Attracting the Best Talent in 2019

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Every company, regardless of size, industry or geography, faces a similar challenge when it comes to hiring: Quality candidates are hard to find.  

In a recent webinar hosted by Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, and President, HRU Technical Resources, he shared insights on how to increase candidate volume, what free tools are available, as well as which paid solutions are available to help improve your quality of hire. In this post we recap how to attract the best talent.

The current talent marketplace means that every company is hiring all the time - even companies undergoing a reorganization or layoff are still hiring. We have an issue when it comes to demographics, an entire Baby Boomer generation leaving the workforce, even Gen X leaving the workforce. We have more jobs than unemployed people. Even in a moderate recession, we’re still not going to have the talent to fill all the jobs we need to fill. We’re probably 5-10 years away from technology being able to support these needs.

Ask: Why does a candidate choose to work for your company?
When we talk about attracting talent, knowing the reason why people choose to work for you is important. Employment brand, salary packages, benefits, company brand, growth potential. Or do you have no idea? The reality is you’re getting chosen because you’re close to where your employees live, especially if you’re hiring hourly employees. It’s important to start micro-local, then move in increments out into a 5-mile radius. Another top reason is employee referrals. Your current employees are the best people to recruit for your company. This is the reality, and what we think is the reason is almost always different.  
Attracting talent and hiring the best talent are two very different things!

How do we know the candidates we hire are the best talent available? We’re attracting the talent that is available in the marketplace right now, and this is different from attracting the best talent and talking them into applying for jobs at our company.  

Talent attraction funnel: Ultimately, we’re trying to reach candidates and get them interested in finding out more. The top of the recruiting funnel is how you attract candidates, then moves through to getting them to apply, converting them to an applicant, and keeping them interested in a future position. The number one failure of talent acquisition is that we don’t leverage the candidate database we already have.

You don’t need as many candidates as you think you need. We spend a lot of time on screening and vetting large pools of candidates down to the best of the group. What would happen if 100% of these pools had a chance to be engaged? What we found is that you only need 50% of the candidates you think you need if you’re engaging candidates. We screen out candidates for a variety of small reasons - too much experience, typos on a resume, and so on. We think we’re making the right decision by not engaging candidates that don’t exactly match the skills and experience we’re looking for. But when we pre-screen, we’re scanning resumes so quickly that we’re often not aware of unconscious biases. If we engage candidates with assessments and screening through technology, even if they don’t match for skills, we’ll get a higher quality of higher. We have to change the organization’s thought process on the parameters we’re using for screening out candidates.

Attracting more talent is often about doing more activity. When we look at the metrics for how many people we screen and begin to track them, we tend to see an increase in activity by our recruiting teams. Measuring the processes gives us insight into where we’re using our resources.

You don’t just want more candidates – you want more candidates who also want you. I talk with companies all the time who think their brand is broken. Every single time, I can find someone working in a worse environment who thinks yours is Disneyland. Consider what’s real to the employees who do accept “your crazy” and look at their commonalities. We need to connect with candidates who are “our people.” In other words, great recruiting is about attracting candidates that want you for who you are.

90% of organizations will “post and pray” job listings. But we have to go beyond that. You can still post and pray, but you need more in the area of recruitment marketing.

What’s more important: Employer Brand or Job Brand?

It comes down to how candidates discover us: 

Internal Employee Referrals – they know someone who works for us who says great things about us. (employer brand) - 20-40% of hires

They are searching for a job online, networking, etc. (job brand) - 60-80% of hires

Job brand becomes almost more critical than your employer brand. If 60-80% of hires don’t know us through referrals, they’re finding us on job boards. This means your job posting must be an effective way to communicate with candidates. How do we achieve this?

Related: How to Write Better Job Postings

Video job postings get more applicants. Most people will look at a written description for about 13 seconds. If you have video, engagement increases to over one minute. About 43% of people will apply to a job that has video over those who don’t. Monster Studios put out a simple way of creating a video job posting with a smartphone. Having a hiring manager talk about the job, it becomes a tool for engagement. It’s super low cost, you can embed video on your career site, and you get a huge return on investment.

Your job title. The apply rate changes based on the length of your job title. Shorter job titles equal more applicants. Long job titles are too complicated.

Google for Jobs. Take a look at what Google for Jobs is and how people are responding. Job aggregators have topped the market for the past 10 years, but it hasn’t been a great candidate experience. Google saw what candidates really wanted and there is a shift in traffic away from traditional job boards to Google for Jobs. Take a look at the schema and see the recommendations for how to structure title, content, compensation, and so on. Job postings with a salary get more applicants, even if it’s underrepresented in terms of market compensation.

Employee referral automation is one of the highest ROI things we can do. Automation works because it makes your jobs easy to share, frequency, and timing. Reward behavior that leads to referrals. Bonuses for referrals after a 90-day period are fine, but if you reward in smaller amounts incrementally based on referral behavior alone.

Mobile apply. Right now, we make candidates jump through a lot of hoops. We have to make it simple. If you have a job that no one applies to, and you change it to include a cell number of a recruiter, you’re going to get interested candidates because they don’t have to register, take online tests, etc. 80% of workers only have access to the internet through mobile devices. 

Talent pipelines can be as simple as building lists in spreadsheets or as complex as HROS platforms. You want to be able to nurture your pipeline with relevant content to keep them engaged no matter how you store the data. 

Text messaging is imperative to communicating with candidates. You’ll get a higher response rate and all research shows that this is the preferred method of contact. If you add a chatbot to your site, people are twice as likely to apply when there is an easy way to ask questions. Email alone is not enough anymore.

Programmatic job advertising is underutilized. Cindy Songne, VP of Talent Attraction Solutions at Talroo, says that programmatic job ads in the simplest form is using automation to buy digital advertising. Being able to optimize your job postings with technology, setting the rules for engagement, determining the budget based on what you expect, and adjusting the budget based on what you’re able to spend. The technology does the work and your ads are placed in front of the job seekers who actually want to see them, online, via SMS, job boards, aggregators, niche sites, blog posts, and so on. No single form of media advertising works for everyone or every industry, but high volume, high turnover, hard-to-fill, and the majority of jobs we need to fill can be solved with programmatic. It works in any market for any budget. 

Cindy says that another silver bullet that works (after programmatic) is employee referrals. And not just who you know that’s looking, but who you know that would be good for this job.

Finally, hyper-personalization is important. How do we show candidates that this job is THE job for them. You can build a microsite, send a link, and the recipient will respond to the personalization. Everyone is looking for that one job that’s right for them. Personalization allows you to attract more and better talent. We have to go out and “touch” people multiple times, 7, 8, 9 times. For every person that asks us to stop contacting them, we get someone who thanks us for being persistent. It shows that we’re willing to reach out to that candidate specifically.  

Topics: Talent Acquisition

Updated November 14, 2019