Building a great team is high on the priority list for nearly every company. But employers no longer have the upper hand when hiring. Today's most talented professionals have their choice, with companies fighting for their attention and services. Attracting that talent to your organization is a challenge that must be met head-on, in innovative ways.
The key is selling potential employees on the benefits of working with you. This makes recruiting almost a marketing effort, and in truth, the best recruiting techniques have their roots in the most effective marketing tactics. Here's how to recruit the best of the best in a job market that favors the candidate.
Take advantage of social media
Social media profiles have become standard tools for researching and evaluating talent. Instead of looking only at candidates' résumés, thoroughly vet them by looking at their LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media profiles.
"Candidates' social media profiles [can highlight] personal experiences and interests that tie into professional lives and skills, and may show the person is a perfect fit," said Pete Kazanjy, founder of Modern Sales Salon and recruiter search engine TalentBin. "[Depending] on the type of job you're recruiting for, make sure you're looking at the right social networking sites to find candidates who may be off your radar."
Kazanjy noted that engaging with potential candidates on social media can be to your advantage, regardless of whether they are interested in the position you're offering right now.
"Although the person may be content where they are now, you never know what the future has in store," he said. "Engaging with candidates on their personal profiles allows you to form a relationship."
Don't forget to have an active social presence as an employer, too. Beyond just posting job openings and interacting with candidates, post snippets about good things happening to and for the workforce in your organization. Get current employees to participate by joining in on the conversation, shooting short workplace videos and generally spreading the word about the beneficial features of working there.
Your social media channels can also serve as a great place to showcase your corporate mission, which can help hook like-minded candidates.
"People want to think they're doing something meaningful and valuable," said Charley Polachi, managing partner of Polachi Access Executive Search. "They want to change the world one day at a time. [A great] company mission will align with candidates' own personal values." [Red Flags Smart Job Interviewers Watch Out For]
Editor's Note: Considering outsourcing your company's HR responsibilities? If you're looking for information to help you choose the human resources service that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, Buyer Zone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
Market your compensation package (beyond salary)
Money is important, but it's not the only thing top talent wants. They want a work environment that challenges them, allows for innovation, makes work fun but also provides work-life balance. This could mean paid time off (PTO), the ability to work from home, time to volunteer in their communities or the ability to take unpaid leave to pursue interests, to name a few.
Personal finance writer Kevin Mulligan said your company needs to create an employee value proposition (EVP) to use as a selling point with candidates. This should describe what sets your organization apart and why people should want to work there.
"The more attractive your EVP is, the more likely you will be attracting the cream of the crop to your company," Mulligan wrote in a BusinessDictionary article.
Optimize for mobile
One of the best ways to draw candidates in is a mobile-friendly hiring process. Dr. John Sullivan, a Silicon Valley-based author and HR expert, said that more than 43 percent of job seekers use their mobile phones in their job searches.
"That number will continue to rise until the mobile phone is dominant in recruiting," he wrote in an article on EREMedia.com.
To that end, your app or website should allow candidates to accept offers, hold live video interviews, complete referral tasks and self-schedule interviews. For retention purposes, you can also build in functions for new employees: an interactive employee handbook, benefit registration, access to PTO balances and more.
Expand your search area
Even just a decade ago, it might have seemed like a distant dream to have full-time, off-site employees with the same exact technological capabilities as workers in the office. Today, advancements in cloud computing and videoconferencing have opened the doors to hiring remote staff members, so recruiters are no longer limited to candidates in close geographic proximity to the company's headquarters.
"If your company is located in a competitive hiring market, you'd be better off searching for top talent in a less competitive area," said Anthony Smith, founder and CEO of CRM software company Insightly. "Technology allows for smooth collaboration and communication no matter where employees are located, so you don't need to lose out on experts in your field because of where your company is based."
Increase your hiring speed
This goes back to the workforce's "immediate" expectations. Top talent will move quickly, because it is in high demand. Be ahead of the curve by investigating ways to speed up your hiring process while still demanding high-quality candidates reach a high standard.
"Others may view your slow hiring as a mirror of the speed in which you make business decisions, and drop out because they expect faster decision making," Sullivan wrote.
You can speed up hiring by prioritizing hires for revenue-generating or key positions, surveying past candidates for their perception of what worked and what didn't, and identifying other unnecessary delays that seem to be common in each vacancy-fulfillment effort.
Use existing employees to market your company
Sometimes the best way to attract a candidate to your organization is to show off the people he or she will join there. Taso Du Val, founder and CEO of global tech industry network Toptal, advised highlighting your company's existing talent during the recruiting process.
"Talented individuals want to work with top talent, so showcasing the all-stars already on your team can help validate why other high-quality candidates should hop on board," Du Val said.
You can also use your current employees as a recruiting tool by sharing their positive testimonials with prospective candidates.
"Ask employees why they like working for your company," said Sandy Mazur, president of staffing firm Spherion. "When you're vetting talent, share some of the feedback and anecdotes that your workers shared with you, as those may resonate with candidates and attract them to the job."
This article was originally published in 2014 and was updated Feb. 16, 2016. Additional reporting by Marci Martin.