Let’s face it — hiring is a struggle for all employers right now. It’s a job seeker’s market, and competition for talent is tight. When offering better pay isn’t an option, a lot of employers are wondering what they can do.
Gem, a recruiting solutions company, surveyed 500 talent acquisition (TA) professionals to get to the bottom of this. The survey covered priorities, pain points and 2022 recruiting goals — and one common theme was the importance of providing a great candidate experience and a strong employer brand.
Something a lot of the respondents agreed on is that they’ll be investing more money in TA efforts in 2022 — and the top TA area they’ll be focusing on is employer branding (69%).
Other areas employers are investing in this year include:
- sourcing tools/tech (60%)
- expanding TA team (53%)
- email tools (21%), and
- remote hiring tech (12%).
But even when companies are able to invest more in their TA strategy, uncompetitive offers and weak employer branding continue to be the top two pain points.
Sometimes, TA pros know why candidates are turning them down. Here are the top reasons companies have lost out on talent:
- better offer elsewhere (58%)
- Compensation not high enough (41%)
- counter-offer from candidate’s current company (36%)
- inadequate benefits (13%)
- hiring process took too long (12%)
- concerns about career path (11%), and
- concerns about company culture (4%).
According to Gem’s survey, only about a quarter of TA pros said their companies have a set strategy for employer branding (“a consistent story about the value the company offers employees in return for their skills, experience and efforts.”)
Another quarter of TA pros aren’t sure if their company has a branding strategy but they wing it, and another 20% says employer branding doesn’t play a role in their recruiting at all.
Is employer branding really that important? Gem says yes. It often is the deciding factor for a candidate when they’re torn between two companies.
If you don’t have an employer branding strategy, don’t panic. Gem suggests sitting down with current employees to find out what made them decide to work for you. What are some benefits of working for the company that aren’t in the job ads? What do they find to be the most fulfilling part of their job? These things will help you build your strategy.
Many of the survey respondents took the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to tweak their company culture and improve their employer brand. Some changes included:
- being fully or partially remote
- adding new mental health resources
- providing work-from-home stipends
- additional PTO, and
- assistance with childcare.
Candidate experience strategy
Gem found that most respondents realized their company also needed to pay more attention to the candidate experience and make some improvements.
Here’s what hiring pros are focusing on:
- shortening the hiring process/speeding up offers
- increasing communication throughout hiring process
- giving timely feedback to applicants
- increasing diversity of candidate pool, and
- making more compelling offers.
Going along with improving the candidate experience, Gem suggests having a solid recruitment marketing strategy, which can reduce time-to-hire, build a more diverse talent pipeline and boost employee morale/retention.
Here are some steps Gem says you can take.
- Define your recruitment goals. Your basic goal is to always attract more, qualified candidates to your company, but you should go deeper than that. Make goals achievable and easily measurable, such as “see a 10% increase in career site visitors by June” or “get 20% more engagement in social media posts in three months.” Measurable goals = actionable goals.
- Have your employer brand ready to explain to candidates. What can your company offer employees that other companies can’t? Have this list of unique benefits written down and ready to go. This really should be the core of your recruitment strategy.
- Picture your ideal candidate. How can you attract the perfect candidate if you don’t know who exactly you’re looking for? After you pin down the skill level, experience, core values and career goals you’re looking for in a candidate, you’ll be able to better tailor your employer brand pitch. It’s also important to tweak it depending on which kind of candidate you’re going after. For example, younger talent might be more interested in career advancement and a lively office, while childcare perks and retirement planning might appeal more to older candidates.
- Create recruitment content. Newsletters, blogs, videos and webinars can all help get your employer brand across and attract candidates from all over. You can get your own employees involved in these marketing campaigns too, having them share firsthand what they love about what they do.
- Build a talent community. You’ll likely encounter a lot of promising candidates who, for some reason or another, can’t currently work for you. But don’t just let them go! Keep them on file, maintain a relationship with them so when the time is right, they’ll be ready to go.