How To Drive Recruitment In A Candidate-Driven Market

Written by: Brady Drake

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It’s no secret that businesses are facing talent shortages, making recruiting and retaining top talent highly competitive. “At most companies, people spend two percent of their time recruiting and 75 percent managing their recruiting mistakes,” said Richard Fairbank, CEO of Capital One. Recruiting efforts become the next fire drill rather than a pillar of a strategic initiative.

According to various sources, 72 percent of employers struggle to source qualified candidates for open positions. As everyone reading this article knows, the regional labor market is candidate-driven, with 73 percent passive candidates (candidates not planning on making a near-term career change) and few options for top candidates, especially when you have specific cultural needs.

Organizations are seeing an increase in candidates “ghosting” interviews and emails partly due to the interview process spanning weeks to months with little or no engagement from the hiring and recruitment teams. Candidates are expecting competitive salaries and benefit packages.

To drive success in a candidate-driven market, it helps to focus on candidate experience, decrease the time to hire and understand your organization’s place in the market – leading, meeting or lagging in competitive salaries and benefits – adapting your selection process accordingly. Finding ways to select the right people and retain them has never been more important.

Reinvesting in your existing workforce through professional development remains a strong strategy, and one that is often overlooked. At the end of the day, as John Maxwell says in Chris Cebollero’s article “It’s Not About Hiring Great Employees, It’s About Engaging Your Current Workforce,” “I would rather have a high-performing employee leave than have a mediocre employee stay.” This mindset will naturally help your best employees develop, creating a strong internal pipeline of talent. This strategy also benefits your employees, supports loyalty, builds your brand and naturally attracts even more good talent.

I can think of many times I have personally attempted to recruit an individual, and they won’t budge. Each time this has happened, I am impressed. I see those organizations as being first class, and in my mind, leading the market in recruitment and retention, mostly because their trained, engaged and invested employees stay put. Most organizations have a blended approach of recruiting, professional development and training opportunities. Think of it this way: Software and capital investments require routine maintenance and updates, and human capital is no different.

The interview process has also evolved. Traditional interviews pose challenges such as assessing soft skills, understanding skill gaps, interview bias, the investment of time and the length of the process. Organizations are transforming their interview process by incorporating assessments that focus on soft skills and reveal strengths that help with role matching, but also culture, team work and a better understanding of team members.

Organizations are also investing more time and effort into the process and candidate experience to assess fit. One way they are doing that is with “job auditions” that use gamification and virtual reality to provide an immersive experience for the candidate and assess the candidate’s skills, behaviors, culture and values and give the candidate better insight into the company. Predicting data insights, such as the The Predictive Index, help make good hiring decisions and provide analysis about your existing workforce.

Having various data points about your talent pool provide those predictive insights such as a candidate’s personality, needs, skill gaps and even culture fit can help drive better decision making and lower the overall cost of on-boarding employees.

Josh Bersin from Deloitte says people analytic tools will become a “must-have” for HR teams and recruiters. Organizations have identified the need for a talent intelligence strategy that focuses on collecting data, analyzing insights, predicting outcomes and developing programs and strategies to improve the process, experience and efficiency of the recruitment process.

Another growing trend worth mentioning is artificial intelligence and machine learning. According to Talent Now Recruitment Statistics 2018: Trends & Insights in Hiring Talented Candidates, “58 percent find artificial intelligence most useful for sourcing, 56 percent for screening candidates, 55 percent for nurturing candidates, 42 percent for scheduling interviews, 24 percent engaging with candidates and six percent interviewing candidates.”

The report says AI will be a “superpower,” providing “pattern recognition, algorithm refinement, machine learning and natural language processing.” Overall, the landscape for recruitment is shifting – most importantly, aligning talent acquisition strategies to the overall strategic goals of the organization and spending more time engaging with potential candidates.

Insights For Competitive Recruitment

Never stop recruiting. Recruitment has a continuous life cycle, so invest in building a strong pipeline of internal and external talent.

Keep candidates engaged and focus on the candidate experience. TalentLyft defines the candidate experience as “current, past and potential future candidates’ overall perception of your company’s recruiting process. It is based on candidates’ feelings, behaviors and attitudes they experience during the whole recruiting process, from sourcing and screening to interviewing, hiring and finally onboarding.”

Employer brand matters. Fifty-five percent of job seekers abandon applications after reading negative reviews online, and only 45 percent of employers monitor or address those reviews. A white paper published by CV Library titled “What does 2018 have in store for recruitment?” says 40.2 percent of employers are focused on establishing a strong employer brand. That’s not enough!

Allow for candidates to easily engage with your organization, its managers, employees and recruiters.

Offer candidates a mobile option to apply and engage. According to Glassdoor, “89 percent of job seekers say their mobile device is an important tool for job searching, and 45 percent use it to search for jobs at least once a day.”

Build and nurture relationships with top talent, and whenever possible, hire them when they are available.

Share your story. Interviewing for the right fit goes both ways. Candidates are analyzing your process, people and organization as much as you are. Highlight what separates you from other employers.

Embrace the pace. Be equipped to make hiring decisions quickly, as top talent has a short shelf life.

Put AI and machine learning to use. Improved HR software platforms and tools, algorithmic sourcing and text analysis algorithms help recruiters identify skills and experience and get them in front of top talent faster.

Have a digital and social media strategy. “80 percent of employers say social recruiting helps them find passive candidates” (Glassdoor).

Video assessments of candidates can be more efficient and effective than phone interviews.

Collaborative hiring that supports teamwork between human resources, recruitment and hiring teams.

Don’t be afraid to be different, especially if it helps you put your organizations culture on display.

For questions or conversation, please contact me at [email protected].

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.