Welcome to recruiting in 2019, one of the most competitive, unpredictable and complex years for talent acquisition (TA). As we approach full employment, hiring organisations must be smarter and more strategic in their approach to engaging new talent to ensure successful recruiting outcomes. Skills shortages are consistently one of the key factors that CEO’s say keeps them awake at night.
Winners in TA recognise three essential elements to successful hiring. It’s about i) having the ability to research and find valuable skills, ii) possessing the credibility to engage and bring that talent to the table and iii) being able to influence and negotiate complex processes to mutually beneficial outcomes.
From our work with many leading indigenous and global firms throughout 2018, we’ve put together 10 TA hacks to grow your recruiting success in 2019. Steps that will ensure your organisation is at the head of a candidate’s preferred list. None of these require any additional investment and all can be immediately implemented. They simply require a different way of looking at TA tactics.
1. Create a Shared & Robust Focus
Before you hire, complete a robust but simple needs analysis. Use a SWOT style grid, putting ‘Must Haves’ at the top of the vertical bar and ‘Nice to Haves’ at the bottom. Add ‘Can be Trained’ to the left of the horizontal bar and ‘Cannot be Trained’ to the right. HR and Line Managers complete a robust exercise together, placing all hiring requirements in an agreed box, including hard and soft skills. Nailing this before a search ensures candidates are not lost to indecision during a process. Achieve the hiring goal by driving for the top right box only.
2. Articulate Purpose
Take a look at what is not happening in your organisation today because this role is vacant or underperforming. Write down the most important task that cannot occur or challenges that cannot be addressed if a candidate is not recruited. This is the role ‘Purpose’, which should be shared with all candidates and stakeholders. Not only does it help to focus your search, but it is a powerful and compelling reason for talent to choose your firm. Every candidate wants to feel that the impact they can have is important and that it matters.
3. Be Speedbump Ready
Process delays are never a positive experience for a candidate. Make sure your TA partner is aware of any speed bumps that might arise, it is their responsibility to carefully manage the expectation and engagement of candidates of interest. If hiring directly, share with the candidate at first interview where this might be the case. If the unexpected arises, communicate quickly with the candidate, give fair explanation, offer an expected date for the next stage and keep in touch. Organisations that move quickly and efficiently through their processes win hearts and minds. Talent abhors a vacuum.
4. Qualify Your Prospect
Good recruiters use counter questioning to ensure a role is right for a candidate and the candidate is right for the organisation. This means asking a detailed list of questions that probe why a candidate will accept an offer, not just whether they would. It means developing a deep understanding of why a candidate is interested in a position and not just if they are. Why a new role is better than their current one, analysing role scope, command and reporting lines. This might seem obvious and the differences may seem small, but many in house and professional recruiters under pressure to deliver, skate through these. When consistently asked, the outcome is entirely different and key to enduring hires. Candidates are often advised not to ask about money at the first meeting. We do it in detail before shortlisting. If you are hiring directly, ask for current salary in full, their bonus, how it is calculated and what it has paid out at, the value of all benefits, the date a candidate is next for review and what they expect the response of their current organisation will be if they hand in their notice. All at first round interview.
5. Be Social
TA strategies must include considerable social media planning and activity with a consistent message across a wide range of platforms. Run a series of online searches on your organisation. What words come to mind when you see the results? Are they terms you want associated with your business? Are the messages consistent across all platforms; LinkedIn, Facebook, twitter, Glassdoor, Instagram, Google+ and Xing? Develop a content marketing plan which draws on your current employee’s experiences, give passive talent a glimpse of life in your organisation. Consider what your website says to future employees and how easy it is to access current vacancies at locations relevant to them. What else can they learn about your organisation to engage them? 100% of candidates coming for interview with you will investigate your firm using online sources.
