Can you win at hiring when it’s only going to get tougher?
More than three-quarters of executives plan to increase hiring this quarter, according to research from West Monroe. That means nearly everyone is looking for the same talent you are. In fact, they might even be trying to steal yours!
You’ll want to amp up hiring efforts now because two-thirds of job seekers are close to application fatigue. They’re sick of applying and hearing nothing from employers, according to the Monster Job Index. So good talent might be done looking for jobs soon.
While a simple, kind response to all applicants can help you stand out, you want to do more to become a hiring employer of choice.
“Think about how you can show up authentically,” says Caitlyn Metteer, Manager of Recruiting at Lever. “If you lead (your recruiting process) with empathy, you can’t go wrong.”
Here are six ways to get the candidates you need as the talent wars heat up.
Accept more, reject less
With today’s choices in Artificial Intelligence (AI) – specifically, algorithmic hiring software – it’s easy to whittle down resume requirements. But it also puts HR leaders at risk for weeding out good candidates who might not know how to navigate the hiring process.
“Use the auto reject very sparingly,” advises Metteer. “We like to focus on the positive elements of what we want rather than what we don’t want in candidates.”
Naturally, you don’t want too many unqualified resumes to sort through. But you want every ideal candidate in your inbox. So, work with the managers who will supervise the future employee to identify the top 10 or so positive behaviors, accomplishments, outcomes, work ethics and/or attitudes to include in your AI keywords.
Focus more on outcome, less on duty
Ideally, you want candidates who can see themselves doing well in your open positions. And that starts with an effective job description or posting.
If you write a description that is outcome-based, rather than task- or duty-based, candidates will have a good idea if they can succeed at the job. And succeeding is more important than actually doing.
At Lever, they don’t focus extensively on years of experience or daily tasks. They write about expected outcomes, and why those are important for the first year. For instance, they might mention a quota for a customer success position rather than “good people skills.”
This is another instance when you’ll want to work with managers to determine the most important outcomes. Then make them top priority on your job posts.
“Then people can see really see themselves in the role and what they’d be working toward in the future,” says Metteer.
Look to development, future
As much as you focus on the role, your company culture and the right fit, candidates care about benefits. In addition to competitive benefits and compensation, offer perks that stand out.
One idea for attracting top talent: opportunities to learn, grow and build a career.
“Today’s candidates [want] the ability to manage their own professional trajectory,” says Jeri Herman, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Cengage. “Implement a non-traditional benefits package that incorporates continued learning and reskilling opportunities that drive professional and personal development.”
You might tout a partnership with local institutions for continuing or higher education. Or do you have a tuition reimbursement plan? Can you offer time and money for certifications? Or emphasize the success of your management training program.
Infuse the personal touch
You aren’t just looking for the ideal candidates to hire. They’re looking for the ideal place to work. And the ideal people to work with.
To get a leg up in hiring, it’s important to maintain a personal touch – so candidates know there’s heart inside the company.
It starts with a response to candidates’ applications and inquiries – solicited or not. You can likely set up automatic responses that let them know you’ve received what they’ve sent. Even better, give them a time frame on when they can expect to hear more from you.
You might try Lever’s approach, too: They assign promising applications candidate experience coordinators. They send emails with what, when and who to expect, plus a GIF of themselves to add the personal touch. Coordinators also set up interviews and check in to see if candidates have questions and they ask, “How’s your experience so far?”
Make some guarantees
Some people still feel resentment and anxiety after layoffs in the early days of the pandemic. They’re looking for stability again.
To attract – and keep – more good employees, you might guarantee pay rates and commit to maintaining them for a certain amount of time, suggests Phillip Braun, a clinical professor of finance at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. If possible, give no-layoff guarantees to employees after they successfully finish a probationary period.
Review your candidate qualifications – and look for ways to lower the standard. Here’s why: Good candidates who have the potential to fill your positions are often off-put by qualifications that aren’t really necessary.
“Other workers may feel underqualified, lacking degrees or the skills needed for open positions,” says Herman. “This doesn’t mean these workers should be discounted from the workforce.”
Instead, Herman suggests companies make reskilling and online training programs part of their recruiting plan. It can help you hire great employees and train them with the exact skills and knowledge you want them to have so they succeed.
“Integrate reskilling and online training programs into benefits packages that enable workers to build up their experience and, therefore, feel more confident in their jobs,” Herman says.