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Identifying the best candidates to fill your job vacancies is not an easy process in the best of times. In a market where talent is scarce, it becomes even harder. As a 2018 study by ManpowerGroup notes, 45 percent of employers are struggling to find top talent today.

In light of these circumstances, it is no longer enough to send a general email blast to a pool of potential candidates and hope to get some responses. Recruiters and hiring managers need to be far more strategic about how they connect and engage with individuals if they are to find the high-caliber talent they seek today.

Many recruiters still rely on Boolean searches to look for talent. If a match occurs, the recruiter will then usually draft a generic message — void of personality or candidate-specific details — and send it off. This strategy is not only time-intensive and tedious, but it also rarely gets the right candidates engaged. Top-tier candidates do not have the time for template emails that are more about the recruiter’s needs than the job seeker’s.

Instead of continuing with such an out-of-touch process, recruiters must invest more time in developing real relationships with candidates. This is the only way to source candidates who really have the qualities they need to thrive in a given role. Building such relationships means more than just laying out a job’s expectations and responsibilities — it involves engaging candidates on their terms, selling the role as a great fit for the candidate, and nurturing them throughout the entire process.

Going Mobile

By approaching candidates how and where they want, recruiting teams better position themselves to reach their ideal targets. Given the centrality of smartphones to the average candidate’s everyday life, recruiters should be taking steps to make mobile a bigger part of their talent strategies.

According to a survey of Glassdoor users, 58 percent of job seekers conduct their searches through mobile, and 35 percent actually prefer applying from their phones. This makes sense: Our society is primed for instant gratification, and job searches are no exception. Recruiters, then, need to tailor their engagement efforts to these mobile job seekers, whether they’re the 52 percent who conduct late-night job searches or the 73 percent who want job opportunities texted to them.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:

Mobile-optimized engagement appeals to today’s candidates by allowing recruiters to interact with them via quicker, more customized channels. What does this look like in practice? The first step is making the entire recruiting process more smartphone-friendly by overhauling career pages and job applications to be mobile-optimized. Companies should also use text messages to expedite the process of scheduling interviews while keeping candidates in direct contact with recruiters.

How to Reach Candidates Where They Are

A more mobile-optimized recruiting process is necessary for engaging today’s candidates, but not all mobile recruiting strategies are created equal. Recruiters should use these methods to fine-tune their engagement approaches and craft polished messages that really connect with potential hires:

1. Practice Due Diligence

Figure out what makes each of your candidates tick. Look into their experiences and backgrounds. Ask them thoughtful, probing questions during the intake process. Dive deep into what brought this candidate to the table, what they can offer to your company, and what the proposed position can do for them.

Once you’ve gathered such in-depth insights, you can tailor your messaging so that it specifically reaches the right talent. Not only does this help you engage candidates who are more likely to be good fits, but the personal touch also informs job seekers that you are genuinely interested in helping candidates move forward in their careers.

2. Use Active Listening

Sixty-eight percent of respondents to a CareerBuilder survey said they believe the hiring experience reflects how a company treats its employees. That means your hiring process should make candidates feel seen, heard, and valued. If it does not, candidates may assume your company does not treat its employees well.

Active listening goes hand in hand with your due diligence. As you talk with candidates about their goals, strengths, and past experiences, be sure to make space for the candidate to share their own thoughts, feedback, and other information they want to disclose. The goal is to really empower candidates throughout the hiring process so that they will feel a sense of ownership. If the company is welcoming their past successes and ideas even before hiring them, a candidate will be more likely to seriously consider any job offer extended.

3. Don’t Keep Them Waiting

According to the CareerBuilder survey mentioned earlier, 55 percent of candidates will assume they didn’t get a job if a recruiter does not follow up with them within two weeks of applying. In short, you risk losing candidates if you don’t respond ASAP.

Most recruiters engage talent via common channels like LinkedIn and email, but don’t stop there. Ask candidates for their preferred channels and use those instead. The candidate will appreciate the convenience, and you’ll be able to respond to them quickly to maintain their interest.

The key to hiring in today’s talent market is to invest time in quality candidates instead of blindly spamming the masses. By engaging with candidates on their turf in a timely and personalized manner, recruiters can make the recruitment process more productive and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Madhu Modugu is the CEO and founder of Leoforce.

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