August 27, 2013
Be the First to Make the Shift By Christy Robb
Attracting Top Talent in the Job Seeker's Market
Over the last several years of the worst recession in recent history, employees were overwhelmingly hit with job loss and uncertainty in employment, which caused many employees to stay put, even in jobs that left them unsatisfied. As a result, employers were in a position to place best practices in talent recruitment on the back burner and offer fewer incentives to attract candidates. It was an employer’s job market.
Today, there is evidence that the economy is improving, and employees are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of survival-mode employment.
How prepared are you to compete for today’s top talent? Consider taking a look at some of the latest numbers that suggest employees in almost every industry and nearly every state are finally ready to revive their careers and take a few risks they might have avoided only one year ago.
What the Numbers Tell Us
The U.S. Department of Labor found this April that the number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs went up 8 percent this year, and that number is 19 percent higher than two years ago. In a recent study conducted by Simply Hired, the growth rate of job openings in 2013 is between over 4,000 and over 6,000 jobs per month from coast to coast. Moreover, Simply Hired found that there were 6.2 unemployed people per job during the recession, and in June 2013, that number dropped to 3 per job, as evidenced in the chart to the right.
Lou Adler(1), a leader in the field of talent recruitment and retention, conducted a survey of over 11,000 people, where 95 percent stated that they would be willing to explore a new job if it appeared better than the one they already have. Employees are ready to move and increasing numbers of opportunities await their enthusiasm.
You know that an effective recruitment strategy will help you ensure you score the “best fit candidates” for your positions. Today’s savvy candidates no longer have the mentality of “take what you can get” when it comes to jobs. Their new attitude is “pursue what you want”.
What Can You Do To Recruit The Best?
So, the question remains, what can you do to attract top talent in an atmosphere of born again career and job changers? Consider the tips below to be a leader in talent recruitment in today’s job force.
1. Be proactive in your search for the best
Your “best fit” candidates may not know to look for you, so be proactive about finding the candidates you want for your team.
You can do this by visiting the same channels as these candidates. LinkedIn is a professional social media outlet that allows you to easily conduct searches for key words representing your opportunities and contact people who look intriguing.
In addition, sponsoring your opportunities on Simply Hired allows you to leverage cutting edge search technology that matches your job descriptions with great efficiency to the specific searches of interested and talented candidates.
2. Promote your employee referral program
Who knows you better than your own employees?
How can you engage your employees in contributing to your recruiting efforts? Make it easy for them! You have to advertise your program regularly to your employees and emphasize the reward they receive for a successful referral as well as the ease of participating in the program.
In other words, if your employees have to jump through hoops on your intranet, remember program passwords, and create a labor-intensive referral document, they are less likely to engage. Consider creating a special internal email address where they can simply attach and send resumes. This is yet another practice that makes your current employees feel trusted, as valuable members of your team, whose input you seek to propel the company forward.
3. Focus on company culture
Employers overestimate how little effort it can take to make an employee feel valued. You can start by holding a meeting or conducting a survey of employee ideas and wishes on the matter. Share the results with everyone, and begin implementing a few of the strategies. Southwest(2) reported a policy they adopted that their employees are truly their “first customers”. The reputation of this type of employee environment can spread like wild fire to active job seekers. Today’s savvy candidates research a company’s culture, and it can be a deal breaker if they do not like what they learn. There are mountains of ideas to improve your culture. Just take action.
4. In a candidate’s market, you have to sell yourself too
Your company places a great deal of focus on your external brand. What about your internal brand? Think marketing meets recruiting. When you seek top talent, you are asking people to consider investing their time, talents, and energy in contributions to your company. In this sense, you are marketing a product to the candidates you pursue, and the product is your workplace culture. What message can you send to impressive candidates that represents your corporate environment and attracts them to your culture? If you can leverage the skills of your marketing team to assist you in creating publicity materials to woo the talent, you will be ahead of the field in your recruiting efforts.
Even without the help of the marketing department, you can generate sales materials that advertise your company to prospective talented candidates. Some companies hand out pens and notebooks with their company logo, and others provide materials that might include a letter from the CEO or the human resources team touting the incentives for working at the company. This approach gives you the opportunity to act as a partner to the candidates you deem especially valuable for the company. (This introduces a nice contrast to the rigid reputation many recruiting teams have developed as people who seek to “screen candidates out”. Who would you rather work for?)
Daniel Pink’s book “Drive” makes the point that today’s employees, while needing to receive competitive compensation, are mostly drawn to opportunities based on intrinsic motivation. Employers who leverage this desire by promoting a healthy, positive, challenging environment, will have it made in the categories of recruitment and retention.
Now, don’t put this article aside and dream of the days when you can compete for the best. The time is now. Where will you begin?
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