workforces have better financial outcomes, stronger ethics, better performance, greater productivity, and more innovative ideas.
A lot goes into hiring for diversity. You need to audit your entire hiring process, from your employer brand to your job postings to your interview process, to remove biases and roadblocks, reach out to broader demographics, and encourage more diverse applications. This summary is a good place to start and get your company on the right track.
Every business process older than a few months ends up bogged down with assumptions. The hiring process is no different. Things are done the way they are because that’s how they’ve always been done, and whoever decided to do them that way must have had a good reason, right?
The truth is, many institutional decisions are made on the fly, or out of convenience, and may not be the best option. Many of these decisions may have been made with data to back them up, but they could be old enough that the data has changed. For a prime example, look at the difference in recruiting strategies between Millennials and Gen Z candidates. Though closely related, they have different specialties, different concerns, and different focuses.
Any assumption you’re making as part of your hiring process should be questioned, studied, and backed up with data. Make it an annual process to question and verify your process, audit with new data, and make adjustments as necessary.
Attend Industry Events
Though many events have been put on hold due to the pandemic, as the world opens back up, these events will return in full force.
Trade shows, industry events, speaking engagements, hiring events; all of these should be considered opportunities to:
- Show off your brand, particularly with new adjustments made in response to the pandemic.
- Attract new candidates and connections with others in your industry and related industries.
- Network with potentially interested candidates or other opportunities.
- Explore new avenues and technologies in use by competitors in your field.
Whether you’re attending with the explicit goal of attracting applicants, or you’re just looking to position your brand as a leader in your industry, these events are almost universally good to attend.
Don’t Neglect Marketing Channels
There are many channels that you can use in the modern day to advertising a job listing. While you may be focused on your in-house careers page, your social media outreach, and your marketing towards passive candidates, don’t neglect more traditional avenues.
For example, using billboards, signage, and mailers can still be good ways to broaden a candidate pool. For every campaign you run on Snapchat or Whatsapp, consider a campaign on the radio or through print channels. New technology rarely replaces the old technology entirely; it simply gives you another channel that you can take advantage of.
There is an endless array of avenues you can use to broaden, deepen, optimize, and improve your recruitment process. Whether it means hiring a recruiter, expanding your horizons with new technologies, bolstering your data monitoring and reporting, or simply adopting new platforms to centralize your decision-making, every business can stand to improve.
The key, above all else, is to set goals. Understand your current position and your current processes, audit them, and figure out how to improve. Set SMART goals and work to attain them. Only then can you truly see not just the flaws in your current processes, but the tangible effect of the changes you make.
What strategies have worked best for your company? Did we miss anything? Please let us know in the comments section below! We respond to every constructive comment and would love to hear your thoughts.
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.