6. Develop A Dashboard
Most firms use basic hiring metrics, but few fully leverage data to drive TA activity and maximise the value of their resources. Effective dashboards report the source of hires, the experiences of hires during your assessment processes, the value of hires and growth in your future talent pool / pipeline through social engagement. Start by looking back at current employees for patterns in people according to their performance levels. Where did they work previously? When did they join? Who was their first line manager? From there look at Time to Hire, number and quality of applicants in each process, Cost per Hire, Performance and Retention of Hire and the basis for any offer refusal by a candidate. Conduct simple surveys of candidates while they wait for their first meeting about your employer branding and their application experience with your firm. Run diversity analysis to ensure unconscious bias does not slip in to your assessment phases. By responding to the trends the data surfaces, you can really improve your TA effectiveness.
7. Moments of Truth
Organisations make significant investment in developing employer brands and then spoil it by not even monitoring candidate experience. The opinions your current employees and candidates hold actually determines the success of your TA, as they will share these encounters with those whom you seek to engage with. There are five moments of truth in a candidate’s experience: 1. The first point of contact on a vacancy (the detailed manner in how your TA partner approaches a target or when an active candidate first sees an advertisement and applies directly to your firm) 2. The candidate’s experience when they seek out more about you online. 3. The seniority of the people from your organisation with whom they meet at first interview 4. Your interest in their personal needs, career growth, understanding and ability to meet any flexibility needs and 5. The timeliness of the recruiting process, including sharing accurate feedback and closure. Great experiences cost nothing but care.
8. Pick a Partner
Some hiring organisations have counterintuitive relationships with their TA firms, believing the more recruiters involved, the wider the talent net. However, this drives the opposite outcome, leading to a reduction in the expertise level of the designated consultant and ultimately the quality of results. Equally, Line Managers in some companies stay out of initial briefings to save their time, when in fact this can distort understanding of the need and increase time spent assessing unsuitable talent. Narrow down your suppliers and demand specific evidence of previous delivery in your area of need. Seek references from other clients as to their capability and ask to see examples of their candidate attraction and candidate/process management tools. Focus on building service value rather than deciding on cost alone. The lower the latter, the lower the return on employee investment. If TA is important to your organisation, meet with your recruiter at the beginning of the relationship, during the process for a detailed activity report and at the end of process to review your experience. For mid to senior level roles, use research backed solutions only, top talent is not searching for you, your TA partner must search for them.
Including compensation and all other factors, the number one driver of engagement for new hires and your current employees is how your firm shows respect for talent. Every piece of research undertaken on employee engagement returns this statistic across all professions. Respect is a direct to bottom-line factor. A lack of it costs you money in retention compensation, counter offering, turnover / training and lost candidate opportunity. During your assessment processes, demonstrate how your firm shows its respect for employees giving tangible evidence and examples, as well as respect for the community through social and environmental activism. This is a key influencer in a candidate’s decision about which organisation to join.
10. Be Mobile
Passive and active job seekers are more likely to learn about your career opportunities on a smartphone than any other device or platform. Make sure that your candidate application process is a mobile friendly experience. Review all your vacancy access points on a mobile and ensure your call-to-action is in the right place and easy to use on a smaller screen. Consider options such as apply with LinkedIn or a “send me more” button which enables a passive candidate to show initial curiosity and gain more detail without having to commit to an application. Once they submit their email address and give permission for you to communicate on such issues, they at least become part of a possible future talent pool. Ensure that social share buttons, twitter, WhatsApp, email etc., are easy to access as nearly a fifth of candidates hear about a role through a friend or family member.
The field of talent acquisition is continuously changing, becoming more competitive and growing in complexity. The workforce is younger, more assured, tech savvy and curious. Organisations relying on traditional methods of recruiting or recruitment supplier management are simply not getting to hire the best talent. Their roles are staying open too long. Those that are innovating, building new partnerships and deploying new attraction methods are achieving great results. As with all other aspects of your organisation, the key is to stay ahead of your competition for talent.