Attracting great applicants when qualified people are scarce

More than three in four employers say they’re struggling to find qualified people to fill their open positions.

Outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas recently conducted a survey of 100 human resources executives in a variety of industries nationwide. The bottom line: 77% of respondents said they were having trouble filling open slots because the applicants they were seeing didn’t have the right backgrounds.
The toughest slots to fill? Here’s a rundown:

  • Technology/technical — cited by 45% of respondents
  • Finance — 30%
  • Manufacturing — 20%, and
  • Management — 5%.

About half of survey participants said their companies are not yet offering any special incentives to attract candidates. Other firms are using referral bonuses (36%), relocation assistance (36%) and signing bonuses (23%).
Finally, the most chilling finding in the research: 91% of respondents said that as the economy continues to expand, the labor shortages will become even more acute.

The old recruiting channels just aren’t working

Clearly, in an era when good people are difficult to find, it’s important to take steps to draw the best talent into your candidate pool.
Jerome Ternyck, writing on, says many companies unwittingly cripple their recruiting efforts by using outdated and unsophisticated tools: spreadsheets, email and applicant tracking systems (ATS).
Here’s Ternyck’s three-step prescription for modernizing your digital recruiting efforts:

1. Sourcing: Do you have a wide choice of candidates?

Candidates are not just searching job boards and your company’s careers page anymore. They’re also visiting your company’s social media pages, interacting in your social networks, your colleagues’ social networks, recruiters’ networks–and they’re wanting to engage over the web and mobile. You need to have a presence whenever the talented candidate wants to say, “Hello.”

2. Engaging: How do you keep great candidates in your pipeline?

Once you’ve captured great candidates, you have to woo them. We now live in a transparent world. Candidates know as much about your company as you do. Build a strong and attractive employer brand across every touch point, including your company’s culture page, social media pages and blog. Equally important: make it dead simple to apply. It should take one click. Any more complexity than that will have you losing great candidates in no time.

3. Closing: You have two weeks to close top talent

That’s it. If you’re recruiting process takes longer than that, you’ll lose the best candidates. In the first week, you should do pre-screenings and initial interviews. The next week is for the second round of interviews and assessments by the hiring team–and that should comprise four members to be exact. Hiring is a team sport. Each hiring manager asks different questions and digs into topics that another might not. Four viewpoints together provide a more accurate assessment of a candidate.
By the end of the week, make your offer. Herein lies the crux of the new world of recruiting and hiring: you have to do all of these steps –write a killer job ad, cast a wide net, engage deeply with candidates and collaborate to interview, assess and make a decision–all within two weeks. That’s what it takes to drive your hiring process from good to great.