Click to jump ahead:
- What is Recruiting?
- Recruiting Trends
- Recruitment Process
- Types of Recruitment
- Recruitment Strategies
- Employment Application Process
- Recruitment Tracking & Analytics
- Recruitment Software
HR professionals say overwhelmingly that recruiting top talent is their single most pressing business/HR challenge.
At least that’s what 2,300 said in a recent Society of Human Resources Management survey.
You probably agree.
If so, then you’ve learned that whether you need to fill just a handful of slots, or dozens, chances are you’ve experienced a seismic uptick in recruiting pressure.
The ability to recruit the best people for your organizational needs is itself a highly sought-after skill. To recruit well is remarkable. And good companies need strong and consistent recruitment strategies to acquire good talent.
What is Recruiting?
A good recruitment process is an ongoing strategy to identify, find and acquire specialists, leaders, or future A-players for your company.
It’s all made more difficult by the fact that recruiting performance pressure has increased just as talent acquisition has grown more complex.
Your approach to hiring is influenced by the size of your organization, the resources available to you, and the priority that your organization gives to hiring.
Recruiting success is influenced by many factors, including the economy, the attractiveness of your company to new employees and the limited or unlimited availability of the skillsets you are seeking.
In spite of all the pressures associated with the recruitment process, you may be surprised to learn how many employers still make fundamental errors – common, preventable mistakes that drive away good candidates.
A Monster.com survey of more than 200 executives and managers found that half of them decided not to accept an offer because of something that happened during the recruiting process.
These negative experiences included simple missteps like perceived rude treatment, long waits, shallow follow-up talks, an overly long hiring process and interviews that felt disjointed and unprofessional.
While no one would deliberately create a toxic hiring environment, it always pays to heed the little things that leave lasting bad impressions.
That’s especially important considering today’s growing recruitment challenges are set against a backdrop of ever-changing, more sophisticated and more costly recruiting trends.
A successful recruitment process would include these six steps:
Step One: Be clear on what you want.
Job candidates are getting as sophisticated as the recruitment process itself, especially in how they present themselves. So, with more and more candidates that “look good on paper,” it’s probably time to reconsider which qualities actually make someone a great employee.
Step Two: Create a powerful, accurate job description.
“It all starts with the job description.” First, be careful to choose a title that is search engine friendly. Optimize the job title and use keywords throughout the description to boost visibility in search engine results and job boards. And of course, stay true to the description to be sure it accurately reflects the position.
Step Three: What will it take for the candidate to be successful?
Having the right skills and experience is the obvious answer to the first half of this equation. But how about the “right fit” part? Are you looking for a team player? Someone who believes in collaboration? Or is your organization more in the startup stages, where making payroll trumps “process?”
Step Four: Create the best job ad.
This is different than the job description. This is how you sell it. And where, and to whom. Many posting sites have a standard template you simply fill out. But don’t be “standardized” when you use it. Top talent knows a great ad when they see it and will be attracted by it.
Step Five: Promote the position.
Each promotional avenue you use might be different, based on the position you are trying to fill or the type of hire you’re trying to attract, or how well it performed the last few times you used it. That’s why it’s important to have a full understanding of the benefits of each promotional avenue and how each works.
Step Six: Create the right screening questions.
Screening questions can run the gamut, from “Where are you in your job search?” and “When can you start working for us?” to “What attracted you to us?” and “What do you know about our products/services?” Step Six offers a clear, in-depth look at which questions matter most, and why.
Worth the Read:
- Effective Screening Tactics When Recruiting Top Talent
- Recruiting: EEOC Warns About Background Checks
Types of Recruitment
As these six steps show, there are many approaches you can take in your recruitment process. The biggest differences are whether you’re seeking a candidate for an open slot who is already employed by you, or someone from the outside.
Could the best candidates already be in your organization? Filling roles internally cuts the costs and time of advertising for external candidates. Also, an employee is already familiar with how your business works, as well as its values and mission. And this person will get up to speed more quickly than an outsider.
Bonus: Promoting in-house boosts morale and productivity, while protecting institutional knowledge that’s lost when employees leave.
Worth the Read:
- LinkedIn Helps Applicants Gen an Employee Referral
- The 5 ‘Don’ts’ of Employee Referral Programs
- 4 Common Referral Mistakes – And How HR Can Fix Them
Job candidates are becoming as sophisticated as the recruitment process itself.
So, as more candidates “look good on paper,” an important first step for your recruiting team is to consider – and agree upon – which qualities make someone a good employee at your organization.
In most occupations, the technical skills needed to be successful can be taught and learned, and then improved over time through hands-on experience. That’s not meant to downplay technical job skills. But these are the kinds of skills that are very clear on paper. The job candidate either has the required educational degree, and X years of experience, or they don’t.
It’s important to establish what type of person you are looking for. You can’t teach enthusiasm and reliability, or commitment and honesty. Those are the kinds of highly sought qualities that people carry with them throughout their lives and bring with them into the working relationship.
