Before the Internet and social media dominated nearly every facet of life, hiring was fairly simple: you’d hang a sign in the front window of your business that read “HELP WANTED” in big bold letters. Then perhaps you’d post a short description of the job you were hiring for in your local newspaper. A day or two later, you’d be flooded with resumes.
The hiring game has changed drastically though, and now it requires recruiters and hiring managers to become more proactive than ever before. Instead of blasting a job description out into the ether and waiting for an influx of responses, those in charge of talent acquisition need to dialogue with potential new employees. You need to focus on branding your business so that when it’s time to add to your team, people know why they should want to work for your company.
Your business’s Internet presence is also an essential part of your hiring success. Now your company needs an authentic and engaging voice both on and offline. So how should you go about recruiting in an era that’s more unique and complex than ever before? Here are some tips:
1. Social media savvy counts in 2016
We all know that social media is a fun way to stay connected with friends. It’s a great strategy for building business connections, too. But beyond that, it’s probably one of your most powerful hiring assets. The 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey found that 92 percent of recruiters are now relying on social media to find their next key hire.
The study also revealed that 87 percent use LinkedIn, 55 percent use Facebook, and 47 percent use Twitter. These professionals aren’t shying away from newer platforms either, so they also turn to Vimeo, Tumblr, and Periscope to see what potential hires are up to. As an added bonus, those who use social media to recruit found a 49 percent improvement in candidate quality.
If you want to join these individuals in using social media to recruit but are unsure where to start, begin by simply using it as a conversation tool. If you sign up for Twitter and immediately start spamming everyone you follow with messages about your company’s job openings, don’t be surprised when you end up on a lot of “block” lists.
People join Twitter to discover interesting and relevant information, not to get harassed by those hoping to hire them. Be aware of this and choose your messaging carefully. To effectively recruit via social media, focus on finding key talent and then having a low-pressure dialogue with them. Once you establish real relationships, you can begin to recruit more effectively.
You should also make it a point to become part of a larger community on social media. One-on-one relationships are great, but when you belong to something larger than yourself and your business, you’re able to leverage your relationships more effectively. Twitter chats are an effective way to do this.
Take some time and research Twitter chats that pertain to your industry. Nearly every field has at least a few that would be worth your time. Not only will you get to illustrate your expertise and build your database of connections, but you might also learn something highly valuable during these conversations. When people see you as someone who wants to share information and learn from others, they’re much more open to chatting with you.
Facebook groups are another powerful way to use social media to recruit. Are there industry-specific groups that you can join? What about more generalized networking groups in your city? Use these forums as a way to connect with people you might not have met otherwise, both online or in person.
2. Don’t discount the power of job search sites
Places like Indeed, Monster, Craigslist, and Simply Hired can put you in touch with qualified candidates who are looking for new opportunities, so don’t shy away from them when your business is ready to hire. It’s important to put plans in place so that you can streamline the process when resumes and cover letters start coming in. This is especially important, as you will likely get dozens of resumes that simply aren’t applicable to what you’re looking for. You’ll need to quickly sort through these to find the individuals who truly are qualified.
However, how you treat applicants matters today, regardless of whether they’re an appropriate fit. Letting applications sit for months without at least acknowledging them can do serious damage to your brand. CareerBuilder’s Candidate Behavior Study found that only 29 percent of applicants got an explanation when they didn’t receive a job offer after interviewing. This group also said that only 14 percent of companies have been responsive to them.
While you might not think that failing to let applicants know when you’ve selected your final hire is important, you can set your company apart from the rest of the pack. At least send a courtesy e-mail to those who were not selected letting them know so that they may move on in their job search process. You never know when you might want to extend an offer to someone in the future, so keeping a positive relationship is essential.
3. Check the health of your company’s website
Nearly every day there’s an article written about the importance of company culture. People don’t just want to clock in, collect a paycheck, and go home anymore. They want to work somewhere their time matters. Ideally they’ll enjoy heading into the office each day and feel as if they’re a part of a team.
For recruiters and hiring managers, this means that there needs to be a focus on telling your business’s story. Instead of hammering home which jobs are open, spend more time telling why your company is a wonderful place to work, and where your business’s values lie. Your company’s website is an effective (and often underrated) way to do this.
