Recruiting Strategies that Attract Talented Jobseekers

© Shutterstock.com | Jacob Lund

Many companies seem to approach their recruitment processes with a prejudiced view: they are the ones offering a job, so they are the ones with all the power. They call all the shots, and the jobseekers have to be the one to stay on their toes. In short, the jobseekers should be the one to impress them, and their role is to simply sit back, watch and observe, and make their choice on who to hire.

But some hiring companies are much smarter than that. They know that recruitment does not merely involve telling the world and sundry that you have an open position, and wait for the applications to pour in.

Let’s have a brief recap of the recruitment process: the first thing that a company does is to perform a job analysis, resulting in a solid job description to base their advertisement and screening processes on. When that is done, they have to get to work in sourcing talent, where they hope to attract the best talents, or jobseekers with the highest qualifications and skills. When the applications have come in, screening of the applicants will commence, through examinations, tests and interviews. Depending on the company and its need, a series of tests and interviews will be conducted until they are left with a handful of applicants to choose from. The cream of the crop, or so they call it.

From the shortlist, the hiring and recruitment managers will finally make their selection, make a formal job offer to the selected candidate and, once the latter accepts, induct and introduce him into the organization as a new employee.

Let us backtrack to the second phase of the recruitment process, or the sourcing of talents. Of course, every company would want to hire the best person for the job, but this is easier said than done. The company needs to put in some work in order to attract the talented jobseekers, instead of simply waiting for them to come in.

Now what about the large companies such as Google and Apple? They seem to attract the top candidates without much effort at all. While it may seem that they are not doing anything, they actually have strategies that they have put in place since the beginning.

It is a reality that the most brilliant minds, or those with a lot of talent, will also want to work or be employed in a company that meets their exacting standards. This is why companies also have to adapt recruiting strategies in order to ensure that they attract the talented and skilled jobseekers.

RECRUITMENT STRATEGIES AND TRENDS TO FOLLOW

Make sure your company offers good products and services

Surprised? You may think that this has nothing to do with recruitment, but you would be wrong. Compare Apple and another lesser known company (let us call it Company B) that also offers the same products and services. Company B still has not been able to come up with a product that resonated well with the market, and even had to field complaints on quality and performance. When the two companies had open positions, Company B offers a significantly higher salary and more benefits than Apple. But guess which company will receive more applications, especially from the top candidates?

If your answer is Apple, you would be correct. This is because Apple is known for its quality products and services, even paving the way for other companies (including Company B). Even if the pay is lesser, the fact that Apple has a history of releasing quality products makes it the more appealing employer prospect.

Pay attention to your company’s branding as an employer

Yes, organizations should also maintain a strong, “best-in-class employment brand”. In a study conducted by CareerBuilder, it was proven that organizations with strong employer brands are able to attract 3 to 4 more applicants for each job posting than one with a weak branding. This is for the simple reason that talented jobseekers are more drawn to companies that are known for being good employers, and have strong recruitment and employment practices. In another survey by Glassdoor, it was revealed the 69% of candidates will not be interested to work for a company with a bad reputation as an employer (or a recruiter), not even if they are unemployed.

Make sure you have a well-crafted employer value proposition.

 

Clear mission and vision.

You can start by having a clear mission and vision, and sharing your values regarding employee culture. You will find that some companies even include employee facts and stories in their websites. They make use of images, graphics, videos and other content to attract potential jobseekers into checking them out and considering them as a potential employer.

Cultivating an “employees first” attitude is a sure-fire way of hiring and keeping the top talent within the company. If emphasis is placed on having respect for employees and their welfare, then it will make the company into one that anyone (and everyone) would want to work in.

Be transparent with applicants.

Some companies hold out specific information, such as the salary of the position. Let us face it: people look for jobs to earn money. Talented jobseekers know they are talented and skilled, and would naturally want a job that will pay them adequately and handsomely for it. If the company withholds information regarding the salary or pay, it will likely turn applicants away.

Think carefully through the complete recruitment process.

Your employer branding will also be affected by how you reject candidates and provide feedback. This is a problem for most companies: once they have made their selection and a position has been filled, they entirely forget about the other candidates or, even if they do, how they deliver their messages of rejection leave nothing to be desired. This will, predictably, have a negative impact on the employer’s brand as an employer.

