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Recruitment Strategies to Help You Attract and Keep Top Talent

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Attracting and retaining top talent has been one of the major priorities in Human Resources for years now. As the market gets more and more competitive, it is our job to come up with original and successful strategies to attract that talent. If your organization’s recruitment strategies haven’t changed in the past few years, then it is time to consider doing so. Here’s why.

According to Engage for Success,

  • Even with high unemployment, talent is still hard to recruit. 60% of North American companies are having trouble attracting employees with critical skills.
  • Talent shortages and mismatches are impacting profitability now. One in four CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent challenges. One in three is concerned that skill shortages will impact their company’s ability to innovate effectively. Skill shortages are seen as a top threat to business expansion.
  • Discontented employees are starting to look elsewhere. In a survey by Global Business Consulting Firm Right Management, 84 percent of the employees polled said they plan to look for a new position that year. An American Psychological Association survey found that half of all employees who do not feel “valued” at work, intend to bolt.

As an HR professional, you don’t want your company to be part of these statistics, so it is time to make a change if you haven’t already done so.

Culture is Everything

Millennials want to work for companies that have a great culture. Good company culture helps people feel more motivated in the workplace, which in return can help increase performance. When a person is looking for a job, they scour the company’s website to see what their culture is like.

If the company’s culture is not what they are looking for, then they will most likely go to the next business. Your company culture should embrace creative and innovative work. It should accept all ideas and encourage employees to speak their minds freely. What’s more, having a great company culture can help boost your brand and improve your reputation. Need some ideas on how to improve your company culture? Read my blog “Fun & Creative Ways to Build Your Team and Improve Your Company Culture”.

Be Generous with the Perks & Benefits You Offer

This correlates directly with your company culture. In order to attract top talent, you must be able to offer perks and benefits that are different than what the competition is offering. This means that you will have to research your target audience and offer perks and benefits that are attractive to them.

For example, if your goal is to hire millennials, then you will need to get creative and offer perks such as discounts, paid time off, etc. Most companies are starting to offer perks like free lunches, unlimited paid time off (PTO), on-site daycare, paid parental leave, paid volunteer time, travel stipend, student loan reimbursements, and much more. Depending on your budget, there are many creative perks you can offer. Older generations think all millennials are looking to work in young offices that have ping-pong tables and fancy leather couches. However, most millennials will choose to work for a company that offers more time off over shallow perks like games and open-offices.

Tailor Your Recruiting Strategies to Your Target Audience

This means that in order for your hiring process to be successful, you need to use the right channels and language in order to target the right audience. For example, if you are trying to hire millennials then you should be sure to have your job posting on mobile apps since millennials use their mobile devices more often than a desktop.

Some companies have even shifted their recruiting focus to social media. UPS has done a great job with this. Since they were focusing on being more diverse, they made a video that shows women in different roles within the company. This shows that UPS researched their audience and repositioned their recruiting process in a language and channel that would be right for their audience. Needless to say, their process was successful.

Offer Flexibility and Encourage Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is one of the most important things for everyone. Not only are employees interested in flexible work hours, but they also care about having a life outside the workplace. Twenty-eight percent of employees say flexibility is a reason to stay with a current job or take a new one, and that percentage is even higher among millennials (32 percent) and women (31 percent). What’s more, studies show that employees report that they are more productive and more engaged in their work when they are able to balance the demands of work with other aspects of their lives. With flexible work schedules, employees are able to experience these benefits:

  • Flexibility to meet family needs, personal obligations, and life responsibilities conveniently.
  • Reduced consumption of employee commuting time and fuel costs.
  • Reduces employee burnout due to overload. Flexibility means employees can take a break when they need it without incurring the wrath of a boss.
  • It allows people to work when they accomplish the most, feel fresh, and enjoy working. (eg. morning person vs. night person).

Remember, it is your job to help your company stand out in a competitive market. Improving your culture, offering creative perks and benefits, tailoring your recruiting strategies to the right audience, and being flexible is just a start. There are many other recruiting strategies that can aid your hiring process, you just have to be creative. Keep in mind that in order to streamline your process, you should invest in a good Applicant Tracking System. 

