5 Ways To Reboot Your Recruiting Strategy

A whole lot of crickets. That’s what many frustrated recruiters say they hear when they post a job opening, reports Forbes. Even when they deliver all the trimmings—fancy perks, a cool title, and a high pay grade—newly posted openings just don’t receive the attention they deserve. In fact, the average number of days to fill an open position hit an all-time high of 29 last year—and for many fields, that number is actually low. The result, from HR’s point of view, is a dried up pool of talent, deflated growth for the company, and a whole lot of time lost playing the waiting game.

On the flip side of the coin are job seekers. They set out in search of a workplace where they can utilize their talents, a team where they can fit in and grow, and a mission that will inspire them to become their best. But ask any job seeker, and they’ll tell you the job hunt is no picnic either. With confusing listings, impossible requirements, and clunky application processes, the minefield is increasingly irritating instead of inspiring.

So what do these two groups have in common? What is to blame for their entire batch of misfortunes? Quite simply, what we’ve heard from both recruiters and job seekers, an antiquated recruiting process itself is to blame. However, read on for five ways to reboot your recruiting process and save everyone—from recruiters to candidates to everyone in between—a whole lot of grief.

Join The 21st Century

Although this piece of advice that seems to be going unheeded, it bears repeating. If you’re not posting jobs online, it’s time to start. 79% of candidates look for jobs on the Internet—imagine how much talent you’re missing. And if you’re still using clunky software from 15 years ago, you’re long overdue for an upgrade. Streamline your applications. Don’t ask candidates to create a detailed online profile or fill out fields with information they’ve already provided on their resume. Create a user-friendly, quick, and simple process. Frustrating applications can turn away even the most persistent candidates (say, if their resume won’t upload, or the required forms take the better part of an hour). If you take away just one point from our list, let it be this. It won’t matter how great your listing sounds if candidates give up on applying.

Broaden Job Requirements…

If we had to name a No. 1 job search gripe, the long list of impossible requirements might just be it. Candidates get excited about a position, only to find a dozen or more requirements—and when, inevitably, they don’t meet every one, they get discouraged and move on. As the recruiter, it’s your responsibility to tackle this problem. Start by scanning your list of requirements and deciding which ones you can safely broaden. For example, don’t require specific certifications for proof of technical skills. Many job seekers have skills they haven’t been officially certified for which they would gladly demonstrate, given the chance. Another overly specific requirement is the time horizon. It’s supposed to indicate mastery, but often doesn’t. Under a “minimum five years of leadership experience” criterion, a part-time shift leader of five years could apply for an upper management position, but a startup owner who’s successfully managed eight employees for three years would be discouraged from applying, even if her experience actually better fits the level of responsibility required. Instead of specifying time limits, ask for “proven leadership expertise” and then scan applicant resumes to see who’s cut out for the position.

…Then Eliminate Some Entirely

First expand and broaden requirements, then eliminate some entirely? Hear us out. Once you’ve appropriately broadened some requirements, talk to team leaders about which skills are truly make-or-break for them. More often than not, you’ll find that list is pretty short. For your next listing, take the top skills required for the job (augmented by the broadening step above), add the leader’s most wanted traits, and then finish by adding one or two personality points that show your workplace culture. A word to the wise: Don’t try to take shortcuts by justifying that the person who wrote this job listing might have taken these steps too. Chances are, they haven’t. And the listing will rarely reflect your specific vision for the candidate if you’re recycling it from a previous posting or using a generic one you found online.

Ask For Employee Recommendations 

You’ve fine-tuned and streamlined your recruiting process, but you’re still not finding the talent you need. What else can you do? Maybe you’re just not utilizing all of your available resources. Employee recommendations are often overlooked, but they’re a great way to find talent. In fact, over 90% of top performers don’t find jobs via listings—they’re referred by a contact instead. Take advantage of your employees’ connections next time you have an open position. Alert employees throughout your company on an online platform—and ask for their help filling it. Most likely, one (or more!) of your seasoned professionals knows of a great-fit candidate they’d be happy to recommend.

Bring In The Team 

Although an HR professional is usually in charge of recruitment and hiring, they’re not likely to have continued contact with candidates as they settle in to their new positions. But the team who works with the new hire every day will lead them through onboarding, learning the business, and beginning to create great work. So wouldn’t they be an asset in recruitment and interviews, too? They are true advocates for your company as they demonstrate team dynamics and the groove of your workplace. And, there’s no one better than them to help decide whether a candidate is a good fit. Integrating the team into the hiring process will deliver insights and give applicants a more well-rounded picture of your workplace. Ask the team to edit job listings, bring them in to interview, and check in often to hear their opinions and reservations. Both they and your future new hire will appreciate it.

Today’s typical job recruiting is not doing companies or candidates any favors. But the good news is, there are some simple fixes that can address the biggest challenges employers and applicants face in the process. Implement our tips to change your recruiting and application experiences—and finally find best-fit employees who deliver great work for the company and your customers.

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