How to Improve Candidate Quality during a Crisis

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Before COVID-19, the rate of unemployment in the U.S. was at a historic low. In a candidate-driven market, recruiters became highly tech-savvy and creative to reach a passive candidate audience. Employer branding evolved to support company recruitment efforts and beat competitors in the war for talent. The job market looks very different now. While recent job reports showed an unexpected improvement in the unemployment rate to 13.3%, after hitting the highest level in BLS monthly survey history in April at 14.7%, the unemployment rate is still higher than it was during the 2008 financial crisis.

It looks like recruiters should prepare to be inundated with an influx of applicants and finding qualified talent becomes a challenge in such a broad talent marketplace. In my own business, thinking that our high unemployment would make it easier for me to find great talent, I am having a hard time finding quality candidates. My qualified talent ratios have dropped to what is now a record low number of 10% of candidates that apply for a number of open roles are qualified to do the job.

Quality of Hire Is Essential in Your Post-COVID-19 Talent Acquisition Strategy

Just as a refresher, quality of hire is a measure of the long and short-term value every new employee brings to your company. Short-term value relates to the speed and efficiency of hiring, while the long-term value is measured through employee performance, culture fit, and alignment with company goals. When your quality of hire is less than optimal, poor performance, lack of engagement and high turnover all negatively impact your company’s bottom line.

You can use every tool in the recruiting playbook that brings candidates to your job listings and into your talent funnel through the application process, but unless you’re working to improve candidate quality, your broader pool means that you’re just going to swim more laps. In a post-COVID talent marketplace, we have to return to what worked best for us ten years ago. However, we’ve advanced in the past decade when it comes to recruitment marketing and recruiting technology, so it’s not a true setback since we have more tools at our disposal now.

Improving Quality of Hire in a Crowded Talent Pool

While I’d love to give you a top ten list, what has really changed for recruiting in the past decade is our ability to target candidates and the data and analytics to which we have access now. This two-pronged approach using data with targeting is what helps you understand and identify where your best candidates are online. Without them, you’ll be fishing a pond full of catfish when you are looking for bass.

Where to begin? When you want to improve your targeting to reach higher quality candidates, the first place you want to look is at the personas you’re using in recruitment marketing. You don’t have to scrap the personas you’ve been using, but create new ones that reflect any changes your company has made for qualifying talent post-COVID, as well as the changes in the talent marketplace. Having very specific personas for the attributes you’re looking for today will help in your campaign targeting efforts.

Consider: Where are candidates seeking information today? Where are they going for professional development? Considering the current state of the health crisis, the answer will be 100% online. Job boards linked from state unemployment benefits websites, job ads on search engines and social media, resume and portfolio sites, and online groups for industry-specific job postings.

Plan your recruiting strategy with Talent Market Date: Discover InsightsRelated: How do you know where to recruit and who you are competing with for hires? Get Talroo Insights™

In order to reach these candidate groups ten years ago, we would have had to make our best guess and cast a wide net. Today, we have access to data, tools and technology - like automation and AI - that makes ad targeting faster, more accurate, and more effective. Automation can improve your current traditional bidding and advertising process because programmatic advertising tasks include making real-time, split-second decisions about increasing or decreasing bids for specific jobs and placing the most relevant job ads in front of your target candidates.

Target Your Candidates Using Ad Targeting

Job boards have been using programmatic ad buying to drive qualified candidates to specific job postings for years now. The difference is, with automation, those same programmatic tools are now available to you and your recruiting team. By using data and targeting, intelligent algorithms allow advertisers to exponentially improve the effectiveness of their campaigns, particularly in the area of targeted reach. Intelligent algorithms are constantly learning, which means that the more you use them, the better they work for you.

Programmatic advertising is built on this concept, and it’s what Talroo does really well. For example, once your posting is ready, your targeted reach is projected based on audience size and geographic data. In real-time, automation can assess the efficacy of your campaign reach, make recommendations on what to adjust to improve reach, and optimize the performance of your campaign so that you’re getting more mileage out of every dollar in your advertising budget.

Topics: Data Insights

Updated July 1, 2020