Rethinking the Way We Recruit
To capture the attention of potential candidates, recruiters and hiring managers need to change how they connect with them.
By Joe Weinlick
Run a job search on any job site. Or just use Google. Out of millions of jobs, you'll easily find hundreds that may or may not be a match for you. But, whether you are a match or not, you can quickly submit your resume to any of them. And millions of job seekers do, every day. Countless resumes, quickly submitted to countless jobs.
What's easy to forget in all of this are the actual people: Job seekers, desperately in need of a job, or unhappy and looking for something new; recruiters, challenged to fill critical roles so that the business can grow and succeed. Instead, we have clicks and algorithms and applicant tracking systems. And job seekers spending too little time crafting a strategy to land the job they want. And employers spending too little time crafting a strategy to reach the candidates they want.
Market forecasters report the U.S. economy will continue creating nearly 175,000 new jobs every month through the end of 2017. As a result of the national job market's steady growth, hiring managers feel the pressure to find even more candidates to fill even more openings. Competition among employers to secure the best and the brightest across industry sectors will continue heating up. While HR professionals are working tirelessly to secure the best candidates in this talent acquisition battle royale, many are spinning their wheels and missing the mark when it comes to attracting the right applicants and standing out from other companies. Why?
While employers and talent have adopted the tools of the digital age, it's resulted in more noise in the already crowded job-market space. All employers are posting online and all job seekers are searching for jobs online. But with millions of postings to comb through and career websites flooding candidates' inboxes with emails on new openings, it's difficult for one opportunity -- or company -- to stand out.
Now more than ever, hiring professionals need to revisit and rethink current recruiting best practices. To successfully attract and secure the right candidates, recruiters need to adjust their methodology to meet job seekers -- active and inactive -- where they are.
According to SHRM, nearly 68 percent of HR professionals report experiencing difficulty when recruiting for full-time jobs, and outdated hiring techniques certainly contribute to that struggle. One of the largest roadblocks recruitment professionals face is that the traditional tools they're paying to utilize are no longer conducive to an effective hiring strategy and fail to capture the attention of job seekers.
This problem is amplified when you consider just how slim the population of "active" job seekers is. According to a national study conducted by Nexxt, only 14 percent of respondents are proactively looking for and pursuing new career opportunities. Traditional job advertising focuses on this relatively small audience, and misses the opportunity to attract the substantially larger pool of passive candidates (39 percent of respondents), categorized as talent that isn't actively seeking a new role and doesn't necessarily need to change jobs, but would if the right opportunity became available.
Recruiters must also combat the saturation of the job market. Given the sheer number of new positions becoming available each day -- especially in expanding fields, like information-technology and construction -- a job seeker's attention can be difficult to hold, making it a challenge for recruiters to successfully showcase what their organization has to offer and engage the potential candidate long enough for her to apply.
Reimagine Your Resources
Companies of all sizes can benefit from taking a step back and reimagining how current practices are impacting their hiring success. To capture the attention of potential candidates, hiring directors and recruiters need to change how they connect with job seekers through available channels:
Text messages cut through the clutter to make sure job seekers don't miss your message. Leveraging one of the most popular communication channels is a great way for HR professionals to engage with active and inactive job seekers alike. While an advertisement or email can be easy to ignore, a text message isn't -- recruiters can stand out from the competition and target a select audience for open positions, starting up a more direct dialogue with potential candidates. Not only does this allow recruiters to meet talent where they are (on their phones), but 73 percent of job seekers say they want to receive targeted jobs via text messaging.
Retargeting ads ensure your employer brand is top of mind. Searching online is still the first step job seekers take when it comes to exploring new a career opportunity. Because of this, marketing openings with your company online is still crucial -- and retargeting can bring your online presence to the next level. Every organization, from insurance companies to shoe stores, use retargeting to "follow" webpage visitors through the internet -- recruiters should do the same. Once a job seeker views a career posting, retargeting will allow advertisements for the posting to pop up on other websites they visit, serving as a reminder to the job seeker to apply for the position. But it doesn't just remind and reinforce -- the ads also attract new potential candidates by targeting people who "look like" the job seekers who've already expressed interest in the role.
Better job descriptions convince the right candidates to pursue your opportunity. When it comes to crafting job posts, less is more. This might seem obvious, yet hiring managers are still writing and posting job descriptions that are overly comprehensive, far-too-specific, don't clearly state what they are looking for, and overall miss the mark when it comes to attracting candidates. Instead of listing every desirable quality your company would like in an applicant, focus on developing a concise description identifying the one or two key traits your company is looking for in your next hire. A brief and direct description will catch the eye of a job seeker and allow recruiters to find an applicant who brings just what they need to the team.
We're not saying completely ditch your current strategy -- by all means, keep posting job advertisements. Most major job boards today even broaden the exposure for recruiters, placing the advertisements beyond their site onto more niche, industry-specific pages. We simply want to encourage recruiters to keep in mind that the job market's growth opens the door to exploring new methods. Tapping into state-of-the-art recruitment capabilities can help to ease the tension around hiring for HR professionals.
By taking a step back, HR teams will be able to develop new best practices -- cutting down on time, money and inefficiencies. Doing this will allow recruiters to attract, connect with and hire the perfect candidates for your company.
After all, the goal is to work smarter -- not harder.
Joe Weinlick is senior vice president for marketing at Nexxt. Joe, who has a degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania, hopes to one day write a book titled The Great American Novel (just so he can say he wrote it) and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma.