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Recruiting in the Age of Well-Informed Job Candidates

image for fizkes/Shutterstock
fizkes/Shutterstock

Gone are the days when job candidates knew very little about potential employers before applying for an open position. Between websites, social media and review sites, job seekers have more information than ever about companies they are considering working for.

This breadth of information gives job seekers an advantage, causing job recruiters to take extra measures to recruit top talent in the age of well-informed candidates.

Although job seekers have previously been at the mercy of employers to pick the top candidates who fit their needs, the balance of power has shifted, leaving employers struggling to acquire and retain top talent. According to recent studies, there are currently 7.1 million job openings and only 6.2 million unemployed Americans to fill them. This is great for job seekers, but not so great for employers. [Need recruitment software? Our buyer's guide can help you choose a program.]

Yvonne Cowser Yancy, CEO of YSquare Advisors, said that recruitment should be a year-round continuous process, not only occurring when you have positions to fill. To become successful, organizations must develop talent pipelines for their most critical roles.

"To accomplish this goal, you must proactively engage in the recruitment space, leverage your social media platforms and interview great candidates whenever you meet them – regardless of current vacancies within your organization," Yancy told Business News Daily.  

She added that well-informed job candidates are consistently looking for an employer that is clear about its values and mission, and whose work environments reflect those values.

The job package you offer and the transparency with which you offer it are crucial in today's era of information-hungry candidates. Yancy said that well-informed candidates know their worth in the marketplace and expect the appropriate compensation.

"Organizations who want to win talent competitions must offer full compensation packages that accurately reflect a salary, benefits, and work experience that matches the level of candidate they want to attract and retain," she said.

When you advertise your job openings, Lisa Barrow, CEO of Kada Recruiting, recommends including more than just a list of requirements in your job descriptions, since top candidates want to know what's in it for them. In a recent ManpowerGroup Solutions survey, 63% of candidates listed a lack of transparency on salary or job description as the biggest factor in their decision not to take a job.

Be transparent in what you are offering to your candidates, and prepare to back up your offer if you intend to hire and retain top talent.

"Candidates are savvy, and talented professionals are always in demand, regardless of market circumstances," said Yancy. "If your work environment does not match the pitch made in recruitment, talented professionals will leave your organization."

According to Jordan Wan, founder and CEO of CloserIQ, candidates are much less likely to do business with a company that they have a poor job recruitment experience with. Since one of the first interactions a candidate has with your company will likely be your website, Wan said it is essential to remove friction from your site, including operations as seemingly trivial as non-mobile-friendly career pages and slow communication times.

Attempt to make the candidate's job application and recruiting process as seamless as possible. ManpowerGroup Solutions' survey said that 50% of all global candidates expect applying for a job to be as easy as making an online purchase. Long gone are the days of lengthy job applications and convoluted hiring processes. Whether it's with the implementation of a new app or the simple ease of access to your job opening, make sure it is tailored to your ideal candidate's desires.

"Using innovative new tech like AI to automate identifying and recruiting candidates, chatbots to provide quick communication, and other tools that smooth the process from resume to interview scheduling can give you a competitive edge when recruiting new candidates," said Wan.

As the use of social media increases and Gen Z candidates enter the workforce, it has become paramount for a business to have a social brand. Leveraging social media as a recruiting strategy – for example, branding and recruiting on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Glassdoor – is effective if done correctly. 

"Simply having a social media presence or posting an open role on multiple social media platforms will not generate positive outcomes in and of itself," said Yancy. "Social recruiting is most effective when it is a part of a larger proactive strategy where your organization is actively engaged on various platforms and leveraging tools to identify passive seekers while also promoting your brand organically."

Barrow said to engage with potential future candidates, even if your business doesn't have a current opening for them. This allows you to connect with them and establish your authenticity.  

"Social recruiting works because it opens up channels to people who might not necessarily consider themselves in the market for a job right now but can feel connected to the work your company is doing and want to be a part of it," said Barrow.

With unlimited information at everyone's fingertips, Barrow said that companies need to be aware of how they're portrayed not just to potential customers, but to potential candidates as well. To do this, you need to create and monitor your employer brand online. 

Monitor the conversations happening about your company, whether they are through Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, blog posts or job boards. Barrow also recommends performing a Google search on your company every so often to see what's being presented to candidates. If you have negative press or reviews, don't ignore it. Respond as quickly and professionally as possible.  

"Many sites like Glassdoor give you the opportunity to address criticism, and candidates appreciate transparency and want to see that you're always trying to improve," said Barrow. "Use blog posts to tell your story, [and] encourage your current employees to do the same."

Your current employees are a key factor in your company's continued success. If you treat them well, they are likely to spread the good word and help you seek top talent. In addition to treating them well, share the great work they are doing with your community.

"In your social channels, you should weave in interest stories about what your employees are doing and how they're contributing to the success of your company," said Barrow. "Creating videos on what a day in the life looks like is a great way to give a flavor of what it means to work with you."

Using your current employees as a recruiting strategy can be very successful. However, the key is to be authentic.

Barrow said candidates engage with your brand well before you engage with them. To implement a successful recruiting strategy, think about your candidates as consumers, and vice versa. Barrow said to keep both audiences in mind, since your employment brand stretches beyond your qualified candidates.

According to ManpowerGroup Solutions' survey, 54% of candidates said a negative recruitment experience made them less likely to buy a company's product or service. This means that haphazard and outdated recruiting techniques can cost you consumers as well.

Since employees are the most important (and typically most expensive) asset an organization has, Yancy said to make the appropriate investments in a support structure designed to hire and retain top talent within your organization.

"You will either pay on the front end of the recruitment process by sourcing in-demand talent, or you will pay on the back end of the process by navigating talent that was a poor fit for your organization," she said. "Smart organizations choose to invest on the front end."

Skye Schooley

Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. After receiving a business communication degree from Arizona State University, she spent nearly three years living in four states and backpacking through 16 countries. During her travels, Skye began her blog, which you can find at www.skyeschooley.com. She finally settled down in the northeast, writing for Business.com and Business News Daily. She primarily contributes articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviews remote PC access software and collection agencies.