- With labor in high demand, businesses must have a recruitment strategy if they want to attract top talent.
- Building your brand can attract a higher number of new job candidates. Glassdoor reports that 84% of job seekers say a business's reputation is important.
- Diversity in the workplace starts with inclusivity in the recruitment process. Take practical steps to remove unintentional bias, such as reading resumes blind or using AI to review applications.
Business recruiting today is not the same as it was a few years ago. The traditional recruitment tools businesses once used are taking a back seat in this current candidate-driven market.
With no shortage of quality opportunities for job seekers, you'll need a strong recruitment strategy to build an engaged workforce that will give your business a competitive advantage.
A strategic plan of action is critical to properly fulfill the staffing needs and desires of your business, leading to new business growth. To find and retain potential candidates, your business should focus on several proven elements in its recruitment process:
- Developing a hiring strategy
- Promoting your employer brand
- Landing passive candidates
- Integrating diversity and inclusion
- Taking advantage of applicant tracking software
Zuraida Curtis, employment law editor at XpertHR, believes good recruitment strategies help with not only employee morale and overall happiness, but also retention. By keeping employees engaged, she said, businesses can avoid undergoing frequent recruitment processes.
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1. Create a strong recruitment strategy.
Curtis advises businesses looking to create a good recruitment strategy for growth to follow these tips.
- Analyze. Take a close look at your business needs as well as your goals and objectives.
- Identify. Know your long-term plans for expansion or reduction in staff, critical roles in the business, and any gaps that need to be filled. Be on the lookout for seasonal fluctuations in staffing requirements.
- Determine. Figure out the best recruitment method for your business. Job searches via social media are increasing, for example, so you could use this method to target candidates with specific skill sets.
- Secure. Provide a competitive salary and opportunities for personal growth within your business. According to a Citation survey, 13% of employers said salary is the most important factor in retaining employees.
- Establish. Choose and implement a method to measure results and test whether your strategy is working. Establish a training budget to develop and enhance your employees' skills and knowledge.
Knowing what not to do when creating a recruitment HR strategy is almost as important as knowing what to do. As a business owner looking for new hires, you should not be vague about what the job requires. Curtis said to write a detailed job description that's clear about the required skills and experience and what the job entails, including hours of work and responsibilities.
"Try to avoid hiring on gut instinct," Curtis said. "Have a structured hiring process with an effective interview process. Verify qualifications through the interview process and complete background checks such as references."
2. Promote a cohesive image of your brand.
Your employer branding should portray the identity, personality and working culture of your business. This helps candidates see why they should choose you over a competitor, and it creates a positive sense of loyalty with the business.
Justin Terch, a senior HR advisor and managing partner at Terch & Associates Consulting, says employer branding involves telling a compelling story that gives potential job candidates a mental vision of themselves successfully working in the position you are hiring for.
"The best employer brands create this vision even in the absence of immediate position openings," Terch said. "An effective employer brand can significantly increase the quality and quantity of an organization's applicant pool."
You should actively manage your social media profiles so potential candidates can get additional information about your business. Platforms such as Indeed, Monster and LinkedIn help connect the candidate and the business, leading to valuable user engagement. According to a 2018 U.S. site survey on Glassdoor, 83% of job seekers are likely to research company reviews and ratings when deciding where to apply. Additionally, 84% of job seekers say the reputation of a company as an employer is important.
Consistently building your employer brand by providing a positive candidate experience can increase the likelihood of quality candidates applying to your business and being fully invested in what your business is about.
Gargi Rajan, head of HR at Mettl, said it's essential for businesses today to provide excellent candidate experiences and be punctual and communicative throughout the recruitment process.
"Continuously building an employer brand by giving [an] excellent candidate experience to people whether or not they are finally selected, being punctual and on time with regards to responding to calls and emails, and creating enough excitement about a new opportunity by way of some inside news about the organizational culture or how you are preparing for their joining date, and so on can really make a candidate feel important and valued," she said.
Rajan believes an employer has a leg up on the competition when job candidates take an interest in its brand and research the career pages on its website. "They must get an inkling of what the role requires to create enough excitement and anticipation to join your brand – and they must feel they want to be a part of your brand to be successful in their career and to grow in the future," she added.