When you see your business’s website as a PR tool, you’ll be able to take full advantage of it. Interested applicants can visit your site anytime day or night, even when you’re not there to take a phone call and answer their questions.
By visiting the site, they can also find out mountains of information about your business, including what projects you’re working on, what kinds of people work there, and what values are most important to the brand. However, if your business’s site is bland, outdated, or non-functioning, this PR tool fails to do its job.
If you’re ready to up your hiring efforts, start by taking an analytical look at your company’s site. Does the content really express what your brand is all about? Is it written in a personal and engaging tone? Do you highlight employees and current projects? Do you showcase past accolades in a tasteful way? Most importantly, do you post current job openings and make it easy for individuals to submit their application?
Creating an easy portal that requires only one or two steps for an individual to submit their materials is essential. From there, you should funnel all the resumes you receive into a place that’s easy to go back to later should you decide that you’d like to contact these applicants again when new positions become available.
4. Tap your employees’ resources
If you’ve built a dependable team of employees who help power your business, it only makes sense to use these individuals when you’re on the hunt for new talent. Employee referral programs are an effective way to find and keep your next great hire. In fact, one study shows that businesses with active employee referral rates have average retention rates of 46 percent.
Don’t be afraid to ask your current team members if they’ve got former co-workers, friends, or other connections who might be interested in joining your organization. Instead of blindly leafing through resume after resume, working through referrals allows you to go into the interview process knowing more about the individual, and with the assurance that an employee you already know and trust believes they might be a good fit.
One way to make employee referral programs more effective is to incentivize your team members. Offer a bonus if you hire their referral and this individual stays on with your company for a certain amount of time.
A key point to the success of an employee referral program: never pressure your current staff to participate or else you’ll end up getting flooded with resumes from candidates who are a poor fit, just so your employees can say they tried. Let it be an optional thing so you truly are getting the best of the best.
5. Break out of your comfort zone
Many professionals inadvertently end up running in small circles, having the same conversations with the same people without fully realizing it. This can become dangerous when you’re looking to hire, as your network is much more limited. You may end up extending offers to the same type of person over and over, or eventually you’ll run out of new talent to choose from.
To prevent this from happening, make it a point to shake up your normal routine. Going to the same networking events every week is fine, but if you want to see different results with your recruiting, venture decidedly out of your comfort zone. Join organizations you wouldn’t normally think to become a part of, and when you go to events force yourself to talk to people you wouldn’t normally chat up.
If you’ve never talked to a software developer before, seek out a professional who does just that. This is an easy way to ensure that you’re not inadvertently homogenizing your workplace. Additionally, you never know who your new connections might know, which can become highly beneficial when it’s time to hire.
6. Don’t pigeonhole your current employees
Sometimes well-meaning managers get shortsighted. Perhaps you hired someone as an assistant to the assistant when they were 22, and now they’re 30 and it’s hard for you to fully fathom how much professional development they’ve accomplished in those years.
Don’t forget that promoting internally can be a powerful tool when used properly. To do this, you need to look at your current staff members with an open mind. Don’t allow yourself to pigeonhole them based on who they were when you hired them years ago.
When you’re ready to expand your team, take a close look at who you’ve already got on-staff. Could any of these individuals be promoted to fill the open role? Just because someone is currently holding one position, doesn’t mean that this is the only way in which they can serve your business.
Take a look at skills, past experience, and your employees’ passions to see if you might be able to find a way to use their talents in a different way than before. Not only is promoting from within a good morale boost for both the individual and the rest of the team, but it also cuts down on transition time since there’s no need to get this person up to speed on company policies and protocol.
When it comes to finding your next great hire in 2016, it’s all about taking a proactive approach and building real relationships with professionals. You want to go after both active and passive candidates in order to increase your chances of finding someone who fits the role perfectly.
However, beyond that, you want to engage in meaningful conversations with these individuals in order to build lasting connections. This way, even if the person isn’t right for that particular job opening, you can keep the door open for opportunities down the road.
What do you think? How are you finding the best new talent?