According to the latest statistics, 50% of organisations still site "filling key positions” as the biggest challenge they face. Ironically, this was the biggest challenge they faced before the internet made the world a better place, and, amongst other things, 'streamlined ' the hiring process.
The internet opened up new ways to attract talent; first came job boards, then came applicant tracking systems (ATS) attached to websites. Currently, a large number of my clients now have dedicated LinkedIn pages and twitter feeds for recruitment and, according to most of them, they worked for a good while but are becoming less effective than before. The question is – why?
It is because the internet has also opened up many more options for "candidates of choice”.
For those candidates, the ones you really need, competition is fierce, especially as every competitive organisation is now working (well) with the same tools and are sending out very similar messages. However, endless #jobs tweets just don’t cut it anymore, nor do they make for interesting reading - especially when that's the only message being tweeted.
Candidate attraction - Make your external persona (social media) more engaging
If you are different -for whatever reason -make it known; create as much transparency as possible; have a whole section of your website dedicated to employee attraction and retention - from videos of heads of department, through to interns - talking about day-to- day life. Have some genuine examples of personal achievements and career progression. Candidates need to know what sort of training and development options you offer. If you have a new business win, announce it - not just to the business world. Make the benefits of this win clear to your employees and potential employees. It is important that the trickledown effect is felt by all - whether it's staff celebratory drinks or a day at the races -everyone wants to be part of the winning team.
Candidate attraction - Positive Candidate experience
One of the biggest disappointments you can have as a recruiter, when working on a hot role with a great agency, is calling candidate A and they say; "No thanks, I sent my CV into them nine months ago and heard nothing back". Calling candidate B and hearing; "No thanks, I had an interview with them, but they took ages to come back to me, so I took another job " and, when speaking to candidate C, who isn’t as good a fit as the previous two, but also getting knocked back because they too had a bad experience.
To attract "candidates of choice", you must be an "employer of choice". Positive candidate experience is the key - even if you create a new role to do this. A client I know recently created the role of ‘Chief Happiness Person', to manage the candidate experience.
To attract the best talent, you have to examine every step of the hiring process and try to remove as much latency as possible. Heads of department and your recruitment team need to be aware -and communicate this to their external recruiters - how urgent their need is and make time to manage the process in a way that is a positive experience for all parties concerned.
Candidate attraction - Well-written job descriptions
I read of lot of job descriptions and many are truly lacking. I find it shocking how little thought has gone into them. Candidates are delivered a list of duties and expectations – I collect really bad ones, if anyone is interested – which is all bones and no meat.
There is little or no mention of the clients they would work with, the benefits of the job, the perceived challenges and career opportunities. Furthermore, how success is rewarded is rarely, if ever, mentioned and nor is company culture. Candidates are people, they want to know what it's like to work there - warts an all.
Ultimately, I believe the key to candidate attraction is still the human touch, but it has to be consistent and predictable, much like the technology we use to facilitate it.