Update your recruiting process: Today’s talent market is the most competitive in years

What is important to know about your current hiring process?

Whether you’re making a sale, coaching an employee or handling a customer complaint, getting the right information is critical. Author Stephen Covey said “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Often though, we’re in a “telling mode,” just doing things the way they’ve always been done, or asking the wrong questions. Here is a recent example:
I received an unsolicited credit card activation. I didn’t apply for it so I called the company to tell them to cancel the card. I was transferred to the Fraud Department and waited on hold for 37 minutes before talking to an employee who was perplexed and cancelled the card. Afterward, I completed the “1½-minute survey” to share my disappointment.  Just two questions – was the customer service rep I spoke to courteous, and was the problem resolved. I had to say “yes” to both. However, I was disappointed and annoyed, especially since there was no opportunity to share my frustration. Missed opportunity!
Today’s talent market is the most competitive in years. Hiring great employees is getting both more difficult and more critical. It’s time to look at your employment process and think about asking the right questions to help improve your process and your results.
The hiring process starts when there is a staffing need… usually a hiring manager says “I need a _______ to start ASAP.” The usual questions are:

  1. What’s the job description?
  2. What does it pay?

Critical questions, to be sure, but not enough if your goal is to attract the most qualified candidates!
Here are a few more important questions that, if overlooked, are a missed opportunity.

  • What is the most attractive part of this job? Why would someone leave their current position to take this position?
    Today’s talent, especially today’s TOP talent, has lots of choices and is more discerning than ever. Recruiters need to be armed with information that will attract candidates to apply for this position. Posting a job description full of your criteria and expectations is just not enough.
  • When will the hiring manager be available to interview candidates? 
    Often, the hiring manager who stresses urgency is “too busy” to review resumes or interview candidates. These same managers often prefer currently employed professionals, yet they are not available to interview outside of the business day.
  • What attributes will make someone who fills this position most successful? What are the attributes of people who have been successful previously?
    Most job postings include a wide breadth and depth of criteria that are not truly necessary. Think about a prior employee who excelled in the role – did he or she meet all of the requirements?
  • Besides posting the job on the website and job boards, what else is being done to find qualified and interested candidates?
    A simple “post and pray” strategy has lost its effectiveness. If that is the extent of your recruiting strategy, you’re probably already disappointed in the results! Other ideas to consider: employee referrals, outreach campaigns (email and phone) to previous applicants, and database searches (resume databases, LinkedIn searches, Google searches).
  • Which sources are the most effective for finding qualified new employees?
    Recruiters can usually provide helpful analytics. Metrics like source of applicant and cost of source will give you good information on where candidates are coming from, as well as the cost effectiveness of each source. But the critical metric is the source of the new hire. You may be spending money and time on a source that supplies a lot of candidates that do not result in hires – i.e., they are expensive, low-quality sources.
  • Why do candidates abandon the application process?
    The online application process may be driving candidates away. If it takes more than 15 to 20 minutes to submit an application for your job opening, qualified applicants may just give up. It is worth reviewing the online application hurdles and candidate experience to determine if the experience is inviting or not.

We can no longer afford a “that’s how we’ve always done it” approach to recruiting. And there’s no better way to keep our recruiting tactics and processes fresh and effective than asking the right questions!

-Anne Grace Nimke is chief executive officer and co-founder of Milwaukee-based The Good Jobs Inc. (www.thegoodjobs.com). The Good Jobs is a turnkey employment branding solution that helps companies attract, hire and retain the right talent.

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