Six Secrets to Hiring Top Talent

January 3, 2017 – As competition for talent intensifies this year, it is more important than ever for hiring managers to make precise and sound decisions when bringing new people onboard. A recent study by Jobvite outlines six ways for hiring managers and recruiters to better leverage their skills to recruit and retain talent in 2017.

Here they are, along with some additional suggestions:

1) Make Analytics & Reports Secret Weapons 

According to Jobvite’s ‘Recruiter Nation Survey,’ 72 percent of recruiters claimed that data analytics were important in the hiring process, while a Human Capital Institute survey reported that 80 percent of leaders are still using “gut feelings and personal opinions” to drive their talent management decisions. That’s because knowing data is important and actually being able to get the greatest value out of your data are two entirely different things. It’s not enough to simply collect recruiting data; you need a way to display relevant information to the right people quickly and easily, so they can be as efficient as possible.

Watch These Two Metrics

If you diligently track average time-to-fill and bottlenecks, then you’ll have all the information you need to optimize the recruiting process. For example, are there particular hiring managers who are dragging their feet when it comes to reviewing resumes or submitting interview feedback? Are specific regions or roles taking longer to fill than others, and are there things that you can do to speed up the process? Is your career website performing optimally on mobile? These are the kinds of questions that get answered quickly when you have up-to-date reports available at all times.

Be Sure Your Dashboard is Customizable and Actionable

Just because you’re all on the same page doesn’t mean you need to see the same details. Recruiters might want a snapshot view of open requisitions, applicant counts, and hiring cycle progress — with the ability to drill into candidate profiles or resumes with a simple click. Executives, on the other hand, might need quick visibility into how many days reqs have been open, along with budget status and salary ranges for each available job.

Check Your Baseline — Recalibrate as Needed

Keep your dashboard display as current and relevant as possible, so you’re never more than a glance away from understanding your status. If you notice a drop in your offer acceptance rate, for example, then you might want to investigate your interview process and see if you’re inadvertently turning candidates off. Or if your overall application rate increases, you’ll want to see where you’re posting jobs to get such high interest, or maybe add some additional screening questions to help filter out a few people in advance.

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2) Cast a Wider Net

The Job Seeker Nation study showed that 45 percent of currently employed people will “jump ship” for a good opportunity even if they’re happy with where they are — and recruiters can’t forget that statistic. You need to make a concerted effort to target and reach that percentage of passive, skilled talent that’s not submitting resumes and applications. They’re waiting for you to pitch the right scenario.

Jobvite offers the following suggestions for doing this right:

Get on Every Channel

From social media to blog posts, you need to be communicating relevant content about your workplace, your culture, your job openings, and your mission. Word travels, especially when you promote your company as a place people want to be. Get on the platforms people use regularly, from Facebook to Twitter and so on, and talk about what makes you worth noticing.

Look to Your Past

One of the greatest sources of passive candidates in the pipeline is your previous applicants — people who might not have been hired the first time around, but who still possess valuable skills and qualities. If you have the tools to archive these candidates and search their profiles, you’ve got a rich mine to tap without a lot of effort.

3) Map Out the Candidate Journey

You know how important it is to get candidates through the hiring process quickly and efficiently, but there are often hiccups along the way that distract us from what’s supposed to happen next, according to Jobvite. The resulting delays can slow hiring, alienate candidates, and disrupt hiring team relationships. Having a clear idea of where candidates go next not only helps everyone manage the cycle more effectively — it ultimately leads to better, faster hires.

Jobvite offers the following suggestions for doing this right:

Keep It Real

While there’s undoubtedly a “perfect” candidate journey, you know perfection is rare. Start by benchmarking your current standard hiring process. How long does each phase usually take? What are your typical holdups? Do you have any specific limitations — such as a lean recruiting team, overwhelmed hiring managers, or a tight budget? Are you delivering a consistent employment brand experience? Knowing your company and how any of its issues might affect the journey will help you craft a realistic process people can actually follow.

Cover the Whole Process, Start to Finish

The candidate journey through the funnel begins before you even have candidates in a queue, so be certain that you also map out all the steps related to sourcing and engaging with prospects. Likewise, the hiring process doesn’t end with a signed offer letter. Onboarding is critical to ensuring a positive candidate experience and can be tied to how long new employees stick around — so include your onboarding phase as well.

