A truly successful recruiting strategy involves your entire team as well as several factors you might not expect. We’ve compiled 15 simple talent acquisition tips that can help you consistently attract best talent.
Make sure to save these ideas for later with our handy one-page guide: 15 Simple Recruiting Tips You’ll Be Happy You Learned.
1. Encourage employee referrals:
In his recent book, Work Rules!, Laszlo Bock revealed the secret formula behind Google’s recruitment success. If you haven’t already, get a hard copies it’s of useful insights from one of the world’s top people operations practitioners.
Bock describes the challenges Google faced in hiring the best candidates for an exponentially growing organisation in his book. Several priceless learning opportunities presented themselves throughout the process.
Although they received a lot of attention, zany interview questions and billboard puzzle easter egg hunts were not the most effective strategies Google used to attract top talent. The most effective strategies for recruiting and candidate selection were actually quite simple.
Google built its “self-replicating hiring machine” through several rounds of trial and error, but just like any great achievement, it started with one step. As Bock explains:
“ The first step to building a recruiting machine is to turn every employee into a recruiter by soliciting referrals.” Laszlo Bock
Sometimes the simplest strategies are the best:
- Hire the most amazing people you know
- Keep them consistently challenged and happy
- Encourage them to bring their most talented friends (and recognize them when they do!)
- Provide an excellent candidate experience
- Repeat (until this process inevitably outgrows employee networks)
When you reach the point where you can’t repeat the process, you’ve most likely begun to build a dedicated in-house recruiting team.Employee referrals are important to more than just Bock. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 82 percent of employers rated employee referrals as the best source for generating the highest return on investment (ROI).
2. Prioritize the candidate experience
A great candidate experience can help you make the most of your hiring budget by effectively winning over the people you want to hire. The candidate experience encompasses a potential employee’s first interactions with your company and culture, so getting it wrong can earn your company a negative reputation that is difficult to repair.
Top candidates get the impression that your organization cares about its people even before they join the team when the candidate experience is skillfully designed.
That is an extremely powerful (and positive) signal to send not only to candidates, but also to new hires and long-term employees. You’re emphasising the value your organization places on its employees at all levels. Throughout the hiring process, you’re also setting a behavioural example for other employees to follow.
Even if they are not accepted, candidates who have had a positive experience with your organisation will have positive things to say about it.
A poorly designed candidate experience will invariably leave a bad taste in the mouths of both the candidate and the employee who referred the candidate.
You will see that if an employee puts their neck out and refers a candidate, and you treat that candidate poorly, they will be hesitant to do so again.
It makes no difference how much you pay or how great the projects you’re working on are: if you don’t treat candidates with the same respect you’d show a longtime colleague, you’re doing the organisation a disservice.
Here’s a quick checklist to ensure that your candidate experience is on track. Did you:
- Provide an accurate up-front description of the job duties early on?
- Show up on time?
- Come prepared?
- Provide a warm introduction to the team?
- Exchange feedback with the candidate?
Keeping this quick checklist in mind will help keep the process on track to greatness if it’s already good, and help fix it if it’s broken.
3. Have a great offboarding process
Although it may appear counter productive, a positive offboarding experience is an important component of a successful recruiting machine. Not all employment relationships end on bad terms, and a lot depends on how employees are offboarded.
Just like current employees who love your organization enough to recommend it to their friends, past employees can do the same. Sometimes past employees can be an exceptional source of referrals for new candidates.
Past employees aren’t just potential ambassadors, either.
Former employees who enjoyed working for your company and were let go amicably are more likely to return. If and when they do, they’ll bring the unique skills you hired them for, as well as some new ones.
4. Use modern tools
There are now more tools than ever to help you improve the effectiveness of your sourcing and hiring processes, both at large and small scale.
Textio is a tool to help organizations draft better, and more effective job descriptions. Although that may not seem like the top priority in your recruitment strategy, it’s one of the first things a candidate will see. There are a number of unnecessary descriptors, and types of language that could be considered unappealing or off putting to a great candidate.
Once you’ve drafted the perfect job description, there are some excellent platforms that can help you reach and interact with the perfect audience.
5. Practice collaborative hiring
Collaborative hiring is another recruiting tip that can make a big impact. It’s important for several reasons. First—and this is a big one—there’s likely more than one stakeholder in your hiring process.
Unless they’re astronauts, your new recruits won’t be working in a vacuum.
Each new hire is going to impact the work of those around them. This doesn’t mean you need every member of a department to sign off on a new hire, but they should at least be involved.
It’s important to listen to your team’s thoughts and take them into consideration. They’re in a unique position to provide insights about the position and the candidates hoping to fill it.
Your colleagues can help the hiring process in other ways, too.
6. Write better job descriptions
If you don’t accurately describe the position you’re hiring for, you’re already at a disadvantage. It is critical to be truthful about the job in order to attract the best candidates.
Perhaps the job you’re trying to fill isn’t glamorous, or it doesn’t pay top dollar. If that’s the case, don’t try to disguise it. At best, you’ll have squandered everyone’s time when the truth is revealed.
At worst, you’ll end up hiring a talented employee only to discover later that the job didn’t match their aptitudes, interests, financial expectations, or personality. That employee is likely to be less engaged and to leave as soon as they find a better opportunity.
7. Value quality over quantity
You’ve likely already found that a top performer produces dramatically stronger results than those around them. Focusing on the quality of candidates instead of volume can be a very effective recruiting strategy.
Why is that?
There’s less overhead involved in hiring two outstanding employees who are a perfect match than five good employees who aren’t. Fewer interviews, less onboarding.
There’s also more potential for exceptional results.
