Talent Acquisition

One Step Ahead

New research reveals the top sources for talent and how organizations can leverage them.

By Amber Hyatt

Recently, it has been said that it’s a candidate’s job market with the competition for talent fiercer than ever. Consider these statistics:

• As of February 2017, there were 5.7 million job openings.

• As of April 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the voluntary quit rate at 3.1 million.

• As of February 2017, DHI Group reported U.S. Jobs Mean Vacancy Duration was 27.8 working days .

• Mercer’s Talent Trends report found that 92 percent of employers expected an increase in competition for talent in 2017.

In a nutshell, U.S. companies have more job vacancies that are taking longer to fill due to increased competition. And when those vacancies are eventually filled, employees are leaving those jobs voluntarily at a high rate. Clearly, modern job seekers view their interactions with a company -from recruitment to exit interview -as a single integrated experience, and organizations need to adopt an approach that delivers a compelling and connected experience.

That experience starts at the very beginning, during the talent sourcing strategy. Proven sourcing approaches and results enable organizations to get ahead of competition by finding and attracting the right types of candidates. SilkRoad’s Sources of Hire 2017 report identifies where companies recruit and hire their best employees.

Some of the most impactful findings include:

Employee referrals remain the top sources for hires.

Indeed delivers twice as many hires as all other top branded external sources combined.

LinkedIn and CareerBuilder maintain the largest presence among recruiter sourcing tools.

Among external sources, online delivers far more interviews and hires than offline.

Campus recruiting delivered fewer interviews but more hires compared to last year.

Diving Deep Into Each Finding

• Employee referrals. Delivering more than 30 percent of overall hires, 45 percent of hires from internal sources, and an 5 percent year-over-year increase, employee referrals are the top sources of hires (see Figure 1). At the root, it makes sense. After all, who knows the ins and outs of an organization better than the employees who work there? Workers can identify potential hires among their friends and colleagues who would be good additions to the team faster and more effectively than an external source such as a recruiter. And there’s evidence to back it up. SilkRoad’s report found that on average, internal sources required only nine applications before delivering an interview and only two interviews before converting to a hire. External resources, on the other hand, required 33 applications before delivering an interview, and three interviews before delivering a hire.

• Indeed top external source. Indeed produced twice as many hires as all other top branded external sources combined at 65 percent, with CareerBuilder as the next top source at 10 percent. Indeed also delivered more interviews than any source, either internal or external. So while job boards once ruled the roost, search engine technology has come to the forefront, and spawned job engines -like Indeed or the new Google For Jobs -are proving to better match job seekers with potential opportunities in ways that previously weren’t technologically possible.

• LinkedIn and CareerBuilder top recruiter sourcing tools. The success of job engines doesn’t mean that job boards don’t still serve a valuable function. Among the top five branded job boards, LinkedIn and CareerBuilder are the leaders for delivering interviews (45 percent and 24 percent respectively) and hires (29 percent and 38 percent respectively). Craigslist, Monster, and Glassdoor round out the top five for both interviews and hires delivered.

• Online biggest producer among external sources. With the success of job engines and the value of job boards, it’s no surprise that among external sources, online delivers the lion’s share of both interviews (86 percent) and hires (72 percent) compared to offline sources. Job searchers are living in a digital-focused world, turning to computers and mobile devices to find new job opportunities and gather as much information on a company as they can before applying.

• Campus recruiting producing hires. Of course, don’t count out offline recruiting just yet. Despite interviews decreasing 4 percent year over year, hires from campus recruiting increased 14 percent. The uptick in hires could be a sign that organizations are placing more focus on recruiting students amidst immense competition for talent.

Best Practices

Understanding the best sources plays a critical role in locating the best talent, but with candidates increasingly viewing company interactions as a single integrated experience, organizations must also shift how they approach candidates and recruitment. Companies must think of candidates as customers and deliver a personalized experience centered on answering questions such as:

• Why do employees want to work for the organization?

• In what ways does the organization present itself and wow candidates?

• How can managers and leaders best help employees become successful?

Personal, responsive communication is now a requirement. To design such an experience, companies should build a hiring strategy around five best practices:

1. Know the target audience. Research before building and posting the job description. Organizations need to identify what qualities and skills are needed for the position and consider what characteristics help employees excel by reviewing the profiles of star performers. Then, uncover the best place to find people with those skills.

2. Create a persona. Identify the location, background, level, function, education history, interests, and companies that the ideal persona might work for. Hiring managers should also observe candidates in the target market, think about qualities not qualifications, and document the persona. Then, create a career story to design a candidate experience that maps to the persona as well.

3. Develop an employee value proposition (EVP). Look at survey data and star employees, and build patterns than can be further developed through interviews. A solid EVP is based on a compelling, authentic message that attracts candidates. Be sure to promote it on social media, on the company blog, and in the employee referral program.

4. Evaluate the current candidate experience. To begin, a great application process is essential. Go mobile with an easy-to-use process for phones and tablets, and focus on the basics. There is no need for an endless list of questions. Ask the right ones at the right time. A communication process that reflects the employer brand informs candidates about company culture. Be sure to train teams on how to present and discuss that brand and provide training on the interview process for hiring managers to help remove bias.

5. Connect the candidate to company goals. Help top candidates envision their role by providing insight into their potential impact on the organization to create engagement and vested interest. Hiring managers should promote how the organization will set them up for success with a culture of feedback, frequent check-ins, clear expectations, and mentor/development programs.

When organizations change their thinking and the recruitment process to match how candidates view the experience and pair that with the best sources for hiring, they’ll see a radical shift in the success of their employee recruitment -and retention -efforts.

Amber Hyatt, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is vice president, product marketing for SilkRoad.

Tags: Employee/Candidate Experience, Magazine Article, October 2017, Talent Acquisition

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