Make sure that, after the recruitment process is done and the best candidate has been selected, feedback is duly provided to those who were not chosen. Not only is this a way to protect the company’s reputation, it is also a basic form of human courtesy.

Respect the fact that applicants have time, too.

Scheduling tests and interviews, and cancelling, especially on the last minute, may come across as blatant disrespect for their time, even if it is not the intention of the company or the recruiters.

Do not make them wait too long during interviews, because this will only make it appear as if you are showing them who has the upper hand in the situation, letting them become nervous and agitated with the wait.

Regulate the speed of your hiring.

You do not have to necessarily speed up the hiring process, since they may lead you to overlook some important aspects. However, you should make sure that the pace is not sluggish.

Let us say that the job posting was made on January. You only started screening applicants on March, and commenced the initial interviews on April. That’s a four-month waiting period for the jobseekers, and the top talents are not likely to halt everything in order to wait for you to move the recruitment process along. By the time you get around to interviewing them, the top candidates would have already been hired by the competition.

This will also reflect badly on your employmer brand, making your company appear disinterested in actually filling up the open position.

Make sure that your company is worth working for.

And we are not just talking about giving competitive salaries and generous bonuses and incentives. Yes, people work primarily to earn money, but there are other considerations that are taken into account, especially by the top candidates, when considering which company to work for. They include:

  • Work environment: Is the workplace highly functional? Will the employee be working with a strong and united team of people? Are there safety precautions in place? Is the workplace attractive enough? Generally, people would want to work in a place that looks nice, orderly, and welcoming. They want a place they can be comfortable in, especially if they are going to spend the better part of the day in it. Therefore, you have to take into account factors such as exterior and interior design, ventilation, lighting, and layout. An engineer will not want to work in a company with a factory known to have poor facilities resulting to high rates of workplace injuries and accidents. One way for the company to lift its image in the eyes of prospective jobseekers is to provide a good working environment – one that is safe and conducive to working.
  • Quality of management: Naturally, jobseekers would want to know who they will work for, or who their superiors will be. If the company proves itself to have effective management in place, then it will have higher chance of attracting top talents for its open positions.
  • Opportunities for professional growth and development: Top candidates aren’t the best in their fields for nothing. They are the ones who are most keen on looking for ways to advance themselves. Of course, they would not want to stay with a company that will leave them in one corner, to rot and stagnate. Companies with excellent professional development programs for their employees are the most attractive prospects for jobseekers. Not only does this mean that they care about their employees, it is also an opportunity given to the employees to become better, preparing them for the next steps in their career paths.
  • Rewards and recognition: Employees getting compensation for work or services rendered is their right. They are entitled with their basic pay and other benefits. But rewards and recognition do not come only in the form of cash and additional perks such as trips, vacation days, housing and auto benefits. Words of praise, commendations, public recognitions… these also work well in boosting an employee’s self-esteem and motivation. A potential jobseeker will definitely be more attracted to a company that obviously values its employees (and their accomplishments) highly.

An interesting perspective on recruitment strategies and balancing hiring the right talent and putting them in performance optimized environments.

 

Make sure you hire the best recruiting staff

It will take talented recruiters or hiring managers to attract and eventually hire top talent. When a company has its in-house recruitment team within its human resources department, then there is a need for that team to be composed of people who are also talented at what they do, which is recruitment. If the company decides to outsource their recruiting and acquires the services of a third-party recruiting agency or recruiting professionals, then it should also make it a point to choose those who are known to be excellent at their jobs.

Following the principle of “like attracting like”, top talent will also attract top talent. Talented jobseekers will feel more motivated in applying for an open position with the knowledge that the process will be handled by reputable recruiters. They will feel more at ease that they will be given fair and equal treatment throughout the process.

On the other hand, talented jobseekers are likely to avoid having to interact with recruiters that are known to do their jobs haphazardly. For them, it would simply be a waste of their time, so they will look elsewhere for employment prospects.

But it should not end at hiring. Members of the in-house recruiting team should also undergo continuous learning and development on any area related to recruitment. In fact, they should also have more than basic knowledge of the various functions of the jobs within the organization, so they will be in better position to carry out the recruitment processes.

