In a perfect world, HR pros like yourselves would take as much time as necessary to find that great hire.
But the reality is, you have many more tasks than just hiring to focus on, and managers are typically pestering you to find someone ASAP.
The good news? No matter the size of your company or the time frame you have to make a hire, you can still find the best talent out there.
Tony Lee, VP of editorial for SHRM, spoke at the 2019 SHRM Conference and Exposition to share hiring experts’ most effective recruiting strategies that any HR department can implement.
1. Make it known your company is a great place to work.
These days, employer brand is so important. It isn’t enough anymore to just have a nice website.
Nearly every candidate is going to look you up on Glassdoor and read your reviews, Lee says. The first step is for you to read those reviews so you know what you’re working with.
If you see negative posts on Glassdoor, don’t just ignore them — they’re not going away. Lee suggests responding to those reviews in a delicate, professional manner. This way, any potential candidates can see both sides of the story.
Annette Carroll, employer brand consultant for Procon, took an interesting approach to letting candidates know her company was a great place to work. She had her happiest employees make short videos explaining why they loved their jobs.
These videos were attached to job postings, so every applicant could get a feel for the culture and see what the company was all about. Having happy employees speak about their workplace is the best kind of review you can get.
2. Make your employees your best recruiters.
Over 80% of companies say employee referrals are their No. 1 source of new hires, Lee says. Employers should absolutely capitalize on this.
Many will reward employees for successful referrals with a small cash bonus. Lee wants to know why the incentive payment is so low, when professional recruiters would receive roughly $20,000 for doing the same thing your employee did.
Upping the ante will really encourage your people to actively recruit solid candidates.
3. Be honest about compensation.
Of course, you should offer candidates as much as your competitors, Lee says. But that isn’t always an option.
If you can’t match the competition, be transparent about why you can’t. Be sure to play up any unique benefits you can offer as well.
4. Consider hiring part-time or gig workers.
Utilizing gig workers or freelancers is something a lot of companies are starting to embrace, Lee says. And if it’s right for you, it could be the perfect solution to any urgent staffing problems.
This is especially an effective solution for companies with turnover issues, he says. If everyone is on the same page that the worker won’t be around for long, it’ll be much easier to prepare for their departure.
5. Simplify job applications
These days, candidates don’t have the patience to fill out a lengthy application, Lee says. The ideal amount of time is five minutes or less.
He suggests you go online and apply for a job at your own company to see what you’re dealing with.
Try the Red Light Test: Could your application be completed on a mobile device while sitting at a red light? If not, Lee suggests eliminating all the “nice to have” questions and simply ask the essential ones during the first step in the process.
6. Embrace remote employees.
Much like gig workers, more and more companies are taking advantage of fully remote employees. Not only does this expand your application pool considerably, but a lot of top talent are looking for the remote perk and flexibility, Lee says.
7. Build relationships with high schools and colleges.
Another great way to start expanding your talent pool is to turn to high schools and universities. College students are especially eager and anxious to find post-grad employment quickly, Lee says. Focusing your recruiting efforts on them can be mutually beneficial.
If you take time now to start building relationships with schools, you can get the first shot at new grads.
Recruiting at high schools can be just as effective as well. Gen Zers are just starting to enter the workforce, and this generation is seeking stable, well-paying jobs. They’re less likely than Millennials to take on student debt, too.
Recruiters can use this to their advantage and help show high schoolers other career paths that don’t involve college. Nurturing these relationships can ensure these students call you once they’ve obtained the skills they need to work at your company.
Christy Del Regno, talent acquisition manager for CVS Health, had success with this strategy. She worked to partner with colleges in order to reach top students for internship opportunities.
Representatives are sent to schools in order to promote the company and intern program, and any student seriously considering coming aboard are flown out to the facility and given the grand tour.
CVS Health stays in touch with each intern after the program ends, and many of the students end up taking a full-time position after they graduate.
8. Maintain a talent pipeline.
Great recruiters don’t just look for talent when they have a position to fill — they’re always looking for talent. If you take the time now to build a network of talented people, you’ll be set when you have a job opening.
Social media and networking are extremely important when it comes to filling the talent pipeline. It allows potential candidates to learn about your company and see if they’d maybe like to work for you one day, and helps you stay in contact.
Olivia Melman, recruiting operations manager for Digital Ocean, always has a full talent pipeline, thanks to her commitment to staying in touch with past applicants.
Whenever she finds promising candidates that don’t quite make the cut for the position they interviewed for, Melman puts them on a list. Each month, these candidates receive emails with updates on the company, as well as new job listings the person might be a good fit for.
This method has resulted in 4,000 candidates reapplying with the company! Melman has ended up making many great hires from this talent pipeline, in new positions that didn’t even exist when the candidates originally applied.
9. Add a personal touch.
With the vast amount of technology and automation available in the hiring process now, it can be easy to forget to be welcoming and personable, too.
During the hiring process, candidates appreciate personalized messages instead of form emails. Employers should ask about applicants’ personalities as well as their skills and qualifications, to ensure they’d be a good cultural fit.
On-site events for prospective hires can also help feel out if certain candidates would excel at the company, and would make applicants feel like a top priority.