3 Things HR Should Tell the Business about Recruiting — Right Now!!

You really can’t blame them for not knowing. It’s difficult enough to keep up with a rapidly changing business environment, so how can executives in your company possibly be aware that recruitment has changed beyond recognition?

Yet, it’s your duty not just to hire for them, but to keep them bang up-to-date about what they can do to attract the best talent in the new hiring landscape.

But it’s confusing.  There are all sorts of new recruiting services which offer things like candidate auctions, CV aggregation, and ‘data first, CV second’ searches.  Where the heck do you start?

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Well, this is where I come in.  And to help you structure your next presentation to your company,  I’ve identified three major changes in recruitment and what you need to do to secure the best talent.

1) Job ads don’t work

Back in the day, the time between a hiring manager posting a job and receiving resumes used to be days.  The ad would run in a paper, candidates would see it, thoughtfully craft a resume and pop it in the post.  Now that same process takes minutes, if not seconds.

As a result, there is no ‘friction’ to apply for a job – so candidates go for jobs they aren’t qualified for or in countries for which they don’t have a visa.

The unhappy result is a mountain-sized pile of applications, most of which are of no use to the business and a total waste of time for HR and the hiring manager to sort through.

A typical response to alleviate the pain has been to write even more detailed requirements in your job descriptions, use an applicant tracking systems (ATS) or even outsource CV processing altogether.  But none of these ‘solutions’ address the core issue.  You are still drawing from the same pool of candidates and not optimizing your hiring.

What the business should do

Recruit differently.  Stop wasting your time perfecting job ads and spend time locating new channels to communicate with potential candidates.

Your company’s Facebook page, LinkedIn Group, or even Twitter feed are all places where you can build a community of people interested in your organization.  You can become a beacon for the type of person you want to attract.

Then when a vacancy comes up you have an eager audience that already understands your company and your industry.  And they will get the word out to the people you will want to hire.

Alternatively, target your recruiting.  Search for candidates and encourage them to apply.   Most recruiters already use LinkedIn to source, but there are new platforms which provide candidate data that’s unavailable elsewhere.

However, once you find the candidates this way – you may well run into the next problem.

2) Candidates don’t respond to emails

In the not-too-distant past, getting an email was a novelty and people spent their time reading, sorting and replying to whatever came into their inbox.

Those days are long gone.  Over 70% of emails are classified as spam and services such as Gmail even filters out emails that candidates have subscribed to.  The percentage of emails which are even opened (AKA the ‘open rate’) is estimated to be 28.5%.

So, even if you have a list of excellent candidates, how can you get them to reply to unsolicited emails?

Many businesses respond to lower open rates by playing the numbers game and emailing the same message to more candidates.  But is this really the best way?

What the business should do

A smarter approach would be an HR-led initiative to engage with candidates who are interested in your business, and develop relationships using social media.  Something as simple as responding to Facebook comments or replying to Tweets using a company account can get this started.

And it doesn’t matter whether you’re a major MNC or a small manufacturer.  Think about what interests your ideal candidates and join relevant discussion groups, professional organizations or charity events to get them where they hang out online.  Then when you email them, you can offer something that will compel them to open and read your message – a personal, timely subject line.

And this is not some pie-in-the-sky suggestion.  We see much higher open rates with personalized emails.  Just look at the data from a major email provider that backs that up. 

3) People don’t want to work for your company

Previous generations saw their company as the focal point of their career, but times and loyalties have changed.  Today, people listen to industry thought leaders and relevant online communities, not the company they work for.  According to a recent study, 76% of full-time workers would leave their jobs for the right opportunity .

The business reaction to this would normally be to encourage HR to incentivize employees individually – more perks, more money – to keep them working hard to improve the company’s bottom line.

Peter Eastgate

However, employee packages, while important, are only part of the picture.

What the business should do

Deloitte reports that company culture plays a much larger role than previously thought, and so candidate attraction and employee retention should start by finding out what people think of their company.

HR could lead the way with an honest assessment of what people think about the company.  Using web-based survey tools  you could ask current employees as well as the candidate pool for their opinions of your company’s leadership, culture and place in the world.  Are you known as an innovative and employee-focused company like Google? Or do you have a ‘toxic’ culture which is putting candidates off?

Once you know this, you can hone your communications and connect emotionally with your candidates.  Likewise, address your weaknesses  and then let people know your strengths via social media.

Then when you do finally contact your candidate, you can try to talk about something they already care about, rather than jumping in with a whole load of stuff about your company

And once you have their rapt attention, you can then make the case for your company and tell them about the next steps of the recruitment process.

Get candidates through the door

So, next time you’re asked to report hiring performance to the business, make sure you address some of the major changes that have occurred recently.  Demonstrate you are in the know and have all the answers.

Candidates are bombarded with emails and more information than they know what to do with.  Therefore, it takes smarts and effort to get your message heard above the din.

How your company handles social media is crucial.   More than likely, your future candidates will form a first impression of your firm from its social media channels.   After that, personalizing your message and addressing what candidates really care about will get them in the door.

And, again, this is not just theory.  We spend all of our time working on how best to build candidate pools for our customers and would be delighted to help you too!

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