The hiring game has changed. As many businesses know firsthand, posting an ad and waiting for resumes just isn’t effective as it once was.
Just as complex databases full of job-seeking documents became the norm, the businesses who put them in place to deal with former resume avalanches are witnessing a drought. On the other side of the table, job-seekers are becoming much more selective. As the bettering economy shifts power towards job seekers, what can businesses do to find the talent they need?
Luckily, entrepreneurs have found a friend in marketing. Instead of waiting for potential candidates to fill out the right forms, organizations have had to use a more proactive outlook incorporating marketing’s best practices. Phil Hendrickson, a strategic recruiting expert who’s worked with some of the largest companies on the West Coast, including Apple and Starbucks, sat down with Market.Eat.Sleep. to cover what the best recruiters are doing to find the right employees.
Understand Your Audience
Before taking any recruiting steps, businesses will want to understand exactly what kind of individual they’re looking for to better locate their audience. Luckily, a job posting already describes the individual. Once businesses have a solid idea of the type of person they’re looking for, the next step is using the right techniques to attract such a person. For example, someone more likely to be in the middle of their career will most likely be found through networking instead of advertising. If a business is looking for an entry-level position, ads and job fairs may be more effective. Defining who constitutes a business’s hiring audience and how they actively look for jobs will help any business better attract those that they’re looking for.
This idea is something that many marketers should already be familiar with. While human resources and marketing departments tend to be siloed, both working together will help ease the frustrations of both. Marketers can help human resources with creating marketing campaigns to attract the best candidates, and human resources can help marketing find the skill sets they need.
Cover Some Ground
Due to changing expectations, few businesses will find the best people without leaving the office. From standard networking to more digital techniques, entrepreneurs have to go to where candidates tend to be instead of just posting an advertisement and hoping for the best. Networking events are one way to do so. The digital equivalent is going to forums, LinkedIn groups, social media platforms or other online websites where candidates tend to congregate. From a practical perspective, businesses should test the waters and try to get an understanding of the skill sets of the individuals there. If someone sounds like a good fit, businesses should reach out to start a conversation and gather any info that a business may need before the hiring process is initiated.
“Smart recruiting departments are trying diligently to get the voice of recruiters and even hiring managers out into the digital ecosystem so people can feel like they’re actually engaging with a company, and they don’t feel like they disappear,” Hendrickson said.
Let the Brand Do the Work
While the above techniques require lots of searching and careful strategy development, a business can use its brand, hopefully already developed to a certain point by marketing stratagems, to aid in its recruiting efforts. Companies with strong and well-known brands have already made impressions on many of the business’s audience members. Recruiters can adapt those impressions through careful branding application to aid the needs of human resources. Consider the largest tech companies in the world such as Apple or Google. Both attract some of the best talent in the world. While there may be many reasons for this, one of those is because their branding efforts have communicated the benefits of working at such high-demand places, which makes recruiter’s job much easier.
“The brand never sleeps, and it’s constantly attracting talent—great talent, mediocre talent, average talent,” Hendrickson said. “It’s always attracting. So recruiters don’t have to be as good. If you’re working for a company that no one’s ever heard of in a location that’s not so popular, you better have great recruiting skills. You better know the talent your company needs and get them on the phone, get them on email, find their social footprint. You need to be a very savvy recruiter.”
That doesn’t mean a business needs to be a tech giant to use its brand for recruiting. As long as a business’s name is well known among its audience, the brand can be effective. For example, if a tech company needs to find an IT professional, it’s much easier if the IT professional has worked with that business’s product in one way or another. That individual will already know what that company does and how it does it, making the rest of the recruiting process much simpler overall.
Use Internal Resources
Especially for smaller companies, Hendrickson said, using the connections of your existing employees is a great way to find good fits for open positions. Most likely, your internal resources (your employees) already know somebody with the same skill sets, and they’re looking for a good worker who reflects well on them and works well for the company.
“When people are invested in the success of their company, they’re also invested in helping you find great talent, and because of our nature as social beings, we tend to know other professionals like us,” Hendrickson said.
Also, if an employee doing the recommending has been with the business long enough, there’s a good chance the internal employee knows what constitutes a good fit for the company. Employees already know the company culture and the business’s expectations, and they don’t want to make up for another employees lack of skill.
“When you involve your own people in recruiting, you soon learn that because they have skin in the game,” Hendrickson said. “If they refer someone who’s not good, it doesn’t make their life any better. It only makes it worse.”
Human resources and marketing departments are often on different sides of the aisle. Most businesses, however, need to take down that wall, allow human resources to borrow a few tools from a marketer’s tool bag and give recruitment efforts a boost as today’s growing economy changes the rules so many recruiters have become comfortable with.