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12 Recruiting Tips from Talent Acquisition Leaders

12 Recruiting Tips from Talent Acquisition Leaders
From Recruiter - August 24, 2016

Figuring out how to get job offers to newly minted software engineers before the competition does is a huge recruiting challenge at many companies. It can take weeks to complete in-person interviews and even longer to send offer letters as hiring managers debate which candidates to pursue.

But thats not how it works at Amazon. Instead, as part of a new experiment, recent graduates interested in applying for a software engineering job there are asked to take online tests that measure their coding skills and cultural fit. If they score above a certain threshold, the companys system automatically generates a job offer. No interviews required.

Theres no evidence that those who interviewed did better in their jobs than those who didnt, says Danielle Monaghan, Amazons director of talent acquisition-consumer in Seattle.

Hiring senior medical professionals can be an equally daunting task, since few are open to jumping ship later in their careers, especially if doing so requires moving to a smaller company. The solution: Invite prospective hires to a cocktail party with executive leaders, who can then schmooze with their guests while describing the unique benefits of the work environment.

Were able to tap into a pipeline of people who are already in our backyard and generate interest in a casual setting where both parties can see if theres a fit, says Nicole Hedrick, CHRO at the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C.

Creating a world-class talent acquisition effort that incorporates cool recruiting ideas like these may seem unrealistic for many HR professionals. After all, the pressure to fill the ever-larger pile of open requisitions leaves little time for experimentation. And at smaller firms, where recruiting duties often fall to an HR generalist who has to squeeze in interviews among many other daily duties, the bar for new hires is often good enough, which leaves the best talent undiscovered.

Yet even if you hire just one employee a month, you can leverage many of the same effective strategies as the top companies in talent acquisition, say the folks who lead them. You simply need to learn about the latest trends and then strive to incorporate some of them into your daily hiring routine.

The hiring managers we serve expect that were bringing in the best talent, but to do that you have to know what the leaders in the recruiting field are doing, says Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, a talent acquisition blogger and president of HRU Technical Resources in Lansing, Mich. You dont need to reinvent the wheel. If a tactic works really well for someone else, copy it, and it likely will work really well for you, too.

Most HR specialists agree that they want to get better at talent acquisition. In a 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey of more than 2,300 HR professionals, respondents said recruitment was their top business/HR challenge, ahead of compliance, employee training, and compensation/benefits. Finding the time to implement new ideas can be as challenging as the work itself.

To that end, here are the 12 most meaningful steps to developing a more effective talent acquisition effort, according to a range of leading voices, including those who participated in a panel discussion on hiring trends at SHRMs Talent Management Conference & Exposition in April. Many of these strategies dont require a major investment of time or money, and they can be incorporated into the recruiting practices youre using already.

1. Brand Your Company as a Great Place to Work

If you dont tell your story, others will do it for youand it likely wont be the narrative you want. Having an attractive careers website was a prerequisite 10 years ago, but its time to up your game. Not only must you use your site as a platform to showcase what makes you special to potential candidates, but you also need to carry that brand message through all your marketing materials, across social media channels, and in the stories you share in person. For example, you might post written and video testimonials on your website and social networks from current employees explaining why they enjoy their jobs. Doing so will create an image among prospective hires of what its like to work for your company.

When we went out into the marketplace, the only recognizable part of our name [was] Duke and everybody already had a brand perception of us, Hedrick says. Weve had to work tremendously hard creating a communications strategy for potential hires and then [using] it to share with those folks who we are and why were a great place to work, which is paramount for recruiting success.

She says the networking cocktail parties her team launched allow potential hires to meet others they may one day be working with, which humanizes the recruiting message.

2. Maximize Employee Referrals

An astonishing 96 percent of companies with 10,000 employees or moreand 80 percent of those with fewer than 100 workerssay referrals are their No. 1 source of new hires, according to a 2016 SHRM benchmarking survey.

So why are most incentive payments so low? asks Tom Darrow, SHRM-SCP, founder of Talent Connections, an Atlanta-based executive search firm, and chair of the SHRM Foundations board of directors. Its widely known that employee referrals are the best source for candidates. Yet many companies offer pitiful bonuses of $500 or $1,000 to their employees while offering search firms a $20,000-plus fee for the same position.

Darrow suggests encouraging workers to tap into their networks to help fill open positions.

Every employee should be a recruiter for the company, but few think that way, he says. To fix that, companies must offer rewards that make it worth employees time to reach out to their contacts, rather than expecting them to do it out of the kindness of their hearts.

You must truly incent folks, not just say thank you, Darrow says.

3. Pay at Least as Much as Your Competitors for Talent, and Be Transparent About What You Offer

Make sure your total compensation package is competitive with your industry and company type. Emphasize what sets you apart from everyone else. At the same time, if any aspect of what you offer is lagging, tell candidates why. Then work with your senior management team to improve your offerings.

Create a competitive compensation package that reflects your culture, then put the dollars in front of candidates at the start and youll likely have to negotiate less, says Steve Browne, SHRM-SCP, executive director of human resources at LaRosas Inc., a Cincinnati-based restaurant group, and a member of SHRMs board of directors. Its a brass tacks approach, but be sure to supplement the dollar discussion with the other workplace benefits you offer, including flexibility, autonomy, the workspace and more.

By highlighting what makes your offer attractive, Darrow adds, you can help deflect attention from what doesnt.

4. Consider Hiring More Part-Time Contributors, and Embrace Their Flexibility

If the full-time talent you seek is too difficult to find or excessively costly to hire, fill each open position with multiple part-time employees who have embraced the gig economy. And dont punish them if they decide to move on and try something else.

The biggest cultural shift for Brownes company was in accepting that new employees often move on much more quickly than they did in the past, he says. The leaders at LaRosas make it clear that they want to ensure that whatever amount of time workers can offer them is as worthwhile and rewarding as possible.

So if you decide to become an Uber driver, congrats! We enjoyed having you while you were here, Browne says.

This approach recognizes that people can make hasty and even poor career choices and then seek to return to their previous jobsonce they realize their mistakes.

You have to allow people grace in this economy, Browne says.

5. Build Strong Talent Networks

Learn to develop relationships with potential new hires long before relevant job openings are posted. One approach is to create communities of engagement online through social media. These are networks through which candidates can learn about your company and see how current employees can make a difference.

Too often, I see companies arent hiring the best of the best; theyre hiring the best of who they stumble on based on their poor sourcing strategies, Darrow says.

Darrow advocates using social media and networking to build a deep pipeline of potential candidates for whom you may not have jobs today, but into whom you can tap when appropriate openings emerge down the road.

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