You’re the hiring manager and you have a great position available, but you don’t seem to be attracting the right candidates. This can be frustrating, especially with the pressure to find someone who’s self-motivated, results-driven, highly skilled, and fits into the company’s culture. This is no easy task and with the current job market tipping in the favor of candidates—with lower unemployment and higher turnover rates —it can feel challenging to attract the right talent.
Thankfully, there may be a simple solution. Have you considered that your problem may not be a lack of quality applicants, but your hiring practices? Do you have a hiring process that encourages candidates to apply or are your strategies outdated, undefined, or even working against you? Here are some questions to ask yourself that can help innovate and update your hiring practices.
1. Is your application process overly complicated?
A study by Jibe Inc revealed that a quarter of applicants are deterred by a poor application experience, reporting that they’d rather stand in line at the DMV than fill out long, unintuitive online applications. A large percentage said they were time-consuming, stressful, and even painful. It should be easy to apply to your company. In fact, you should view it as your first opportunity to show a candidate your company is an attractive prospect. Take time to evaluate your application process, from start to finish. Do you have up-to-date software that allows for easy uploading of a resume and the ability to save one’s progress? There is nothing more frustrating than losing your information halfway through due to a network glitch. Prioritize the information you really need before an interview and ensure your questions are relevant. Communicating with candidates is not only polite, it’s critical. Are you taking the time to let them know the status of their application? Sometimes the smallest actions make the biggest difference. If you discover that your process is not as streamlined as it could be, bring in an expert to help. It’s worth the investment.
2. Are you addressing candidate pain points?
Your job posting should “get into your candidate’s head” and leave an unshakeable impression on them. Too often, job descriptions are long, arbitrary laundry lists of everything you want in a candidate. Instead, they should engage the reader with opportunities for growth, a dynamic and inclusive team culture, and invitations for innovation. Chances are they’re applying from their current job—are you offering them an alternative to what they already have? Show them why working for your company would be a unique, challenging, and rewarding experience.
3. Have you leveraged employee referrals?
These days, hiring trends reveal the majority of positions are filled through word-of-mouth. Your current employees are your best asset—if they’re happy in their job, that is. They are the authority on your company’s culture, which means you should be investing time in fostering a work environment that puts people first and invests in their growth and quality of life. When people are happy, they share their enthusiasm and tend to attract like-minded people. Trusting your employee’s instincts is crucial to building a successful, engaged, and motivated team.
4. Can you clearly communicate your company’s mission and purpose?
You want highly skilled and motivated individuals who do great work, but more than that, you want people who buy into your mission, and are convinced that what you do matters. This means you must be able to communicate your company’s purpose with clarity and conviction. An applicant should understand what your company does, what it stands for, and the purpose it fulfills before they ever step foot in your building. Your website and social media platforms are great vehicles to help bolster your brand, making it recognizable and unique. Another important part of clarifying your mission is showing that opportunities abound. Show candidates that they are crucial to your success and invest in a culture of innovation and dynamic engagement.
5. Who is your target audience?
All marketing strategists start with this basic premise: Who is my audience? As an employer, you should do the same. You are selling candidates a product—your company, and as such, “you should move heaven and earth to accommodate that candidate.” You must know their needs, what they’re looking for in a job, and what would make them choose you. For example, millennials are a dominant force in today’s job market which means it’s important to understand what would motivate, attract, and encourage them to pursue longevity in your company. A relaxed company culture, flexible work hours, and open-plan offices are just some of the perks they might be drawn to. Growing up in the digital age means they are the most tech savvy generation and your hiring strategies should reflect that you value this.
6. What are your organization’s selling points?
At the end of the day, once you know your audience, it’s critical that you can communicate clearly what your organization has to offer. How can a candidate benefit by working at your company? This may require some soul searching. Perhaps your work culture is not reflective of current trends. For example, do you still require a strict 9-5 day? Whereas this used to be the norm, it’s an outdated practice. A key selling point is that your company values a healthy work-life balance and offers the benefits of remote work, and in general, a commitment to flexibility. Working parents will be drawn to a company that allows them greater opportunities to connect with their family. And, again, happier employees make more motivated contributors.
With your candidates’ needs, competencies, and world-view constantly in mind, be intentional about developing the best hiring strategies, and by doing so, communicate clearly why your organization should be their first choice.