Use a user-friendly application systems and process

Jobseekers, especially those who are not employed or are currently between jobs, do not really fancy themselves having a lot of free time. More often than not, they will feel more pressured to find the job of their dreams, so they will try to avoid those that will waste their time, or take up too much of it.

Let us say, for example, that a company makes postings for an open position, inviting interested applicants to send their initial intention to apply by filling up a form on their company website. The candidate visits the website, but then it turns out that, in order for him to view the job posting, he has to register for an account. So he does exactly that: he signs up for an account, then waits for half a day for a confirmation email to be sent, notifying him that he can now log in to the website using his account.

Then he views the job posting, and there is a link to the application portal. He clicks on it, and is directed to a series of pages with questions that he must answer regarding his personal information, education, work experience, skills and other qualifications. It ended up being an in-depth personality test, and it takes an applicant 45 minutes to an hour to accomplish all forms before he could click Submit.

For a jobseeker without a lot of time on his hands, this long and arduous process will be a major turn-off, and he may decide to stop halfway through and decide not to apply for the job after all.

Make sure that the process will be relatively easy for the applicants. Do not make them jump through hoops – and at the initial stages of their application, to boot! Maybe you can let them upload copies of their resume instead of letting them fill out half a dozen online forms. Or you could revisit the questions, keeping in mind that you are only getting their application, and not yet conducting assessment tests.

You should also keep a close eye on the technical side of things, especially if you are accepting primarily online applications. There may be technical problems that are encountered by the applicants at specific stages. If these persist and remain uncorrected, they are likely to take their applications elsewhere.

Leverage technology

It is time to put technology to good use, and you will be surprised at how useful it will be for your recruitment programs.

Use social media, and use it well.

According to Barbara Mitchell, HRM consultant and author of “The Big Book of HR”, social media has affected the recruitment playing field by accomplishing what traditional job advertisements failed to do: attract passive jobseekers. Passive jobseekers are those candidates who are not actively looking for a job, primarily because they are already employed and are not motivated to look elsewhere for another job.

With social media becoming an active platform for job postings, even passive candidates are becoming interested in applying for jobs. Similarly, many jobseekers are also visiting social media pages to research on various companies, and when they like what they see, they are more likely to apply for the open jobs once they are advertised.

Some companies also make it a policy to maintain their own social media profiles in various platforms to keep people informed of any of their job postings. Some of the most leveraged social media platforms include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Do not forget that social media utilization works both ways: use it so that your candidates can find you, and use it to find the best candidates.

Go mobile.

So you have your own company website and even successfully established your presence in social media. In this day and age, where mobile recruiting is starting to gain traction, consider becoming more mobile.

Consider the fact that more and more jobseekers are also active in using their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. This will increase your reach and will make your company more accessible to the candidates. If there are new jobs open, the updates may be made instantly via the mobile devices.

Interaction will also be greatly facilitated. The company may use the mobile platform to provide immediate feedback to applicants regarding their application.

Learn more about why mobile recruitment is gaining traction.

 

Do not hesitate to embrace digital.

These days, it is no longer a new concept for candidates to be interviewed over the internet, through a video call. These video interviews are actually fast replacing the traditional phone calls.

Recruiters prefer this method, actually, since it will give them a more personal atmosphere during the interview, without the interviewer and the interviewee being physically present in the same room.

Obtain good ratings from accredited companies.

You will need reinforcement for your good and clean reputation as an organization and as an employer. Here, you can enlist the help of review sites and groups such as Glassdoor and Better Business Bureau.

Naturally, you’d have to make sure that you, indeed, have a good reputation before aiming for good reviews from these sites and bodies.

Ask for help from your employees

This is another highly suggested method of attracting passive jobseekers. If there is an open position in your company, let your current employees know about the job and the need to fill it. Then inquire if they know of anyone who meets the qualifications and skills required in the job.

Chances are high that at least one or two of them know of someone.

Your employees are in the best and unique position of being a spokesperson of the company – not only of its products and services, but also of its corporate culture and employment practices. The public is more likely to believe the words that come out of an employee’s mouth on how the company is as an employer, over the words that were crafted by a professional copywriter or advertiser to market the company. Therefore, you have to make sure you engage your employees and involve them in the recruitment process as well.

Many companies implement these employee referral programs where the employees are asked for recommendations or suggestions on potential candidates for open positions, and give them incentives or rewards once their referrals work out and the company is able to fill those positions.

