At one point in 2021, there were over 21 million jobs available but only 8 million people looking for a job. Many employers were left scratching their heads, trying to figure out why so few people were applying for their jobs. And just when it seemed the gap was closing, more than 21 million workers quit their jobs over a 4 month period in the second half of the year.
While the quit rate pace might slow in 2022, it won’t stop. The economy will still be growing and employers will still be hiring to fill newly created positions and replace employees who quit or retired.
Employee recruitment has never been more important than it is right now. Qualified workers aren’t desperate for a job anymore, especially the skilled ones. They have options. They want to work somewhere they’ll enjoy the work, feel appreciated, and experience the most sought after benefit of all: flexibility.
Traditional approaches to talent acquisition have been upended leading to a scramble, maybe even a free-for-all, to revamp tired and ineffective hiring practices. The labor market that entered the pandemic tunnel is very different from the one that is coming out.
When you’re looking to keep employees and hire more people, a little creativity and a lot of innovating goes a long way. It’s time to adjust and experiment with novel recruitment and retention strategies.
Keep reading, and we’ll walk you through 9 employee recruitment tips many companies don’t know about and how they might help you win the war for talent and shut the doors on The Great Resignation.
1. Figure Out What You Need
The first thing most employers do when there is a new job opening is order HR to post the job. Here’s the first tip – don’t do it! Before you post that job on Indeed or Ziprecruiter or your favorite job board, set realistic expectations. It’s a tight market. Post and pray doesn’t work anymore. Most qualified people are already working, aren’t interested in changing jobs, or prefer to sit on the sidelines waiting for a more desirable opportunity. Don’t post a generic shopping list of skills and responsibilities (aka the job description) and expect to find that purple unicorn. Focus on what skills you absolutely need. What are the bare minimum years of education and experience you really need? Where might candidates with these skills and abilities be “hiding?” I’m not suggesting you lower the bar to hire anyone who can “fog a mirror” but be realistic. Credential creep became epidemic when labor was abundant. With labor in scarce supply, you can’t afford to exclude qualified, but maybe less educated and less experienced, candidates from applying.
You might also need to prioritize which jobs get the most attention. Some jobs might be essential for day-to-day operations. Without ‘butts in seats,” you can’t produce goods or deliver services. Other jobs might remain vacant a bit longer without significant impact. Focus your energy on the most essential jobs when time and resources are limited.
2. Figure Out Why People Leave
Filling open jobs is only part of a recruiter’s job in this post-pandemic world. With The Great Resignation in full swing, it’s important to determine why people keep leaving. If you have a department with a high turnover rate, figure out why. Is it the manager, the hours, the pay? Are you attracting the right people for your culture? How effective is your onboarding? When you fix the problem that makes people want to leave, you take the pressure off the recruiters and hiring managers allowing them to focus on other unfilled roles.
And don’t forget that sometimes the most qualified candidates already work for you. Employees value companies they can grow at. When a management position or even another lateral change is available, consider promoting or moving someone within your company before you look for a stranger. Opportunity often lies within lateral moves too. Rather than risk your front-line employee leaving for a dollar more, explore opportunities to cross-train them.
3. Take Advantage of Social Media
Fish where the fish are! On average, people spend 144 minutes on social media globally. So why not use social media for recruitment? A successful social media campaign can attract followers and build a community. Get people interested in working for your company. Showcase what a worker’s day is like should they choose to work for your company. Tell your story. Share how you help the community. Why do your most tenured employees stay with you? Have a few employees share their stories. Get your employees involved. They can be your best advocates.
This isn’t the old days when job seekers took their time reading through pages and pages of classified ads. People scroll fast, so it’s important to create a message, image, or video that grabs their attention. But remember candidates don’t go to social media to be sold. Social media is about nurture marketing. People will engage only if they are entertained and/or trust you. Once engaged, they might be more open to learning what you do, working with you or know others who might be interested.
Make sure the post fits with your brand too. Posts that come across as blant advertising and desparate might attract a few more applicants but not the right ones.
4. Respect Candidate Time
The number one reason candidates withdraw from the recruiting process, according to The Talent Board, is because their time was disrespected. The second reason? The hiring process took too long.
One of the best recruitment tips is then to make sure you acknowledge all candidates quickly and engage with the qualified ones as fast as possible. In today’s market, a qualified candidate can be snapped up by a competitor within hours or the candidate might lose interest. Even if rejected, a candidate appreciates a rapid response. This might be enough to prompt a referral to a friend or even a compliment on the candidate’s social media feed. Every company’s goal should be to prevent candidate disappointment from turning into candidate resentment.
Attempting to find the purple unicorn candidate is a worthy goal and requires due diligence. But it doesn’t give you permission to waste anyone’s time. When you take too long, odds are stacked against the employer these days. While not ideal, even automated email or text replies work. While the technology might seem to be a cold, corporate approach, it doesn’t preclude you from writing warm and welcoming messages. Show some respect. Answer quickly and personally. Don’t blame the technology – it’s just the messenger.
While it might be impossible to shorten the recruiting process, there is one possible fix – tell the candidate right up front how long the process might take. You might even include your timeline in your job posting. Set clear expectations from the first engagement. Then communicate with candidates under consideration frequently, even if nothing more than to let them know they’re still in the running.
5. Have A People-Focused Interview Process
Did you know that changing a job creates as much stress as the death of a close friend? Hiring managers typically dislike interviewing candidates as much as job seekers too. So another excellent idea to improve your recruitment success would be to not make the interview feel like an interrogation.
