The stagnant job market hasn’t made it easy for companies to find top candidates for open positions. In reality, it is actually more difficult. For every open position it seems as though hundreds of applications come pouring in, but the applicant pool is often under-qualified. It’s understandable, many people with substantial skill sets are holding on to the job they have while they wait for the economy to stabilize. So, what can an employer do to up their value proposition and opportunity to recruit great talent? There are many ways to increase your chances as a recruiter. In addition to online searches and job postings, here are few tips that may help you out.
Remember it’s Not a One Way Street
If you have a position that needs to be filled in your company, waiting for the applicant to come to you may end up giving you more of the same, lots of resumes, but not the quality you’re looking for. Consider proactive recruiting. Take the initiative to go out and look for great candidates that will fit your company’s culture. In addition to keyword candidate reviews on web searches like LinkedIn, do some good old-fashioned networking. Ask other professionals you respect if they know of anyone they’ve worked with in the past that could be recommended for your open positions. Get the rest of your hiring team involved, and have them connect with their contacts for any leads on top performers that may benefit your company.
Don’t Forget Your Current Employees
One of the best ways to attract new employees is to have a company full of happy, motivated people who like where they are working. Loyal employees are not only more productive, but are also inclined to recommend other great professionals for open positions. Consider an employee referral program that is more than just the “submit a name of someone you know” process. Have them recommend the person for a specific position and tell you why they think the individual is a great candidate. Although some may think that employees will simply try to get all their “buddies” hired on, usually that’s not the case. Employees who take pride in their company won’t be inclined to suggest the candidacy of someone who would be a bad hire – they wouldn’t want to stake their reputation on someone they can’t get behind.
Consider the Décor
Seems like an odd consideration, but if you want to bring in the best, your first office space impression means a lot in the eyes of the ideal candidate. If that person walks through the doors and sees a dry atmosphere full of white walls, compacted cubicles, and unfriendly faces, they are going to have a hard time envisioning themselves spending 40+ hours working in your office space. When you’re trying to appeal to top job candidates, and also working to keep morale high for your current work family, consider the environment you are asking them to work in. Personalized work spaces where people can express their personalities help to create attachment and belonging, and that translates into satisfied employees. You don’t have to forgo a consistent office décor, just consider providing ways for individuality to emerge.
Know Your Candidates
Great candidates want more than just a high paying salary. They want a company that offers development opportunities, upward mobility, rightful recognition, and a balanced lifestyle. They also want to see passion throughout their potential new workplace, and want that passion to be in line with their professional aspirations. Before you pitch your company to a candidate, find out what they are really seeking from a new employer and what factors would actually be enticing enough to make the switch to your company. Make sure it’s a values match for both of you.
Get Everyone on Board
A disorganized management and/ or hiring team can be a big turn-off to any interested candidates. If a top candidate hears their potential position described one way, and then hears it described differently by another team member, they are going to become concerned about the legitimacy of the position you are offering.
Before you even begin seeking out ideal candidates, meet with your hiring team to make sure everyone knows just exactly what the position is you are trying to fill. Everyone should be on the same page when it comes to explaining the expectations, duties, and potential opportunities related to the open position. That way when a potential top performer inquires about the position, further questions or concerns aren’t created.
Don’t sell your opening short by taking an applicant through the process because they seem “qualified” enough and you have pressure to fill the role. Top performers within a company drive innovation, can motivate current middle-of-the-road employees, and increase profitability. Taking the time to actually seek out and find the ideal candidate for each open position may take extra time and effort, but it is the most important role a recruiter can play. Get the right people on the bus. That’s what builds and sustains stellar companies.
About the Author: Amanda Andrade is the Chief People Officer for Veterans United Home Loans — Fortune magazine’s 21st best medium workplace and one the fastest growing companies in the United States according to INC magazine. Amanda has led human resource organizations in both public and private sectors. She also has a doctorate in Environment and Behavior, focusing on highly profitable, employee-centric work environments. Connect with Amanda on Google+.
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Thanks for these tips Amanda. In addition to these tips, consider competency-based hiring. Traditional hiring focuses on industry/technical qualifications and skills, whereas a competency-based approach includes analysis of a candidate’s behavioral characteristics as well (e.g., communication, work ethic, detail orientation).