With unemployment rates at historic lows across almost every category of worker, it’s definitely an applicant market. The skills gap may have vexed employers in the past, but with today’s tight talent pool, the pressure is even greater to hire. Job seekers have more choices, more options and more offers to leverage than perhaps in decades. The only way to win the war on talent is with an impeccable recruitment process.
In the past job seekers anxiously awaited a call to find if they’d been selected for second interviews or offers. Organizations had the luxury of time to mull over each candidate, trying to determine who would be the best fit for today and had potential for the future. Today’s job seeker is juggling multiple interviews and offers: it’s their turn to mull over each company, determining who will be the best choice for today and who will have potential for their future.
1. What’s in it for me?
What factors are they weighing as they decide to work with you? Everything: every touch point and interaction in the recruitment process is an opportunity to bring applicants into the fold or lose them to the competition. From your job posting to your onboarding process, your recruitment team and business is being evaluated not just for what you have to offer, but in comparison to what others have to offer.
2. Job postings that sell
What does your posting say about your company? Are you creating a laundry list of “must-haves” from a candidate, or providing a laundry list of what you have to offer? Too many organizations are running the same old tired postings they’ve been using for years. It’s akin to asking candidates to fax their resume to you. Times have changed; the market has changed. Your postings have to reflect that: they have to pique interest and entice an applicant to take the time to meet with you. While you must include the requirements for the job, the majority of a job posting today should sell the applicant on working with you, not the other way around.
3. Applying made easy
How challenging it is to apply is the next touch point that can put a stop to the process. Candidates want an easy application process that doesn’t waste their valuable time. Research points to applicant drop-off rates if your application takes more than 10 minutes or if it’s longer than 2 or 3 pages at 20%. But more than just a speedy application process, you’ll want to keep the excitement building. A bland process will net bland results. An encouraging process (just a few more questions!) that outlines what your company has to offer along the path will keep their interest. Some companies pop in quick FYIs in their application process. “Did you know 50% of our management team was an internal promotion?” Little touches can make a big difference.
4. humanizing Interviews
In the past, the interview process was all about what the candidate had to offer. Their skills and qualifications dominated the conversation. Today’s market demands the process be a two-way street. Asking more about their interests and needs translates your interest in them as a person. It also provides opportunities for you to pitch what you have to offer.
As you discuss their career progression, ask if they’re interested in career development. Then talk about pathways to growth you provide. A recent study put over two-thirds of millennials citing it’s a manager’s job to provide accelerated development opportunities. Outlining what you have to offer for their future may be key to acquiring their talent today.
If your company is involved with the community or charitable organizations, make sure to include these in the discussion. Ask about their own interests or volunteerism: workers are looking to their company to be a good corporate citizen. A recent poll put 85% of employees say corporate social responsibility is important: 76% want their employer to make a difference in the community; 72% in the world.
5. Closing the deal asap
The lengthy decision-making process has long gone. An offer on the spot is the expectation for many candidates today. If you can make a conditional offer of employment pending reference checks, for example, it might not be a bad idea. Can’t make an offer on the spot? Don’t let the lag time between finalizing interviews and an offer be dead air: keep in constant contact. Provide information on where you are in the process and how long they can expect to wait. And stick to it.
Even more, the down time could be another opportunity to sell. Can you schedule a talk with other team members who were not part of the interview process? Perhaps a walk-through of the offices, or other introductions could be made. Some of your onboarding meet-and-greets might be a good way to keep the connection open.
Today’s market has turned the recruitment process on its ear. To win the war on talent, every business must rethink who is interviewing whom. To help you, try downloading our latest white paper on "Optimizing the Candidate Journey" where you'll find template communications that you can apply to your candidate journeys.