Recruiting employees has typically been limited to posting jobs and asking for referrals. But intense competition for talent has forced companies to up their game. This article lists 7 questions every business needs to ask itself.

1. Why would an employee want to work for you? If your answer is “we pay well,” just stop here. This article won’t help you. While compensation still reigns supreme as a magnet for talent, top talent is seeking more than just money. For that matter all employees want more than a paycheck. Qualified candidates from all generations still want traditional perks such as health care and retirement benefits. But many also want telecommuting and flexible schedules too, especially Millennials as well as Baby Boomers. Millennials want to work for companies that are aligned with the community and encourage opportunities to volunteer. Millennials ultimately want to feel a sense of purpose, a connection to the company strategy.

Confused recruiter2. Have you identified the best sources (where is top talent hanging out)?  Not too long ago, a recruiter could select a single outlet such as the local newspaper, online job board, or trade association and expect an ample supply of qualified applicants. But advertising an open position isn’t what it used to be. Today, the labor market is fragmented. Top talent has many options confirmed by a recent study that revealed job seekers use 18 different sources when searching for a job. That’s troublesome for employers especially those who still practice recruiting like they did in the industrial age. It’s essential that employers use multiple sources and focus on the ones that work best for each job. One stop job posting is dead.

3. Is your job posting optimized? Search engine optimization (SEO), once the coveted tool for marketing, is now an essential skill that recruiters and HR needs. Without good SEO, job postings won’t be seen. Each job posting is the equivalent of a company product landing page. Leading job seekers to your posting requires the strategic use of the right keywords. If job seekers use job titles or other key words that the employer doesn’t, candidates will end up at the competitor’s door. Optimization nowadays goes beyond SEO too. Over 90 percent of job search reportedly starts on a mobile device. It also ends there if a company’s career site and application process is not mobile optimized.

4. Are you actively building communities of talent using social media? Different surveys suggest that between 50 and 80 percent of job seekers use social media to find a new job. Social media is a great place to publicize job openings. But many organizations are either slow to adopt or even forbid employees to engage in social media activity. They clearly don’t understand that social media is really word on mouth on steroids…and word of mouth referrals still remain the number of source of top talent. For many reasons, building online communities of customers, employees, and potential candidates using social media is a must-do strategy. Companies that build they networks will be the winners. And in the war for talent, the winners will reap the riches of top talent.

5. What is your content strategy? The first step in building a community is engaging your target audience with content they find interesting and helpful. The content must consider the age, demographics, locations, and even the persona of the potential job seeker. Content might include news about the company and company events. Various social platforms are available including Facebook and LinkedIn as well as blogs and newsletters. Do not assume one-size-fits-all. The inclusion of videos and photos is better than text alone. And job alerts via text messaging have moved from nice-to-have to must-have as part of a recruitment strategy. Hashtags too help more candidates find you. Don’t forget to turn employees into brand ambassadors. Imagine the combined reach of your employees through their networks if they promote your company, your job postings, and news.

6. What is your follow-up strategy? There is no way to alienate a job seeker more than ignoring them after they apply. Admittedly not every candidate is a good fit. But any candidate may lead you to someone who is. Unfortunately employers often underestimate how much of an impact a poor candidate experience can have. The candidate experience has gotten so frustrating that many potential employees refer to the online job search as a “black hole of silence.” In a world where disappointed candidates can send their negative experience viral with a few keystrokes, it’s time for employers to stop mimicking the three wise monkeys who don’t see, don’t hear and don’t listen. First impressions count! Any recruitment strategy should consider how they connect with potential job seekers and when and how often they will interact with them.

7. What metrics are important for you? No saying reflects the state of recruiting more than, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Without setting baseline measurements for what will determine the success or failure of recruitment, ROI will be elusive. The best recruitment strategy should be to put the right job posting before the right audience at the right time for the lowest cost. Without metrics it’s impossible to pin down “right” anything. It’s time that HR nails down metrics such as cost per hire, time to hire, cost per applicant, application to hire, applicant quality, and many more. Knowing which analytics to measure must be on management’s dashboard of KPIs.