Being more candidate-friendly doesn’t mean the interview has to be easy. But it does need to acknowledge that candidates can be stressful. Respect the process. Respect the candidate. Be prepared. Give your candidate your full attention. No phone calls, texting, and eating lunch – unless of course taking the candidate to lunch or for coffee is the plan. Create a setting that invites a conversation where the candidate is comfortable and willing to share their background, goals, and expectations.
While the most reliable interviews take place when all parties are comfortable, remember that a job interview is an assessment, subject to the same job relevant criteria as a pre-employment test. Make sure the answers you ask focus on job-specific requirements, not personal interests. Sharing stories about hobbies or your college might help break down communication barriers, but common interests shouldn’t impact your employee screening and selection ability. Prepare questions that relate to the job, the team, and the company culture. Stick to situational questions whenever possible.
Asking the right questions is the easy part of screening. Observation and listening to the candidate is what’s most important. Too often hiring managers and recruiters are looking for the right answers. The well-trained candidate can get these from a quick Google search and just regurgitate them back to you. Observate the candidate’s body language. Listen to the words they use. What is the tone they use? Are they loud or soft-spoken, stiff or relaxed? What questions energized them and which ones made them uneasy. Their reactions and responses will reveal a lot more about how they will approach problems and people on the job than their ability to tell you what you want to hear.
6. Share A Story, Not Your Job Description
While some candidates might seek you out, the typical path to employment begins with an announcement. Most organizations don’t have the magnetic talent attraction that Google and Apple does.
This announcement for most organizations takes the form of a job post on the company’s website or career board. The old adage that “you get what you ask for” holds true for job posting too. The clearer your job posting, the more likely you’ll attract more qualified candidates.
A standard HR practice has been to copy and paste the job description. If there is one tip you can immediately implement after reading this article, stop copying and pasting! Job descriptions are internal documents, blueprints, spec sheets for a job. You don’t see your local Home Depot, Lowes, or IKEA showcasing the instruction manual in the aisles and on their websites. Instead they display what shoppers want to see: the desks, shelves, and cabinets. Job seekers don’t want to read your job descriptions either but that’s exactly how most jobs are marketed – companies post the job “instructions” when candidates want to feel the experience of working for you.
To start this journey, walk in the shoes of the job seeker and consider what questions they might have. What are their concerns? Describe what it will be like to work for your company. How will they be managed? What’s the culture like? What will the first day and week feel like? Remember how I mentioned earlier how stressful changing a job can be? Here’s another opportunity to remove the FCDD – Frustration, Confusion, Disappointment, and Distraction – from job search and recruitment.
7. Spell SEO!
You must, you must, you must … optimize your job postings. Make sure your job posts are search engine optimized (SEO). That is just one more reason to not use job descriptions. They aren’t written for digital marketing and consequently, the job boards and search engines like Google will bury them on page 10, well beyond the sight and patience of a job seeker.
You’ve probably heard the saying, that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Alternatively, a video is worth 1,000,000 words. (I’m not kidding. Look it up.) Videos and images of employees on the job are excellent recruitment marketing tools. Search engines and job boards love them because they get and hold the attention of candidates.
And one more thing. Don’t forget to include your annual or hourly salary and benefits. I know that this specific recruitment tip will likely cause your managers’ heads to explode but the salary is one of the things job seekers want to know. Google, Indeed, and other search engines know that too as they focus on the user experience. They know job seekers favor job posts that include salary. Consequently, these job boards favor jobs that include salary and benefits. If you want your job post to show up before the competition, don’t post it without at least some compensation range.
8. Seek Out Passive Candidates
The Great Resignation indicates a lot of people are itching to change jobs. But not everyone who is considering a change is actively doing it. Some people are content in their current job but ready to jump ship whenever an opportunity sparks their interest and offers a better opportunity. They aren’t willing to give up their paycheck or risk sending out their resumes and having their boss find out. But it doesn’t stop them from shopping for jobs while still employed. They do it when convenient – maybe after a bad day of work, while watching their kids play ball, or sitting in a doctor’s office. You just have to be there at the moment they’re ready.
Reaching passive candidates requires outreach. Instead of coming to you, you have to go to them. Send them a personal message on LinkedIn. Include a video or audio to get their attention. If you have a mutual connection, reach out to the connection and ask for an introduction.
9. Use Pre-Employment Testing
No matter how effective your marketing campaign, you’re likely to attract unqualified candidates and job hoppers. Recruiting top talent takes time which is scarce right now. And with so many job opportunities out there, you can’t afford to ignore the good ones while you’re chasing down the less qualified.
One sure-fire way to identify your next superstar quickly and weed out the others is by using pre-employment testing. These employee assessment tests not only assess job fit, but team fit and culture fit too. While many tests offer a hire or not hire recommendation, a better approach is to use the results to improve your interviewing success. Many pre-employment tests include recommended behavioral interview questions and focus on any vulnerabltilites and risks that might present after hiring. Consider pre-employment testing to be an owner’s manual for employees!
Employee tests can include personality tests, job fit, emotional intelligence, office skills, and leadership competence or potential. Some tests can be offered to current employees too to assess and guide the potential for improvement.
Take Advantage of These Employee Recruitment Tips Today
The forecast for the years leading up to 2030 shows no sign that labor shortages will go away. To grow and attract enough candidates going forward will require at least an improved recruitment marketing strategy and hiring process. The employee recruitment tips recommended above are all proven ways to attract more of the right candidates for your open jobs. Creating an optimal candidate experience, applying proven digital marketing strategies to recruitment, focusing on the talent you have, using pre-employment tests to fast-track and improve your hiring success, and creating an engaging company narrative are all ways you can expand access to access and your talent pipeline.