The team at LinkedIn recently shared a perfect example of this regarding their college recruiting strategy and how their program has changed over time in an article titled “Why the LinkedIn Recruiting Team is Waving ‘Bye-bye’ to Traditional College Recruiting.”
Keep quality in mind as you’re working to build your team. You’ll likely find that the extra time and effort spent in finding an outstanding candidate will pay dividends long into the future.
8. Communicate a strong Employee Value Proposition
So what are the elements required to build a strong EVP?
There are a near infinite number of components you can combine as part of your EVP, but here are some common ones:
Salary — Are your salaries competitive?
Benefits — What type of benefits do you offer? Who is eligible?
Work environment / company culture — What is your work environment like? Is your company culture balanced? What does it feel like to work for your company?
Autonomy — Are employees micromanaged or are they in control over how they do their work?
Rewards and recognition — How are employees rewarded for their efforts (beyond salary)? Do you offer frequent bonuses or do you only reward those who have made it through the year or have reached a certain milestone?
Just like attracting customers and clients, to attract the strongest candidates, you’ll need an offer that stands out.
9. Think like a marketer
Recruitment evolves in parallel with the business. Recruiting is in a similar situation to sales and marketing in that it must make a dramatic shift. Technology has made it possible for people to learn a lot about a company by conducting a few simple searches.
Many of us have heard of the groundbreaking Forrester research that claims that 70% to 90% of the buyer’s journey is completed before first contact. If you don’t think this has anything to do with recruiting, you’re missing out.
Potential employees, like potential customers, spend a significant amount of time researching organizations before applying.
10. Ask better questions
When your goal is to bring in the most qualified candidates, it behooves you to ask them the right questions.
This can be different for each organization, and that’s why it’s such an important area to focus on. A list of interview questions for one company might be grossly inappropriate for another.
For software engineers, these questions might come in the form of a programming exercise. For someone on the marketing team, those questions might be focused on how their work impacted revenue.
The point is, the questions you’re asking should be relevant.
There’s no need to ask off-the-wall, quizzical interview questions unless solving those types of puzzles will be core to a candidate’s regular duties. Ask questions that will help identify candidates who stand out as great fits for your culture, and the task at hand.
11. Explore remote work arrangements
A great remote work program can put your organization at the top of the list for a much larger audience of talented individuals.
Modern communication and collaboration technology have made remote work more effective and easier to manage than ever. Many high-functioning teams successfully leverage a remote work structure.
Automattic, creators of the WordPress platform, operate an almost entirely remote team. Although this remote work flexibility does help attract top talent from across the globe, that’s not its only benefit.
Although a 100% remote structure might work for some teams, that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to adopt an all-remote structure on yours. There are a number of qualified candidates who simply require remote work flexibility.
That flexibility can be the difference between earning those candidates’ interest, and losing them before the first interview even takes place.
A flexible work schedule isn’t just a job perk.
Some highly-qualified candidates may have conditions or life circumstances that limit their ability to work in a co-located office on a daily basis. There are countless reasons a candidate might need flexibility in their working arrangements—they may be sole caretakers, have limited mobility, suffer from migraines triggered by fluorescent lights, or simply do their best work from their home environment.
Building remote work flexibility into your employee value proposition can make your organization a more attractive choice for many candidates.
12. Seek and embrace diversity
A diverse team is a significant competitive advantage, and assembling one begins with the recruiting process.
A diversity-focused recruitment programme provides an organization with the opportunity to experience the numerous benefits of a diverse and inclusive team, in addition to significantly increasing the depth of its talent pool.
Diversity can take many forms, which is important to consider as you endeavor to attract a more diverse group of prospective employees. A successful program seeks applicants from the widest possible range of backgrounds and life experiences.
13. Get clear (and realistic) about timelines
Finding a great new employee can take a long time—often much longer than expected. Extended timelines can be difficult for your recruitment and hiring team, but they can be even more difficult for candidates.
It’s difficult enough to look for a new job, and being involved in a lengthy interview or recruitment process only adds to the difficulty.
If your recruitment process takes an unusually long time, a strong candidate may wait too long to accept a good offer from another organisation, or they may give up entirely. That’s the kind of bad experience they’re likely to tell others about. A negative candidate experience will reflect poorly on your organisation.
Make every effort to inform candidates of two critical points early on:
When you intend to hire someone,
How much of the candidate’s time will you most likely need?
Candidates can plan and organise their job search more effectively if you communicate your expectations about time and timing from the start.
If you intend to assign homework to interviewees, let them know ahead of time so they are not caught off guard, and give them plenty of time to complete it. If you’re in the first week of a three-month search, be upfront about the fact that no final decisions will be made until the end of the process.
14. Use an interview rubric or scorecard
Many hiring and recruitment decisions are still based on “gut reactions” about a candidate. The problem with those gut reactions is that they’re not often accurate.
Although it can be difficult to remain completely objective during the selection and interview process, leveraging an interview rubric or scorecard can make it easier.
Using practices like these to temper gut reactions with quantitative data can help make your recruitment efforts more effective and more inclusive, while decreasing the number of “misses” in your hiring process.
15. Don’t discount previous candidates
Just because a candidate wasn’t chosen for a particular position doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be a great fit for another spot on your team, or for the same position if it comes up again later.
Paying attention to the quality of your candidate experience can help ensure your organization stays at the top of their dream job list.
Our friends at Greenhouse shared some great advice for communicating with candidates who didn’t make it through your hiring process this time around, but might still be great fits for the future:
In many cases, candidates will truly appreciate honest, constructive feedback how they might do better next time, and that personal touch will go a long way toward keeping them as advocates for your employer brand.
Becoming a talent magnet is no easy task, but these 15 simple recruiting tips should get you off to a great start.
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