In a roaring economy, the fight for talented resources is fiercer than ever before. And in industries like finance, technology, marketing and healthcare, the competitive landscape means that candidates are being pursued by a diverse array of traditional recruiters, corporate recruiters and innovative start-ups. The result is a market that requires talent, patience and expertise to maneuver.
Here are some of the top trends that companies are using to identify and retain talent
1. Understand the market and act with a Candidate-focused mindset first
In other words, recognize that the job market currently belongs to candidates and that successful recruiting efforts will be focused around presenting opportunities in a way that goes well beyond simply matching keywords. Selling values and culture is an important part of this trend (more on that below) but it also means rethinking the way in which work is accomplished and how we communicate with prospective job seekers.
In many cases, hiring managers need to make decisions more quickly than before. Candidates are often pursued by multiple opportunities and recruiters, so streamlining the entire hiring process can be the difference between getting the prized recruit or losing them to the competition. Being flexible about how work is done, by supporting remote work and/or flexible time schedules are other ways of differentiating job opportunities to candidates who are considering multiple offers.
It also helps to ask candidates up-front on how they are most comfortable communicating. While email and phone calls are the default for more senior, seasoned candidates, Millennials and younger tend to want to communicate via text instead. Catering to the communication style of the candidate is another example of meeting our prospective employees where they are.
2. Focus on the recruiting experience from a candidate’s perspective
Using technology is a great way to standardize CVs, resumes and job descriptions, but it can also create an experience for recruits that is very focused on filling out forms, matching keywords and answering the same question over and over. Streamlining job listings and making the application process more efficient will allow candidates to express their interest more quickly. Time is of the essence for job seekers and employers alike, so consider how to become more efficient in every single interaction point.
Smart recruiters borrow the best principles of user experience and apply them to recruiting. Delivering a great web site that has powerful content, a comprehensive social media plan that meets candidates where they are and funneling them into a compelling interview process are all examples of how to engage with candidates in a way that caters to their needs.
3. Sell values and culture
Fundamentally, people want meaning from their jobs and that meaning is often defined in the values and culture of the company. Defining what you stand for – and more importantly, explaining how the job you are seeking to fill directly connects to serving your mission is a powerful way to attach meaning to almost any job function or role.
Selling culture and soft benefits – dog-friendly workplaces, team happy hours, kitchens stocked with food and beverage choices, off-site team activities – is another way to demonstrate the culture and values that your organization prides itself on. Coupled with traditional benefits like investing in training, conferences and certifications, this can demonstrate to employees that you value them and are willing to invest in their success.
4. Manage digital tools effectively
It’s no secret that technology powers almost all aspects of recruiting and it’s important to truly understand the full landscape of web sites, social channels and apps that are focused on connecting employees to job opportunities. It’s incredibly important to be aware of and to manage your organization’s social platform and reputation – candidates especially will look at your (and your hiring company’s) Glassdoor and Indeed reviews. Know what they say and message accordingly.
Get to know how to use and exploit LinkedIn. This advice is equally applicable to job seekers, employers and employees because the core components are relevant. Job seekers should focus on their profile pages while organizations should optimize their profile pages to promote the right messaging. Sponsoring and contributing content to LinkedIn Groups is a powerful way for both companies and job seekers to connect with opportunities while also showcasing their own content, opinions and viewpoints.
5. Double down on the fundamentals
Don’t forget the tried-and-true techniques. Just because we are inundated with technology doesn’t mean that the opportunity to use the fundamentals that make human communication successful is obviated. Use your social skills to follow up with your top performers and leverage them to refer and recommend quality candidates. This is one of the most effective ways to tap passive candidates, as well. Be systematic about following up with your top-performing placements and invest time with them to maintain the relationships.