The unemployment rate is in the 4% range. Economists are talking about full employment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has soared to unprecedented heights. Business is growing and according to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Affairs, companies are looking to fill six million open positions.
The same research notes that fewer Americans are actively looking for work. You don’t have to be an economist to understand that these conditions are a recipe for a shrinking candidate pool.
The pendulum has swung and recently it is the job seeker rather than the employer who has the power. That doesn’t mean you have to give away the shop to get people to work for your company. But it does mean that just hanging up a “Help Wanted” sign in the morning doesn’t mean that you’ll be staffed up by the afternoon.
People still want to work, and companies still need employees. All that you need to do to get more top candidates in your ranks is to apply a more strategic approach for recruitment, one that involves task management, adaptation to change and maybe even project planning software. Follow these seven steps for better hiring strategies and watch the talent line up for the opportunity to work for you.
1. Hire in an Agile Way
The primary challenges of hiring in a job-seeker’s market are: the available talent pool is low, the costs of hiring is high and new employee turnover increases. Plus, existing team members might be swept up and hired away on top of that. So, how can you attract the best talent and hire quickly to reduce costs and risks?
Use a hiring strategy that employs agile thinking. Agile is a methodology in project management and software development, which uses short sprints to stay flexible for stakeholder feedback. Staying flexible and adapting to change can help with the hiring process, and using a project planning software can help you refine your plan, track progress and implement changes.
Before you plan your hiring process and post your job listing, get collaborative feedback on what the team needs for every role that you’re trying to fill. This ensures that everyone is on the same page before you put out the job requirement listing. Use that feedback to refine the job description and consider hiring in a nimbler fashion than perhaps you or your organization is accustomed to.
2. Refine the Process
How long is the hiring cycle in your organization? Do you post the want ad, interview a slew of candidates, narrow down the candidates to a handful and then run them through another ringer of more and more interviews with different levels of administrators?
That’s the old-fashioned hire strategy. And while your candidates are mired in that process, you might find that your most promising applicant opted out because they’ve been recruited by a more proactive company. Google is one of the most selective companies when hiring, but still manage to hire with speed. With three million applications yearly, but only 7,000 hired, they need to be both selective and efficient. So, Google streamlines the process, and regardless of the size of your organization, you’ll want to as well, given the current up-economy.
Begin your streamlined process by identifying your organization’s need, and then plan from there and get buy-in from everyone involved. This way you can move forward without unwanted delays from lack of communication. Next comes the search. Instead of using a wide net in hope of landing that big fish, try a more focused approach, and maybe even outsource the process to a recruiter.
Now you want to separate the wheat from the chaff. Use telephone screening to make sure only the best of the best are brought into the office, so when they arrive you can pull the trigger on hiring. When you do face-to-face interviews, keep it short. You don’t want the ideal candidate to lose interest. Also, be transparent with the candidate. Tell them where they are in the process and what to expect from you going forward. You’re probably not the only company who is interviewing them.
3. Recruit Candidates Already Employed
Sometimes the best employee is already employed; they’re just not working for you — yet. There are plenty of talented employees who feel stuck or underappreciated, and they’re brushing off their resume.
They’re probably already looking, but you’ll be more successful if you can catch them before they’re actively looking. How can you do that? Don’t seek the help of a fortune teller but rather keep your ears and eyes open for hints that people are ready to jump ship.
One way to execute this hiring strategy is by socializing. A good place to start is on social media, which is a great platform for connecting with talented people. Twitter feeds are surprisingly ripe with sweet fruit about to drop, and you want to be there to catch it when it does. Networking functions can be ideal, too. Get out there and meet people in person, expand your base and lay the ground work for hiring those prospects in the future.
4. Reach Out Far and Wide
Sometimes you’ll hear companies complain that they can’t get any talented applicants to answer their want ads. If you ask them where they pitched the job, they’ll usually mention some mega-job posting website.
It’s likely that you’re going to get lost on such a large platform, and even if you can refine your search terms, the sites are often too broad in their approach. That means you’ll have a lot of under-qualified applicants before you reach good ones, and that’s all before you’ve even started the decision-making process.
There are two fixes for this. One, you can seek out more targeted job sites that serve only the professionals you’re considering for the position. Two, you can look at other options besides website postings for getting your job listing out there.
Attend conventions, trade shows and conferences related to the position you need to fill, and get the word out. Reach out to your network and seek referrals from colleagues and even your current employees.
5. What Can You Offer?
While looking for the perfect candidate, don’t neglect to make yourself the perfect employer. If candidates are reaching out to several potential employers at once, then you need to differentiate yourself.
First off, be perceived as a great employer and a great place to work. What’s your culture like? You’re not going to change it, so, finger’s crossed, it’s a good one. Of course, people have varying opinions of what a good office culture is, so find the candidate that fits yours. Making your company an appealing destination should be critical to your hiring strategy, so take care of the basics like office cleanliness.
Secondly, and here you do have some room to change, make sure you’re offering a competitive compensation and benefits package. Benefits and perks can often seal the deal even more than salary negotiations. Beyond the basic health and vacation package, you might want to negotiate a schedule where the employee can work from home on some days or has more flexibility with the hours they work..
6. Be Realistic About the Job
Sometimes, the fear of not being able to fill the position will make employers paint a picture of the position and the company environment that is more fantasy than reality. If you think it’s hard to hire good employees in the current economic climate, think about how difficult it is to retain them, especially if you misrepresented yourself and the job.
Transparency is key here. The candidate likely has an eye into your organization, either through colleagues or some other means. So, you’re not fooling anyone. Therefore, don’t try. Put up testimonials on your website. Let people see what it’s like to work there. This honest approach might attract candidates.
When you have the candidate in your office, don’t sugar-coat the job. Give them a detailed list of their responsibilities. Be realistic and don’t overburden them with duties, but also be clear about their role.
7. Train Your Interviewers
Whether it’s you or someone else who’s in charge of the hiring process, it’s crucial that they know what they’re doing. You and the company have worked hard to make yourself and the position attractive, and you finally found the best candidate. You don’t want to lose them at this critical juncture by conducting a poor interview.
Not everyone knows how to conduct an interview. You want to ask the right questions because how and what the person answers will help sway your decision. But you also want to respect the candidate’s time and keep the questions on target.
There are also technical issues, such as cost per hour, turnover and knowledge of the whole hiring process to keep in mind. The interviewer is also the face of the organization, so it’s important that they stay on brand.
Hiring a new employee is a job in and of itself, and can require extensive planning and day-to-day management. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software than can help you plan, monitor and report on the hiring process. Then, once you find the right candidate, our software will give that new employee everything they need to succeed. Try it today with this free 30-day trial.