Out-of-the-box Recruiting Strategies for Tight Labor Markets
In today's scramble to recruit the best employees, a new or growing business may need to devise creative recruitment strategies to keep pace with the competition. This is especially important in today's labor market, where the unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in nearly 18 years and candidates can afford to be choosy with an abundance of open positions.
As an employer, you should consider offering competitive pay and benefits packages if you don't do so already, but it's also important to incorporate some aggressive strategies into your recruiting practices. Using some out-of-the-box recruiting strategies can help you find and connect with high-quality candidates quickly and put your company ahead of the competition in sourcing potential employees.
Here are some suggestions to help you augment your current recruitment efforts:
Ramp up your social media activity. Social media platforms and mobile devices are quickly becoming pervasive tools for recruiters to advertise positions and source applicants. Candidates are increasingly looking for jobs online and are demanding the ability to browse job postings and apply for positions from their mobile devices. Job seekers may frequent social media platforms even before they are officially on the job market, so this is a great opportunity to catch quality candidates’ attentions early.
To maximize your efficiency with this strategy, do your homework on which social platforms are best for reaching your target audience. Survey your employees and other connections in the industry to identify which sites are most often used by job seekers in your market. Familiarize yourself with these platforms, then use them to spread the word that you're looking to hire. At the same time, use your company website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages to feature your business in the best light and encourage your current employees to do the same.
Use industry events as a way to trade ideas with other business owners on the creative recruitment techniques they favor.
Spread the word at trade shows and industry events. Conferences and trade shows can be more than just a promotional venue for your company. Use these opportunities to trade ideas with other business owners on the creative recruitment techniques they favor. You'll already have plenty of business cards and promotional materials on hand and a room full of people who are already interested in your industry. Use this to your advantage and connect with as many people as possible — you may be rubbing elbows with someone who could lead you to your next star employee.
Initiate employee referral and boomerang hire programs. Many companies have established referral programs that reward employees with a cash bonus (or some other reward) for tapping into their personal and online networks for promising candidates. Existing employees understand the company and the industry, and know what it takes to succeed in specific roles, so this is a valuable resource that shouldn't be overlooked. If you haven't yet initiated a referral program, investigate establishing one and emphasize its high priority within your existing workforce.
Boomerang hires are another potential source of successful recruiting for larger companies. These individuals were employed by the company at one time and left. Enticing select employees back may in some cases yield a double benefit of someone who understands your firm, while also bringing a fresh perspective from their most recent position.
Revamp your careers page. Many businesses devote little attention to their careers page and often rely on stock images and generic content to greet visitors to the site. Instead, consider revamping a "Join Us" page with a focus on bringing excitement to the page. Consider incorporating lively photographs of the workplace and surrounding area. Include a compelling vision of employee career growth opportunities, a view of the collaborative workplace environment, and other examples of business culture that job seekers could be looking for in their search.
Think outside the box when screening candidates. Screening potential employees is an expensive and time-consuming process, so smart companies are taking steps to increase their chances for getting it right the first time. First, consider incorporating background screening into your hiring process. Background screenings may include verifying the details on applications and resumes, checking references, running the candidate's name against federal and state databases, and conducting drug testing. Incorporating this before you've identified the ideal candidate can save time by narrowing down your applicant pool quickly.
You can also infuse a fresh perspective into your recruiting by inviting some of your best employees to join in interviewing candidates. This approach offers unique perspectives and feedback on whether the interviewee is a good fit for your business. Your veteran employees are often more familiar with the specifics of the available position(s) and can help to identify potential hiring issues before you've committed to an underqualified candidate. Plus, if one of these candidates is hired, there's already an established connection with others on the team.
Applicant tracking systems can streamline the process for applicants and hiring managers alike.
Invite some industry connections to lunch. Formal job interviews can achieve certain objectives, such as determining how well a candidate reacts to the pressure of being questioned by one or more team members. But what about a candidate's less formal side? Taking individuals to lunch offers the opportunity to interact in a more informal setting, possibly even before a candidate has officially expressed interest in a position. This strategy also gives you the opportunity to convince potential connections why they should consider applying for open positions within your company, or you can take the opportunity to communicate your ideal hiring needs to others who may be able to send potential candidates to you directly.
Integrate an applicant tracking system. An integrated human capital management system that includes a customized applicant tracking solution is essential to making sure that qualified candidates don't slip through the cracks. Applicant tracking systems streamline the process for applicants and hiring managers alike; candidates can easily submit all their materials online, and hiring managers and HR personnel can access all the information they need from a single interface.
These days, creative recruitment can be as much about promoting your brand as it is about evaluating candidates for your open positions. The best employees — those with the most talent, loyalty, and leadership potential — can be very selective about where they choose to end up. By using out-of-the-box recruiting strategies, you can put yourself in front of the best candidates and give your company a competitive hiring edge.