Original Article by: Dave Anderson
The United States economy is currently in great shape. It’s doing so well in fact, that we’re near “full employment.” For every 100 Americans who want a job, more than 96 of them are employed.
While this is positive news in almost every way, it does mean there is a shortage of qualified candidates for organizations hoping to grow their teams. The nationwide talent pool is the shallowest it has been in decades, requiring hiring companies to compete over the few available candidates.
Streamline your job application
When the job market favors the candidate, you absolutely need to have a smart hiring approach. We put together tips to keep in mind as your organization looks for its next great employee during these challenging times.
Every job seeker has encountered an application that seems to go on forever. People will endure a lengthy application process if they’re really interested in the role but these days there are plenty of opportunities they can focus on.
Strive to create job applications that are simple and quick to complete. Application questions are helpful for learning about a candidate’s background and motivation for applying but should be used sparingly. We recommend including 3-5 questions and ensuring your application can be filled out in less than 15 minutes.
Provide insight into the employee experience
Your employer brand attracts like-minded candidates. The people who believe in what your organization is trying to accomplish and share your values.
The more insight into the employee experience you provide, the more you’ll succeed in attracting the right candidates. Talk to your employees and find out what they love about their jobs. Then highlight these advantages in your job descriptions, outreach messages, and the careers section of your website. Check out our guide on creating an employer brand.
Personalize your outreach messages
Hiring in a candidate’s market requires a proactive approach. Your recruiting team will need to contact passive candidates and encourage them to interview for your role.
Generic outreach messages tend to be overlooked by sought-after candidates who are frequently contacted by recruiters. But you can get their attention by referencing an impressive skill they have, great work they’ve done, or even point out a person you both know (remember, you can see shared connections on LinkedIn). Candidates will be more likely to respond if you show you’re actually interested in them and not just sending a job description to everyone who is remotely qualified.
Be quick and stay in touch
Once you start the interview process, you should let candidates know what they can expect and how long it’s going to last. Tell them at the start how many interview steps there are, who they’ll meet with, and when they can expect an offer should you choose to hire them.
It’s also important your hiring team makes quick decisions between interviews and updates the candidate as things progress. This can be as simple as sending an email on Friday afternoon, letting them know you’ll be in touch the following week.
Keeping your opportunity top of mind with candidates maintains their interest. If you fall out of touch for even a couple of days, it opens the door for them to focus their attention on another role.
Think outside the box
Simply posting a job opening and reaching out to passive candidates isn’t enough. You need to get crafty if you hope to attract candidates during times of full employment. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Incentivize employee referrals – Your current employees know talented people and can tell them how great it is to work for your organization. Provide a bonus or other type of reward to employees who refer candidates you hire.
- Reconnect with past candidates – You’ve probably interviewed great candidates in the past who didn’t quite make the cut. There are several applications that allow you to search through all your previous applicants and reconnect with the right people.
- Attend networking events – Every community has local conferences, Meetup groups, and other events tailored to certain professionals. Send a recruiting team member to these get-togethers to network with potential candidates.
Negotiate with your ideal candidate
Even after you find a stellar candidate and keep them engaged throughout the interview process, the hardest part is often getting them to accept your offer. If they seem on the fence, don’t let that deter you. Follow up and ask what it will take to get them on board.
We like to think people are motivated strictly by money but sometimes offering a different perk can tilt the scales in your favor. Consider giving them the option to work from home, have a flexible work schedule, or take some time off before joining. Find out what you can do to make it worth their while.
Get ahead of the competition
Hiring is never easy but now may be the toughest it has ever been. Make sure you’re working harder and smarter than the organizations you’re competing with for talent.
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