There’s no more exciting time than when your company is growing. Your team creates positions to reach more customers and pursue new business endeavors. Right now, there’s also an unfortunate downside to expanding your organization: a lack of talent.
In fact, 77 percent of companies planned to increase their workforce by at least 25 percent, per our 2018 Growth Hiring Trends report. Yet at the beginning of December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 7.1 million positions unfilled. It’s clear recruiters are facing a lack of active job seekers.
While this is a new situation for talent acquisition professionals, the solution is surprisingly old-school. Right now, candidates hold the power and they don’t want to be treated like another file in your ATS. While technology is incredibly important to recruiting, it’s time to look back at tactics that have fallen to the wayside and find a way to blend them with today’s trends.
1. Focusing on in-person networking
Technology has given us countless new ways to meet and engage with job seekers. From apps to social media, it’s possible for recruiters to find candidates from around the world. But at the same time, it’s important to remember the power of relationships built on in-person networking.
Great candidates receive messages from recruiters all the time. Often, all the names and emails blur together for these job seekers. Mass messaging also has an impersonal feel that doesn’t give the best first impression.
By attending in-person networking events, you create a foundation with talent that’s built on trust. Candidates can look you in the eye and see how sincere you are about addressing their professional needs.
But don’t just make time for in-person recruiting when you’re desperate to fill a role. Any time you meet someone new at a professional event, find out more about who they are.
Later, write notes about their skills and personality to keep with their contact information. You might not have a job for them at the moment, but they could be perfect for a future opportunity. When you reach out about that role with more personal details about their fit, they’ll recall meeting you and it will hold more weight than if you’d started the relationship with a mass email.
2. Focusing on potential, not experience
Much of the hiring process is about finding evidence of a candidate’s skills. Recruiters look at resumes, ask about previous experiences, and call references. For a long time, this was one of the best strategies for identifying talent. But now companies are looking for different, less common skills.
Big shifts in technology and business have opened doors for organizations. But the changes came so quickly, the workforce hasn’t been able to adapt yet. In fact, in our previously mentioned study, the No. 1 problem respondents faced was a lack of qualified candidates.
One solution is prioritizing potential during the hiring process. Look for candidates who are willing to learn and are excited about the new direction your company is taking. While it might take time to train them, it saves time searching for the perfectly-qualified candidate.
To determine whether a candidate will have potential once trained, focus on understanding their thought process during the interview. The applicant might not have the right answers right now, but by observing how they interpret information and approach problems, you can see how they would react.
One good option is to pose a problem outside the candidate’s wheelhouse. Present a scenario to see how they work. For example, you can ask job seekers how they would go about making an iPhone. Few people know all it would take to recreate a device, but candidates with a high capacity to learn will ask questions and break down their options in an insightful way.
3. Focusing on quality over quantity when contacting potential candidates
When unemployment is high, finding job seekers is like shooting fish in a barrel. This is why recruiters started sending out mass emails to attract candidates. You could reach out to hundreds of people and the odds of getting responses from several qualified candidates were very high.
Now, the most talented workers already have jobs. So when they see an impersonal email from a recruiter, they send it straight to the trash. Those messages are too vague to tempt them away from their current employer.
Instead of sending out tons of recruiting messages, start focusing on the quality of each one. You might receive fewer candidate leads, but those who do respond will have a genuine interest in your position.
Take time to research candidates by looking at their online profiles. This will paint a picture of who they are and what they’re looking for professionally. With that information, you can send the candidate an engaging email, specific to them.
If you’re unsure what personal touches work best, try the following approaches:
- Include a recent article related to their interests
- Reference a mutual connection you have on social media
- Discuss a specific part of their resume you find impressive and how it relates to your organization
Also be sure to include more detailed information about the organization and the role. People are unlikely to leave a job they know and are comfortable in. To get candidates to take a chance on your company, they’ll need a clear idea of what they’re getting into.
Right now, it’s not easy finding quality employees. But if you’re willing to revisit recruiting tips from yesteryear, you’ll be able to engage with candidates in a unique and effective way.