A profound increase in workforce mobility has led to dramatic changes in the labor market that go beyond the overall decline of company loyalty. Traditional barriers and prohibitions to leaving a company are no longer present. It is now considered acceptable to change jobs for short-term or superficial reasons. Qualified candidates can easily find new jobs and new opportunities because the “hidden” job market is no longer hidden; all it takes is some time online.
Most companies are failing to effectively address these changes. Making minor improvements to sourcing techniques or slight modifications to processes already in place are no longer enough to sustain the need for strong talent. And when the baby boomer generation starts retiring en masse, these weak areas are likely to become make-or-break points for many companies.
To win the talent wars, HR professionals, recruiting managers, and business owners must recognize that the marketplace for talent has changed, and embrace new approaches to sourcing. Here are some suggestions:
- Massively upgrade the career Website. Most company Websites are designed to eliminate unqualified candidates, not to attract the best. A career Website is the critical hub of a company's hiring efforts. When we surveyed over 500 candidates a few years ago we found that about 65% of all candidates visited a company's Website before applying for a job they found on a job board. Half of these candidates decided not to apply because the career section was poorly designed. Those numbers are probably even higher today.
- Make sure your advertising is visible. To test your job visibility quotient, conduct a Google search including an open job title, a few required skill terms, the word "jobs," and the name of the city. If you can’t find the job, neither can the candidates.
- Make sure your advertising is compelling. Cut the boring copy. To differentiate your jobs, use an attention-grabbing, outrageous title and a first paragraph that is so compelling the person can't wait to respond.
- Become a targeted networking fanatic. Used properly, networking sites like LinkedIn, JigSaw, and ZoomInfo can be a primary sourcing tool for recruiters and hiring managers.
- Simplify the application process. If a person decides to apply for a job, make sure his or her résumé is parsed into a completed application process. Today’s candidates aren’t going to wrestle with an unwieldy or out of date application.
- Respond instantly. Set up your automatic searches to screen on performance terms not just skill words. If you don’t call an applicant person within 24 hours you will lose the good ones.
- Implement a proactive employee referral program. Ask your top performers for the names of the best people they've ever worked with. Then call these people and recruit them.
- Get your hiring managers involved and committed. Hiring managers must take the lead role. They must clearly understand real job needs and be willing to spend time conducting exploratory meetings and in-depth interviews and know how to recruit and close, not just sell and charm.
While a case can be made that retention is now as important as hiring, you can't solve one problem without solving the other. The solution is to offer great jobs that grow and change with the person. While this effort starts by posting more compelling jobs, it certainly doesn't end there. But that's still a great start.