Through these referrals, you will have higher assurance of getting the best candidates. Naturally, the employees will not risk recommending someone whom they know is mediocre or will not be able to deliver on the job that is being filled. Since they will also be rewarded for bringing a talented or skilled employee on board, then they will be motivated to recommend well.

Another advantage of these employee referral programs is cost savings. It is seen as one of the more efficient forms of advertising jobs, because the company does not have to pay costs of advertising or posting; the employees will take care of it for them. They may even encourage their employees to make postings about the open positions on their respective social media accounts.

Use a targeted approach for the candidates

On the job description

Often, the message is the problem. When sending out a message about the job position, keep in mind that you are not just talking to a group of people; instead, you are talking to the person who will fill the open position. Thus, you have to craft a targeted message to that person.

The job descriptions have to be clear, easy to understand, and contain all the specifics about the job. There is no way you will attract top candidates if you fill your job descriptions with too many jargon, rendering them incomprehensible and ambiguous.

Say, for example, that the open position is a job in the finance department. The posting should speak the finance language, something that the person who has the skills and qualifications for the job will easily understand. If you are looking for a graphic designer, the job posting should make that absolutely clear and specific.

What if you take the easy way out and talk in general terms, thinking that this will hit a hundred birds with one stone? This will be less effective, since it will seem more generic. By using a targeted message, you will be able to make the jobseeker feel like you are talking to him personally, inviting him to apply for the position that you have open.

Learn how to write an effective job description.

 

On the culture

In the context of a multinational company, where the recruiters are looking to fill open positions in various countries, there is an even greater need to craft targeted messages to potential applicants.

People all over the world are largely shaped by the culture in the country they live in. You cannot expect an American IT professional to have the same response as that of an Indian IT professional to the same job posting for an IT position, especially if it was crafted specifically with the American applicant in mind. In the same way, if the message is meant for an IT professional working in New Delhi, it might not get the same response from the IT professional based in Silicon Valley.

And it is not just the language. A candidate from a well-developed economy such as the United States will have different motivations and career goals from that of a candidate in an Arab country. Thus, you have to make sure that the job description and the job posting, as a whole, will appeal to the candidate that you have in mind.

Be innovative in your postings

Encourage candidates to show their innovation and creativity. A method adapted by several companies is to stage a competition where the participants will have a potential to be employed with the company. This is a tactic usually used by companies that are in web and mobile development. They make an announcement about a certain design contest, and the winners will also get a position in the company.

Certainly, this is an effective way to ensure that the person hired is the best among the pool of candidates.

RECRUITMENT MISTAKES TO AVOID

We have covered the strategies that you should implement if you want to attract the talented jobseekers into applying to your company. Looking at the other end of the spectrum, what are the  practices that should be avoided?

Starting the recruitment process with a job posting.

If you go back to previous discussions on the recruitment process, you will notice that advertising a job or creating a simple job posting is not the first step. You see, the danger with jumping straight to posting about a recently vacated position is that the posting may be exactly the same as the previous one, without taking into account intervening circumstances and changes that took place since then. Trust me, there is bound to be at least one change that must be applied to keep the posting updated.

This is why we stress once again the importance of performing a job analysis, whether it is for a newly created open position or a recently vacated one.

Sticking to what you are used to, even when you know it is no longer working.

At some point, your process may become stagnant. It may no longer be current, and you have observed that the quality of candidates applying for your company’s open positions is declining. You are no longer satisfied with what these applicants bring to the table.

It is clear that the processes you have been applying in your recruitment programs since the company started its operations say, ten or twenty years ago, are no longer working. But you refuse to change anything or applying radical shifts to correct this. In all likelihood, it may be due to fear and apprehension about trying something new. However, you will never really know if changing things up will actually change anything or make anything better unless you try it.

Treating every job recruitment in the same manner

If the company is advertising multiple open positions at one time, there is the chance that the job postings will be made uniformly, without taking into account the differences in the jobs. Some jobs may be critical than others, or have more stringent requirements than the other positions. One job may even require more tests or interviews than the other openings.

Again, this is why job analysis prior to making any posting is important for each of the open positions. This is so you can identify those that have more requirements than others. It will also help the company to prioritize, giving more attention to the more critical jobs so they will be filled up before the other less critical ones.

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