Nine techniques for finding better candidates.
By Audrey Roth
How do today’s top candidates hear about jobs or learn about leading-edge companies? Well, it’s certainly not through print or radio ads—the popular choice more than a decade ago. Nowadays, Jay Floersch, solutions architect for Aon Hewitt, says that candidate behavior is the driver for new sourcing avenues, which reflect the modern multi- faceted manner of today’s job seeker.
And that behavior is strongly driven by technology, which makes it easy to view and apply for jobs through company career websites, digital job boards, or social networks. But companies cannot solely post jobs and hope capable candidates stumble upon them.
In today’s competitive market, organizations need to actively employ and leverage up-to-date candidate sourcing methods to ensure top talent is on their radar. Here are nine to consider:
1. Engage passive candidates with company happenings and career options. Passive candidates are those high potential individuals that aren’t actively seeking a new job and are only willing to make a career move for an attractive position.
“It used to be post and pray that people apply, and now it’s post and ‘prey,’” Floersch explains. Organizations can no longer rely on candidates finding and applying for the position; hiring managers (or the providers) are seeking those perfect candidates out.
And it can be a high-touch process, reports Jen Malach, director for North America talent acquisition and onboarding of LexisNexis. “Keeping passive candidates engaged involves a human element [including] weekly calls, emails, touch points, and direct connections to the business,” she notes.
But bear in the mind, the quality of the engagement can make or break the relationship. Today’s job seekers are savvy. “Providing them with content and information that is going to build their knowledge and give them a better insight into your company and why it’s special, rather than more generic or job-related information, is really key,” says Jeremy Tipper, global head of consulting at Alexander Mann Solutions.
2. Build talent communities. What better way to ensure access to candidates than a group of people with pre- existing interest in your company, industry, product, or job opportunities?
“There’s a much stronger focus amongst RPO providers as well as employers to building proactive talent communities, as opposed to very reactively identifying people when they have an opening come available,” says Beth Roekle, senior vice president for operations at Advantage xPO. Employers should also ensure they are taking additional steps to engage with the talent pool, because if not, candidates are bound to lose interest.
Another benefit of the web-based nature of talent communities is that employers can source globally without the time and cost of traveling around the world. Candidates can also telecommute once hired, causing the pool of applicants to be exponentially larger. The talent pool can become even more substantial if companies allow their jobs to go viral, says Floersch. “What better way and cheaper way to get your jobs out there than to let the crowd do the sourcing?”
3. Keep a close eye on search engine optimization (SEO).
Floersch explains that employers should examine the SEO of the open positions. If a potential candidate were to search for the industry, job, and location, how many pages on Google or Bing does it take to find the job description?
4. Leverage social media. More than 277 million people use LinkedIn around the world. That is an abundance of candidates to weed through, but it’s also a sure sign that the perfect candidate is out there. According to The Innovation Imperative study conducted by Futurestep, 49 percent of candidates are more likely to consider a job if it was advertised in an innovative way. “That supports the increased value of leveraging social media in the RPO world or in any corporate environment,” says Courtney Cook, vice president of strategic development at Futurestep.
What ways can social media add value to the sourcing process? As a director of talent acquisition, Malach understands the myriad benefits social media delivers for outreach, including: “creating talent pools for pipelining candidates, passive candidate search and outreach, job postings, and building brand awareness.”
Advantage xPO’s Roekle advises organizations to focus on using their networks in the most advantageous way. “The key to a strong social media strategy is having regular and frequent content that attracts and engages the populations that you’re targeting,” says Roekle.
5. Encourage employee referrals. Employee referrals have always been a strong method of finding candidates, but with current technology, employee referrals have become easier than ever. Tipper explains: “Let’s say I, at AMS (Alexander Mann Solutions), am looking for a new person to join my marketing team. I will ping an email to all of my colleagues to let them know about that particular opportunity. And what those social referral technologies do is look at the LinkedIn, Facebook, [and] Google Plus networks of all my colleagues that work at AMS and identify people in their social networks that might have the skill set and interest in that particular marketing role. So all I then need to do is let those individuals know that this opportunity exists, send them a link to the role profile, and then they have the ability to apply for that position.”
Floersch explains that technology keeps everyone engaged. It allows employees to see how their referrals are doing in the hiring process. It also shows hiring managers a comparison of employees and how many candidates they have referred and how many have been hired. This all adds up to your workforce helping to find strong candidates.
6. Mobilize. According to Simply Hired’s Mobile Recruiting Outlook report, 70 percent of job seekers look for jobs on their mobile devices. But according to What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today, a study for Google conducted by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, if users don’t experience a mobile friendly site they’re five times more likely to abandon the task they were intending to complete altogether, and 79 percent of mobile searchers say they will return to the search and look for an alternative. “You want a candidate to very quickly and easily be able to use an app to apply for a position or express interest in an opportunity, or join a community that you’re trying to foster,” says Roekle.
If employers want to take advantage of the exponential use of mobile devices for job searching, mobilization of their websites needs to be a top priority.
7. Change sourcing roles accordingly. In the past, organizations had recruiters managing the recruitment process end to end, Tipper explains. “They would manage
all aspects of filling a job from the point in time when the role was authorized, all the way through to an offer being made.” Now, successful organizations should consider having a recruiting team with specific individuals maintaining a designated role within the sourcing and recruitment process, allowing for more efficiency.
8. Track data and analytics. “Understand where your candidates are coming from, which candidates are staying the longest, what defines a strong candidate or a strong employee, and then leverage that data to replicate finding those same sorts of people,” says Roekle. Employers don’t want or need to be wasting time and money on inefficient sourcing methods, but it is impossible to take heed from what methods are most useful if they are not tracking it.
9. Take advantage of candidate relationship management (CRM) technology. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have been beneficial to the hiring and recruitment process and will continue to fill that role. But with the seemingly omnipresent desire to have a relationship with passive candidates, there have become new needs that an ATS cannot entirely fulfill. This void has been filled by CRM technology. “What ATSs don’t do is allow you to start to build relationships with candidates before the demand is there, or before you’re looking for them to apply for them to apply for a job,” says Tipper. “What CRM tools, like Avature, allow you to do is to start to build relationships with candidates and communicate with them before the job is live. So technology has played a significant part in allowing us to manage and build relationships with those candidate pools before we’re actually taking a job opportunity to them.”
The Competitive Market
All of the current sourcing strategies lead to more competent and capable talent, yet at the same time require a much more rigorous and multi-faceted approach. Employers are required to exert effort of having a relationship with talent early on, or else they will not even be in the running for finding top talent when it comes time to hire. Although it was more difficult to access candidates in the past, the ease and possibilities of modern sourcing has made today’s market place more competitive than ever.
Companies must ensure they are implementing the new techniques that have been designated above. They also can employ a few additional competitive tactics to guarantee they are covering their bases.
- Do a test run: Apply for an open position to make sure the process is functional.
- Market the company and opportunities to candidates the way products are marketed to consumers.
- Be innovative and take advantage of all potential sourcing methods, small or large.
- Utilize employer branding.
- Think about all components of gaining and retaining potential employees; quality not quantity.
The modernization of the hiring process has taken sourcing to a new level. Although the new additions to the sourcing realm may complicate the practice, they create more valuable to the sourcing sphere. By taking advantage of contemporary sourcing methods and staying competitive, companies can ensure access to top talent globally.