Candidate Journeys Go Way Beyond Your Career Site

Of course, candidates do lots of research on your company before (and after) applying, so it’s critical that you understand where they go for information and what they are going to learn about you. Monitor your Glassdoor reviews, social media accounts, and so on, to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward and inspiring great candidates to join your team.

4) Improve Hiring Team Relationships by Setting Expectations

Businesses often set expectations up front with customers and partners as a way of ensuring a smooth relationship. Why should your relationship with hiring managers and other management personnel be any different? Defining expectations in advance gives everyone an opportunity to understand their role in the hiring process, while providing a means of holding others accountable.

Jobvite offers the following suggestions for doing this right:

Work Together to Build an SLA

A service-level agreement (SLA) is standard practice among other types of collaborators, so why not apply the same practice with your hiring managers? Determine realistically who is responsible for each step in your candidate journey, and agree on mutual expectations from everyone — recruiters, hiring managers, and other management personnel — with respect to applicant review deadlines, approvals, feedback turnaround, and so on. Is it reasonable for a hiring team to provide interview feedback within 24 or 48 hours? How long should recruiters have to reject or approve a resume before a hiring manager can step in? These are the kinds of questions that need to get answered up front so that everyone’s expectations are set correctly.

Revisit the Agreement to See What Works

Situations change — people switch jobs, deadlines become more critical, or budgets shift says Jobvite. Take a look at your defined expectations periodically and make sure everyone can still hold up their end of the bargain. If there’s a repeated stumbling block — hiring managers cannot return interview feedback within two days.

5) Make Every Employee Part of Your Recruiting Team 

You know the value of employee referral programs, but employees can have tremendous recruiting power beyond these traditional approaches says Jobvite. Anything a recruiter can do on behalf of the company to find applicants or improve the employer brand is something that all employees of the company can — and should — be doing. Assuming you have 200 people at your company, each with over 100 connections, then you can quickly reach 20,000 people with posts about open positions and your culture — without it costing a dime.

Jobvite offers the following suggestions for doing this right:

Communicate Regularly With the Employee Base

When there’s something important to share — a new job opening, a cool company statistic, updates to the corporate values — get it out there through a company-wide email or meetings, on a blog post, or on the intranet. Make sure people are aware of what’s going on in your recruiting world, so they can evangelize on the company’s behalf.

Provide Easy Outlets for Employees  to Share Jobs

There’s no reason recruiters should be the only ones with one-click job post publishing capabilities. Use technology that lets employees send job opportunities to their networks just as easily as they’d share social media posts — either immediately, or scheduled for a later time.

Create Feedback Loops

Make sure employees have an opportunity to tell you what they think of your existing referral programs — and make sure you listen. After all, they might have good ideas for ways to further expand their communications with others. And, while you’re at it, ask for feedback on the recruiting process in general. After all, every employee was a candidate and new hire at one point, and their input is invaluable to improving your process.

6) Brand Like You Mean It

We hear a lot of talk about the importance of a strong employer brand, but you’ve got to follow through to make that brand meaningful to today’s extremely selective talent pool. Applicants want to know what you stand for — and more importantly, they want to know you’re being authentic. When they seek information on what it’s like to work for you company, they want to find a reputable response from just about every avenue out there.

Jobvite offers the following suggestions for doing this right:

Capitalize on the Branding Work Already Done

If one team has already invested in a task, then why duplicate efforts? Corporate marketing groups likely get a greater budget to put towards branding than you do — so don’t reinvent the wheel. See how you can take their hard work one step further as you cultivate and communicate your employment brand.

Tell Stories That Matter

Skilled candidates are highly sought after, so they’re looking for something that will distinguish your company from competitors. Put real-life employee testimonials online, with engaging visual content that captures attention. Tell people what a day in the life of an employee is like, and how your workforce contributes to society on a broader level. And keep your stories consistent and truthful across all social platforms — because smart people can see through fluff.

Take It to the Career Site

Marketing has probably put in countless hours perfecting the corporate web site, so don’t unravel it all with a completely unbranded career site. Work with a recruiting platform that lets you craft a custom career page, incorporate your authentic stories, and blend seamlessly with corporate messaging and graphics.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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