3. Recruit passive candidates.
Passive candidates are professionals who are not actively searching for a new job and are generally satisfied with their current position. However, some of these candidates would make a career move if the opportunity is better than what they have currently.
According to Rajan, there are two valuable ways a business can recruit passive candidates:
- Keep a close eye on passive employees. The best employees aren't usually out of work for a long time. Prepare a watchlist of passive candidates for the times when you might need to approach them. Having passive candidates in the pipeline allows you to fill any positions needed, especially when you need to hire quickly.
- Employ an efficient persuasion strategy. With the current talent crunch, it's essential to know, understand and devise a persuasion strategy. This is not a short-term goal; it is a well-thought, long-term and adaptive strategy to differentiate your current offers from others – not just in monetary compensation terms, but in broad planning and investment in the role, challenges, policies, perks, brand building, the culture of meritocracy, growth prospects and work profile.
Passive candidates keep their options open. While they may not be actively seeking employment, they will engage at a much higher rate when a recruiter presents a brand or business that reflects their values.
4. Develop a diverse workplace.
Diversity and inclusion in your business will help your team to mirror what the real world looks like outside – various ages, shapes, sizes, genders, religions, backgrounds and experiences. The first step is to portray how your business embraces inclusivity by ensuring diversity is more than a goal – it's a reality.
Sue Andrews, an HR and business consultant at KIS Finance, believes you need to demonstrate the steps your company has taken to ensure your workforce reflects the community around you.
"Practical steps, such as reviewing job adverts and job descriptions, need to be taken to ensure that the language used is inclusive and doesn't unintentionally deter certain groups of applicants," she said. "For example, using overly 'masculine' language and terms can put off female applicants. You also need to target wide and inclusive sources of applicants."
To meet diversity goals, it is important for businesses to avoid unintentional bias during the recruiting process. Andrews suggests using processes like blind resume readings, where personal information is removed for the purposes of selection. "Similarly, using AI to review applications via an application tracking system can help to remove the risk of human bias in the recruitment process." [Read related article: Can Artificial Intelligence Solve Your Bias Problem?]
Businesses need to decide what their idea of a diverse and inclusive workforce looks like. This will give you a way to measure your success.
Despite the increasing attention to diversity, many companies still need to invest in basic measures that most HR representatives agree with, such as antidiscrimination policies, formal training to mitigate biases and removal of bias from promotion decisions.
A 2018 study by the Boston Consulting Group reported that most companies have invested in diversity programs but employees in diverse groups are not benefiting from these efforts. Specifically, 96% to 98% of those surveyed said their company has a diversity program in place, with 21% to 28% saying they have personally benefited from the diversity program.
5. Use an applicant tracking system.
Applicant tracking software (ATS) helps analyze candidates and searches for any flaws in the hiring process. It filters candidates according to hiring needs and makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to view an applicant's performance. The software can't make wise decisions about who to hire, but it simplifies relevant keywords in a resume, aligning candidates with your business's needs and wants.
"They allow numerous resumes to be collected, assessed and stored in a time-efficient way, saving hiring managers hours of manual sifting," Andrews said of ATS programs. "They also enable you to build up a database of resumes that you can tap into in the future if the need arises."
With automatic rankings, you can compare resumes against your job description. The software then forwards the resumes with the highest matches to the next stage.
"The attraction of this type of function is that recruiters can then focus on those applications that are a good match for the role, as it weeds out speculative and unsuitable applications," Andrews said.
ATS is a powerful solution to coordinate the candidate pipeline and ensure quality candidates are not lost in the shuffle.
A strong business recruitment strategy requires a lot of time and attention to detail. Top talent wants to work for companies with the best reputations. The brand and mission you put out to the world will drive what types of talent and personalities you reel in to work for you.
You can search that top talent more quickly with applicant tracking software and social media, but nothing is ever guaranteed with software. The candidate experience is the critical factor throughout the recruiting process – if a candidate likes you, they will apply and likely accept the job. Engaging your candidates closely for long periods is key to create a top-notch recruitment experience.
Additional reporting by Jennifer Post. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.