Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

5 Tips to Attract Better Candidates in HigherEd

Attracting top talent is increasingly difficult in today’s competitive job market. This is especially true for HigherEd since colleges and universities are competing with each other and with the corporate world for candidates. Institutions today are facing staffing shortages in financial aid offices and in IT departments, and are losing faculty to burnout. If your institution is hiring, take a look at these 5 tips to attract better candidates. 

1. Build a better applicant process

Job-seekers are searching for—and even applying for—jobs on their mobile devices more than ever. They expect more and faster communication, mobile access to information, and a seamless recruiting experience. According to CUPA-HR, “most under-25-year-olds have poor perceptions of higher education culture.” Changing that perception—especially for the next generation of workers—means embracing technology. That first impression goes a long way. 53% of millennials say they prefer employers to use familiar technology and expect seamless digital experiences, and that number will only increase with the next generation. A modern, user-friendly applicant process shows candidates that your institution is forward looking and tech-savvy, encouraging top talent to apply.

2. Use technology to evaluate candidates 

There are many recruitment technologies available that can save you both time and money in your recruitment process, build a more positive experience for both applicants and hiring teams, and attract more candidates. Artificial intelligence can take some of the scheduling and communication burden off of an HR team, while also improving communication speed for candidates who expect instant replies. Candidates are more likely to pass on applying or continuing with the application if the recruiting process takes too long or they aren’t getting the information they need in a timely manner, so take advantage of an AI scheduling tool or chatbot to streamline the process. 

Video interviews are another time-saver, especially now, when candidates aren’t always able to come to campus. A one-way video interview can take the place of a phone screening, giving you much more insight into a candidate’s thought process and personality while also offering more flexibility to both parties. Your team can seamlessly integrate video interviews into your application process thanks to the partnership between PeopleAdmin and SparkHire.

3. Move quickly

Slow hiring processes don’t just cost you time and money—they might actually cost you talent. Many recruitment teams now make job offers within just a week of the beginning of the interview process. CUPA-HR noted that colleges and universities may lose their “top candidate to another organization if they become disinterested during a long and tedious hiring process.” A quicker hiring process also means that you’re getting someone in the door, through the onboarding process, and supporting your team in less time. An efficient onboarding process can bring candidates to your doorstep: don’t waste anyone’s time!

4. Reimagine the workplace

For many workplaces, remote and hybrid office models are the new normal. Slack’s Future Forum found that 83% of workers don’t want to work in an office full time. Their surveys indicated that 63% of workers wanted a hybrid office model, 20% wanted a full-time remote role, and only 17% want to work in an office full-time. With so many remote and hybrid roles available now, it’s important for HigherEd to consider ways to reimagine the typical campus workplace. Hybrid and flexible work are top attractions for candidates, and some institutions are moving in that direction with the support of technology and digitized processes. Still, it’s also helpful to highlight the other benefits your community can offer. If you’re asking employees to come to campus, talk about the community that you’ve built, how you’re supporting employee wellness, and other ways you offer flexibility. 

5. Create a culture of growth

According to a Gallup study about upskilling, 65% of workers consider professional development opportunities when evaluating a job. A culture that values growth, professional development and learning, and upskilling is vital to both attract and retain employees. When advertising your roles, showcase this commitment by mentioning your institution’s professional development policies in job descriptions or by advertising stories of internal career growth on your social media pages. 

Final thoughts

Despite the tough competition for the best talent today, there are steps your team can take to ensure that your open roles are attracting candidates that are right for your institution. Remember to take advantage of technology and digitization to deliver a top-tier candidate experience, decrease your time-to-hire, and bring your talent processes into a new era.

About the Author

As the Marketing Campaigns Lead at PeopleAdmin, Ellie Smith leads the content marketing strategy, creating thought leadership and brand awareness. She has been a New York City-based marketing and communications specialist for 5 years.

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