Much like people, every business is unique, and this extends to how companies source, engage, and hire candidates. Some businesses do group interviews, some prefer to use text messages, and others enjoy more traditional methods like posting on job boards or advertising in newspapers.
But no matter what a company does, no talent acquisition process is perfect. There’s always room for improvement. If you want to make your sourcing and recruiting efforts more efficient, follow these tips:
1. Build a Reputation for Excellence
One of the best assets any business has at its disposal is its brand. It’s simple: When people see your company in a positive light, they’re more likely to apply. In fact, 84 percent of job seekers consider a company’s reputation when making employment decisions.
Here are some basic tips for building a reputation for excellence:
- Be Honest: Honesty works like a magnet to both clients and candidates. Be up front, genuine, and open-minded in everything you do. People will respect you for it.
- Go the Extra Mile: When you put the effort in to ensure the success of your clients and candidates, everyone ends up a lot happier and more satisfied with your service. Meeting the minimum requirements just doesn’t cut it in today’s candidate-driven job market.
- Make Connections: Grow your network! Be open to making friendships with your team members, your clients, and your candidates. This will help you establish lasting connections that foster goodwill and attract applicants to your door.
2. Build a Referral Program
It’s best to have a solid referral program in place to maximize your returns on this sourcing method. Here are some basic tips for building a successful referral program:
- Offer a Reward: Eliminate confusion by being clear about what employees can earn by referring candidates. Is it a cash bonus or something else? What conditions have to be met before the reward is distributed?
- Comb Your Internal Talent Pools: Ask your current employees if they have any professional contacts or former coworkers with whom they’d like to work. This will help you establish an initial talent pool to draw on.
- Send Regular Status Updates: Once referred candidates are in the pipeline, keep them and their referrers updated on the status of their application. Both the candidates and their referrers want to know what’s going on, so keep them in the loop at all times.
3. Stay in Touch
A strong candidate experience can improve overall quality of hire by as much as 70 percent. Maintaining consistent communication with candidates is a major factor in creating a great candidate experience. Candidates want to know what’s going on, and keeping them updated will help cultivate trust between them and the company.
Here are some basic tips for communicating regularly with candidates:
- Take Advantage of Free Technology: Use whatever you have at your disposal. Platforms like Google and Yahoo offer a number of functions to assist with maintaining constant contact with candidates.
- Set Reminders: Setting reminders to follow-up with candidates will help you keep yourself accountable.
- Maintain Contact Even After a Hire Is Made: The candidate experience isn’t over when the search has been closed. Follow up with top candidates who didn’t quite make the cut. Keep these relationships warm so you can return to them when future positions open up.
4. Create a Strong Talent Pipeline
Talent acquisition doesn’t end when an offer is extended to a candidate. What about future openings? Do you have a backup plan in place in case the candidate doesn’t work out? This is where talent pipelines come in. Building relationships with and nurturing candidates, even if they don’t get an offer, helps prepare your business to hire ahead of demand.
Here are some basic tips for creating a strong talent pipeline:
- Create a Database: Maintaining your network of candidates is easier with a database. Whether it’s in an ATS or a basic spreadsheet, a central hub for your pipeline is invaluable.
- Communicate Regularly: This doesn’t have to mean emailing candidates every day. Just be sure to reach out every once in a while to see what’s going on. If a candidate lives in the area, take them out to lunch or meet up for coffee. Get to know your candidates so they know you’re invested in them.
- Introduce Candidates to the Team: Help candidates get to know your company by introducing them to your team. You could even let them shadow an employee for a day to show them what life is like in the office. In talent acquisition, it’s the little things that make all the difference.
5. Build an Onboarding Plan
Talent acquisition can become so focused on meeting the company’s present need for talent that the next steps in the process are disregarded entirely. However, preparing for what happens once a hire is made — that is, onboarding — is just as important as making the hire, if not more so. Sixty-nine percent of employees are likely to stay with a company for more than three years after a world-class onboarding program.
Here are some basic tips for creating an effective onboarding plan:
- Plan Ahead: The future is hard to predict with 100 percent accuracy, so make sure your program is flexible and adaptable. Brainstorming possible outcomes and ways to handle them can be a great way to make sure you’re never caught off guard. For example, you might want to maintain warm relationships with a few of your top candidates, just in case the new hire unexpectedly quits after a month on the job.
- Outsource: Many factors go into a successful onboarding program, and creating the perfect program can be an expensive endeavor. When it comes to recruiting and sourcing, every penny counts. If it’s cheaper to outsource your onboarding and training, go for it. Save your company some much-needed capital.
Ultimately, the most helpful thing you can do to increase efficiency in your recruiting and sourcing process is to keep moving forward. The process has many moving parts, and it is bound to pose challenges from time to time. It’s important to face those challenges, learn from them, and move on.
A version of this article originally appeared on the IQTalent Partners blog.
Chris Murdock is cofounder and senior partner of IQTalent Partners.