The same is true for qualities like “work ethic” and “self-motivation.” Smart and intellectually curious are also a good pair. It’s hard to go wrong when you hire people with those qualities. Maturity and passion work nicely.
Thankfully, there are a lot of good personality traits to choose from.
As any Scout can tell you, you can start with trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent, then go from there.
Worth the Read:
- Why You Should Be Investing More Time and Money In Recruiting
- Is Corporate Social Responsibility Part of Your Recruiting Emphasis?
It all starts with the job description.
First, be careful to choose a title that is search engine friendly. Optimize the job title and use keywords throughout the description to boost visibility in search engine results and job boards. And of course, stay true to the description to be sure it accurately reflects the position.
Many job descriptions are so generic that they are not helpful for the employer or the job candidate.
Here’s one example from a real-life recruiting ad:
“Growing progressive company seeks dynamic individual with excellent presentation skills and work ethic for customer contact position.”
Are they looking for a sales manager, a retail clerk or a customer service rep in a call center? There’s no way to tell.
Alternately, the job description asks for so much that even a nationally recognized authority would have a hard time qualifying for the job.
A well-crafted job description can serve multiple uses:
- It lets the company narrow the field of applicants to only qualified candidates
- It lets the candidate clearly understand whether he or she should aspire to the position
- It spells out where the position fits in the hierarchy (managerial, supervisory or line job), and
- It can be used to gauge future performance in annual or periodic reviews.
Worth the Read:
- Attract More Applicants: 7-Step Guide to Stellar Job Postings
- 85% of Resumes Contain Lies: 3 Ways to Spot and Stop Them
- Here’s What Trashing Resumes, Applications Can Cost You
Writing the Job Description
Here’s a template for writing a job description that can perform those multiple functions:
1.) Job Title
Be as specific as possible.
“Operator” doesn’t mean much. What is the person supposed to operate?
It is also a mistake to give the role more importance than it really has or ever will have.
Ambitious candidates will see through the bait-and-switch and will soon leave, causing yet another turnover problem.
2.) Job Responsibilities
A list of duties and responsibilities will vary in length, but it’s a good idea to keep it as short as possible, as long as it still conveys a good idea of just what the person will be required to do.
If there are various tasks, a rough estimate of time involved in each will give the candidate a good idea whether he or she can stand it.
For example, a copywriter may be told his colleagues spend 30% of the time on the phone with customers, 30% writing and 30% researching.
Phone work may not be their favorite task, but if it were 70%, the job would be less appealing.
3.) Skills Required
For a sales position, you may require candidates to be able to show that they can independently put together a sales presentation and tailor it to a specific customer in a particular industry.
Many employers place more emphasis on so-called “soft skills,” such as communication skills and leadership potential, which are harder to gauge.
If those soft skills are required, you may ask candidates to be able to show specific examples how they used and applied those skills on previous projects.
Testing companies may also help in these areas to gauge candidates’ natural aptitudes.
4.) Reporting Relationships
Spell out specifically who the position will report to.
And if there will be any direct reports to the candidates, lay out in detail how many people and what kind of workers will need to be supervised.
Everyone wants to know who his or her boss will be, and if they’ll be able to get along with the boss.
The relationship with the direct supervisor is the most important job satisfaction factor, even more than pay and benefits.
Good bosses retain people; bad bosses create constant turnover.
5.) Experience Level
Many companies, especially those without labor unions, do not give salary levels upfront. They do not want to be locked in, and do not want to make others who have been working at the company for some time jealous of new salary levels being offered.
Nevertheless, you will want to indicate whether you’re looking for an entry-level customer service rep or a department head with many years’ experience.
Required experience levels will give candidates some idea whether they fit the job description, are overqualified, or have no hope of being considered.
6.) A Sanity Check
As a final sanity check, you may want to give your job description to a trusted person inside the company, such as a person who is doing a similar job now or the person vacating the position if he or she is leaving on good terms.
- Is this what you do (did)?
- Is there anything that’s not accurate?
- Is anything important left out?
- If you were on the outside, would you apply for this job? Why or why not?
- What would make it sound more attractive to you?
Social Media Recruiting
Social media is a fantastic recruiting tool. Social recruiting allows you to share job posting with your entire network and encourages a two-way conversation.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world, and gives organizations a variety of choices. It’s a great start, but it’s only one place to start looking.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular sites are a must when recruiting socially. Remember that social recruiting takes practice. Here are some tips to put into practice:
- Host a live Q&A to attract candidates. You can do this on apps like Periscope.
- Optimize your firm’s LinkedIn page
- Encourage employees to share your culture online
- Monitor social media for opportunities
- Create your own branding and recruiting videos to post
- Use Facebook and Instagram to draw people in
- Consider using proprietary social media software, like Jobvite or Recruiterbox. There are dozens of affordable options.