Understand Your Company's Strengths to Attract New Candidates

The hiring process is just that, a process that we follow in order to find the right candidate to meet the needs of our organization. Sometimes this process, along with many others, fall so much into our ‘routine’ that we forget to challenge them. Why do we have three in-person interviews before putting an offer out to a candidate? Is the test we administer really necessary, or will we hire regardless of the results? Just because the path has been paved for you does not mean you should follow it. In fact, I challenge you to question your hiring process and use those around you to improve upon it. 

Who was the last person you hired? Start with this person. What attracted them to your company in the first place? Were there things about the website or social media presence that lured them in? What sparked their continued interest during the interview process? Once they were onboarded did their initial expectations meet the actual day-to-day of the job? These are the questions you’ll want to tackle in order to find the true strengths of your company.

Get to Know Your Newest Hires

Typically, after you hire someone you’ll check in with them to make sure things are going smoothly, their training is making sense, and that the overall ‘fit’ is desirable. A big part of engagement comes from employees knowing they matter and that if necessary, they have someone to turn to for instruction. Instead of the standard ‘90 day review’, take your new hire to lunch and get some value out of it - for the both of you. 

Making it more of a conversation about why the new hire was chosen and even why they decided to accept the offer will prove to be much more valuable than asking if expectations are met. Start by acknowledging why the employee was chosen from the other candidates. What stuck out to you about this individual? Was it their background? Did they show promise and passion? Remind them of why you offered them the job in the first place, then open the conversation up to why they accepted the offer. Starting the conversation off in a way that makes it about them will help them open up to you about why they ultimately joined the team. 

I once had a boss who was not shy in his praises of my experience and background. When talking about upcoming projects, he would admit his excitement for the outcome and what I would be able to make of it. This alone made me want to work harder because it showed me that he thought a lot of me and my abilities. It also reminded me of why I took the job in the first place. The company was full of individuals with a ‘start-up’ mentality, which I admired a lot, and knowing they held me in the same regard was the ultimate compliment. You see, just those quick mentions of why my boss thought I was the right person for the job really reassured me that I had made the right choice and reminded me of why I loved that company. 

Ask For – and Accept– Feedback

After you explain to your employee why they got the job, solicit feedback from them on why they accepted. Start by asking why they applied for the job and what about the company stuck out to them. Was there anything during the interview process that reassured their expectations of the company/job? What about the company culture stood out during the hiring process? This information will provide hiring managers with a better base of what to talk about during their next interview, or tidbits to add within the job posting. 

The more you conduct these one-on-one feedback meetings, you more trends you will see. If every new employee talked at length about the job opportunity and growth, then you know that is a major selling point for candidates. If you want to attract the best talent, you need to put your best foot forward. Use the feedback you’re receiving to continue to bring in new employees and sell your company brand from an employment standpoint. 

Repeat Until It’s a Habit 

Don’t just do a few one-on-ones and call it good. Continue to meet with your new hires as you grow your team. Even if you suspect you’ll hear the same information over again, it is good to establish a good rapport with your new team members. Sharing information such as why you found someone’s skills to be of value, or why you wanted them to work for you allows for a more open dialogue and hopefully a better relationship in the long run.  

A great reason to make these meetings a focus, other than the few reasons I’ve already expressed, is it really allows you to gain perspective from an outsider. Not only that, but it will allow you to keep your company vision in check. For example, we at Dominion really pride ourselves on our open and accepting company culture. I have always felt as if I can come to work just as I am and not be judged by that. If during the onboarding process we find out that new employees don’t feel this way, we know we have some adjustments we need to make in order to get things back on track and realign with our idea of what the culture at Dominion should be. 

If you’re serious about selling your company image to possible applicants, the best way to do it is utilizing your existing talent pool. If this isn’t on your agenda already, consider incorporating it into your onboarding process. I would suggest giving the new employee enough time to get settled into their role before bombarding them with such a meeting, but schedule it nonetheless so it doesn’t go forgotten. You might find that this little change alone will make a big difference when it comes to recruiting and your pre-existing employer-employee relationships. 


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