Wondering why great candidates are not knocking on your door for that awesome position that you have available? You’re probably wondering how on Earth people can be passing this up. It’s the opportunity you think people have been begging for years to apply for, and yet all of a sudden, when you finally have an opportunity to post, where is everybody?
In Canada, our first quarter of 2018 showed unemployment numbers lower than it has been in 40 years. This on top of the fact we are already in the midst of talent shortage. What that means is that people have a lot of choices, and they may have already moved on to your competitor, or even completely re-trained in another industry.
The question I get from a lot of HR professionals, business owners, and leaders is, what do I do? How can I still get noticed in the midst of all of this competition? After all, one of the problematic outcomes of these gaps in unfilled positions is – other people have to pick up the slack. They get frustrated, burnt out and you worry about them leaving as well! To fill these positions is a frustrating, costly and perhaps an unrewarding part of your job. To make matters worse, when you finally reach the point of finding the perfect candidate they say, “I just accepted another position.”
All this adds to your already bursting work, more tireless paperwork, not to mention the nuisance factor. Good news is, out of this challenge comes an opportunity to consider your current recruitment practices and make sure they are setting you up for success. You may have been able to coast when it was an employers’ market. Plus, best practices are evolving. Here are eight common roadblocks to recruiting top talent.
- Having a traditional job posting process and job description
Does your job posting look, feel and sound very official, typical and, well, blah? Does it contain the same words as all the other organizations in the industry? Words like, good communication skills, word processing skills, team player…see how boring this is? How you just blend in with the rest? Separate yourself. Make yours stand out and yes, some of the positions you’re posting will have collective agreements behind it, and you need to make sure it’s vetted and so forth but try to make it interesting and separate yourself from the pack. Even if you’re a hospital or a large pharmacy company, you can still separate yourself. What juicy words do you use to describe your organization? Do you paint a picture of an ideal day for potential candidates? Do you share your successes so there’s a sense of pride (they call that “Presuasion” which by the way is a delicious read.)
- Social media let-down
We know people spend a lot of time on social media. Are your job postings circulating there? And I don’t just mean on the same main sites everyone else is posting on. Is it in the places your ideal candidate spends their time (professionally, personally) such as LinkedIn groups, Association Lists, Facebook? And is it all corporately driven or do your own folks share a posting and say, “Hey come join my team!” Social media is really one of your best recruitment strategies because it’s low pressure, high consumption, with reliable analytics and low to no cost. Ensure your raving fans – employees, partners, suppliers – know they can share your posting.
- Recruiters are within
Are you using your existing employees and leaders as your recruiters? If they love working in your organization, they’re going to want to help, and likely know a great candidate. Just like you could probably determine, just by meeting somebody for the first time, if they would be a good candidate. Conferences and networking events are great ways to spread the word; it doesn’t just have to all be in the busy and perhaps overwhelmed HR professionals’ hands.
- Experience only
Are you looking for just experience? Experience is important, particularly in highly technical skilled workforce jobs, and those jobs are the ones where we have the biggest amount of boom. Not only is it important to look beyond how you traditionally would consider experience, but there’s such a strong movement to hiring people from a values-based, heart-based orientation as well. The fact that you can’t find somebody that fits exactly the technical or skill requirements, may actually be a great opportunity because now you can start hiring for their values, and who they’re going to be in the job.
- What does your website portray?
Does your website have a very “corporate” feel? Does it feel inclusive? Does it feel helpful and informative? What are the words that you would hope that people would experience and feel from your job recruitment process? Case in point: I was the opening keynote at a company’s annual sales kickoff meeting. The only thing I could find online was a series of stuffy videos of the CEO talking about their stock prices, the mission, vision and values and where they were located. Yet, they were an incredibly dynamic group of people, keen to grow and super innovative. The website completely misrepresented how engaging, progressive and supportive the culture actually was. Go to your website now. Does your website feel interesting, inviting and inclusive of potential candidates? Or could you actually turn off the people you most want to attract? I know that that’s not a small and easy task to update or even replace a website, but, by perhaps by making some tweaks, you just may attract the right people on the short term.
- Communication with a live person
Is there a person in your organization that a potential new hire could speak with? Often, what I see, especially in large organizations, is there’s a very formal process with many layers between you and a live person. It’s great when you’ve got buckets and buckets of people applying and hardly any position (it works for you as it weeds people out). However, in our current reality, some may not even be willing to jump through the hoops. How many steps does your recruitment process take before actual human touch? If there are about 16 steps before you even get to a real human being, you’ve probably lost those very heart-based, relationship-oriented people who are in demand, not just because of how the process made them feel, but also because it will take too long! Plus, someone can be disqualified because they missed a technical step or didn’t check a box. Consider what it feels like from the new or potential employee standpoint. If it feels cold, it’s not giving a great first impression.
- Have a realistic job preview
Do you have a realistic job preview option? In other words, letting someone experience the job, colleagues, and culture before officially starting. One of the things, of course, is getting people in the door doing the recruitment process, but when you’ve found someone great, why not do you both a favour to ensure fit by letting them experience you, boots on the ground, first. Even if it’s just an hour or half a day, both sides can gauge fit much more accurately than an artificial set of interviews? And, it continues to separate you from the pack as virtually no one is doing this.
- Love it or leave it.
If you’re not in love with your position, you’re probably not the best person to recruit for your organization. This may be a very challenging thing to hear, but if you’re feeling burnt out, or if your HR team is completely overwhelmed, the question is, who is the person that’s going to be able to represent your organization best? Maybe you need to give a little bit of self-love, a bit of appreciation to those people who are working so hard to bring people into the organization, so that they can put on the best, most resourceful and resilient face to the organization. Because the job seeker is very savvy. They’re scanning and assessing to see how people seem to be experiencing their own job to help decide, do I want this job?
What other tips do you have? What have you improved or tweaked in your recruitment process that we can learn from? Comment below. And of course, if you would like these tips every week, you are welcome to subscribe to my YouTube Channel or receive the Greatness Magnified weekly VLOG in your inbox by signing up here.