Some best practices are to:
- Network and engage with your audience – If you respond to a potential candidate, be personable and start an engaging conversation. You will need to earn their trust and respect, especially if they’re a passive job seeker.
- Highlight your company culture – Showcase your company at its best by sharing employer branding content, celebratory events, milestones reached, and charitable activities in the community. You’ll want to give candidates an idea of what it would be like to work for you.
- Share the right mix of posts – If you talk about your company all the time, you might come off as superior or boring. Mix it up by sharing job openings in the form of humorous posts, local news, industry trends, and topics that your audience may be interested in.
- Get your staff involved – Ask your employees to share job posts and other content on their social media networks.
- Use the appropriate social media platforms – You’ll need to understand your candidate persona to determine the best platforms on which to post your job openings. Spend some time on unfamiliar platforms to gauge if they fit in with your culture.
Worth the Read:
- Social Media Laws By State: Rules Employers Need to Know
- Using Social Media for Recruiting Continues to Grow: Survey
- Social Media Recruiting: 30 Tools HR Can’t Live Without [Infographic]
Employment Application Process
Here are key essential steps to the application process.
Create a job description
Identify the position, including a list of job requirements, special qualifications, characteristics, and experience wanted from a candidate.
While job requirements form the basis for the job description, be sure to include essential functions to be performed in the role and the advantages of working for the company.
Seek out candidates via published job advertisements, social media, and industry events.
As job applications arrive by email or via an applicant tracking system (ATS), the hiring staff reviews résumés/CVs and cover letters based on the criteria established in the planning step. Unqualified candidates’ applications are withdrawn from the applicant pool. Qualified candidates are informed of next steps beginning with a screening interview.
Initial interviews with applicants are typically phone calls with HR representatives. These interviews determine if applicants have the qualifications needed to do the job and serve to further narrow the pool of candidates. HR may also explain the interviewing process during this step.
Depending on the size of the selection committee, several interviews are scheduled for each candidate.
Early interviews are typically in-person, one-on-one interviews with applicants and the hiring manager and focus on applicants’ experience, skills, work history, and availability.
Additional meetings with management, staff, executives, and other members of the organization can be one-on-one or panel interviews, formal or relaxed, on-site, off-site, or online (Skype, Google Hangouts). These interviews are more in-depth; in some organizations, each interviewer focuses on a specific subject or aspect of the job being filled to avoid overlap between interviews and to discover more about the applicants.
Final interviews might be conducted by the company’s senior leadership or an interviewer from a previous round of interviews. These latter-stage interviews are generally extended to a very small pool of top candidates.
Applicant talent assessment
Before, during or after interviews, hiring staff often assign applicants one or more standardized tests to assess personality type, talent (also called pre-employment tests), physical suitability for the job, cognition (reasoning, memory, perceptual speed and accuracy, math, and reading comprehension), and/or emotional intelligence. Some organizations also require applicants to take tests or complete assignments to demonstrate professional skills applicable to the open position.
One of the final steps prior to making a job offer is conducting background checks to review candidates’ criminal record, to verify employment history and eligibility, and to run credit checks. Some organizations also check social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to make sure potential employees are likely to represent the company in a professional manner. Drug testing may also be warranted, depending on the nature of the job.
The hiring staff confers and evaluates applicants based on the interviews, job experience, skills and talent assessments, and all other relevant information (recommendations, e.g.). A top choice should be identified and agreed on. A backup candidate selection should be made, as well. If no candidates meet the hiring criteria, the hiring process should start over.
Once a candidate has been selected for the position, his or her professional references should be contacted. Reference checks can verify candidates’ employment details including job performance, strengths, and weaknesses. A typical question to ask references is “Would you rehire this person?”
Offering the job includes providing an offer letter stating the position’s salary, start date, and other terms and conditions of employment that are based on the agreement between the company and the candidate. It should be clear that the candidate understands the terms of the offer. The candidate may agree and sign, initiate negotiations (typically focusing on salary), or turn down the offer.
Recruitment Tracking & Analytics
Keeping track of candidates can get confusing. Relying on spreadsheets or old email exchanges can leave you in the lurch.
Instead, consider using an applicant tracking system (ATS) that will help you to:
Find and solve hiring bottlenecks, especially the long line of unqualified candidates.
Discover which hiring managers need help, which managers are behind on their hiring duties and which ones need additional resources to ensure the position gets filled.
Track your hiring team’s efficiency and effectiveness as well as track how new hires feel about their jobs and the organization overall.
Determine your best sources for hires. For example, if top candidates are coming from social media.
You’ll want to devote more attention to those platforms.
If you decide to go with applicant tracking software (ATS) you’ll want the option to import data you already have.
It’s also important to have an export function so you can use that data outside of the ATS solution
Another helpful function is a universal search, so you can search for certain biographical data and use that information to sort applicants as well. Most importantly, any solution you pick should come with a robust support team. Software is only when it works, and you want to have a range of options if something goes wrong.